Years ago, I spoke with a new mom about being lonely, and mentioned that I had experienced my share of that painful condition.
“Oh, I’m not LONELY!” she shot back, as if we were discussing leprosy or something.
You get the same reaction when you admit, “I would love to have a little more money, just to make things easier, you know.”
“Oh, I never pray for MONEY!” insecure Christians counter in alarm.
We All Worry about Money
Oh, come on, people — of course you pray for money. If it weren’t such a pressing need in our lives Jesus wouldn’t have told us not to worry about what we eat, drink, or wear (all of which require money) in Matthew 6: 31.
That being said, many of us have more than we think we do, especially in wealthier countries. And while it’s tempting to pray for enough money that we never have to worry about paying for anything again, we forget that we have access to some very precious treasures that cost little, or nothing. It’s worth recognizing their existence and being grateful:
It’s up There Every Single Day
1) The sun. Yes, I spelled that right — that great big golden orb lights up the day for everyone, and no matter how greedy some people get, they can’t restrict sunlight from the rest of us and keep it all to themselves:
“(God) causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous,” Jesus tells us in Matthew 5: 45.
The sun’s received a bad rap these last few years, and many people stay out of it or slather on a chemical concoction before darting from their home to their car. But the next time you’re outside, close your eyes, feel the warmth on your face, and be glad for something so big that we all can share it. Too many of the good gifts God intended for His creation to enjoy are grabbed and hoarded by a few.
Meant to Give Us Pleasure
2) Food. This is one of those good gifts that are grabbed and hoarded by a few — if not the food itself, then the means to purchase enough to feed oneself and one’s family, and thereby live a dignified existence.
If you have enough food that you eat multiple times a day and are satisfied, then be very, very grateful. In many families, it is tradition to “say grace” before a meal, but this can quickly become a meaningless rote. The next time, and every time, you eat, truly mean the words you express, and pray for those who don’t have enough. Then take the next step, and ask God what you can do to help someone who isn’t getting enough to eat.
God intended food to be a regular blessing for all of us, and His consistent promise to the Israelites was that He would ” . . . bring them up out of (Egypt) into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Exodus 3: 8)
3) Family and friends. The word “dysfunctional” is bandied about so generously these days that we forget that family is a good thing: our tribe, unique to each one of us, is there to love, support and care for for its members:
“If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever,” 1 Timothy 5: 8 tells us. Each one of us has individuals within our lives that we act with on a special basis: we are a father, a mother, daughter, son, niece, grandson, cousin, friend.
One of the worst things about being obscenely rich, famous, and influential is the uncertainty of really knowing who truly loves you, just because you’re you, and who acts like they love you because you’re fabulously rich, famous, and influential.
4) A good night’s sleep. People in chronic pain or poor health, or those under severe anxiety, know the gift that sleep can bring:
“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety,” Psalm 4: 8 says. When I pray for people, one of the first, and most frequent, items on the list is a good night’s sleep. If you got one last night, take a moment, close your eyes, and thank God.
One God, Available to All
5) Access to God. All of us can cry to God and be assured that we are heard:
“Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me,” Psalm 50: 15 promises. Psalm 34: 6 is a variation comforting to those of us not in the 1 percent:
“This poor man called, and the Lord heard him.”
Because God made everything and owns it all, He is not impressed by power, name, academic degrees, awards, money, appearances, or the number of people on your social media sites: “God does not show favoritism.” (Romans 2: 11)
Let’s say your prayers were answered, and 10 million dollars, tax-free, dropped into your bank account. Which of the five preceding items would you be willing to give up to get it?
Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity, where I got a phenomenal night’s sleep a few days ago. I love my noisy, quirky, chaotic family; ate muffins for breakfast; and swung in the hammock this weekend, the sun warming my skin.
But most precious of all is that God is in my life: He loves quirky, chaotic me enough to stretch and pull and hold and love me moment by moment.
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