Monday, March 3, 2008

Contentment, Materialism, "Needs" and other babblings

I came across this quote last week:
"Patience to wait does not come from suffering long from what we lack but from sitting long in what we have." - Beth Moore

A lot to chew on there; patience is definitely something I need to work on. But this quote also said a lot to me about contentment. (Along the lines of Sheryl Crow: "It's not having what you want, but wanting what you've got" :) This is another area I struggle with, because I'm always thinking of things we could do to the house, items I'd like our kids to have, etc. But all that SHTUFF is just foolishness (to quote Niecy from Clean House - who our son very seriously suggested last night could help us pick up all our clutter)...

And yesterday's message was about giving. A really good reminder that it's all HIS. Whatever we may have is only through his amazing grace, so why on earth am I being greedy? Two more great quotes to ponder:

"A checkbook is a theological document; it tells who and what you worship." - Billy Graham

(cough - craft supplies - cough, cough)

"I have held many things in my hands and have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God's hands - that, I still possess." - Martin Luther

I Timothy 6 says so much about money, and keeping the proper perspective. It sort of kicks off with verse 6: "Godliness with contentment is great gain." It culminates in verses 17-19:

"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everythign for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."

I definitely want to "take hold of the life that is truly life." This entire passage will be on my daily reading list for awhile.

So where is all this coming from anyway? We've recently been evaluating the budget and making adjustments. Not a fun task, but very necessary. And frankly I'm having a hard time with it. I've had a lousy attitude, and have been acting like a spoiled child (and I've been reminded that our 3 YO comes by her amazing ability to pout quite honestly). But God - and my husband - is gracious. And I'm learning, even if it's millimeter by millimeter. And let me tell you, God continues to amaze me by providing even things that are completely unnecessary.

Meet our entertainment center. We purchased it when we'd only
been married a few months. It was affordable (cheap to start with, plus we purchased it at a going out of business sale!) - one of those particle board items that comes in a huge, flat box. It's met our needs, but is in rough shape. The last time we had to move it (to replace some wires) it nearly snapped in two. The bottom drawer had broken years ago. And then you'll notice the lovely spot on the bottom where our son had picked off the sticker that we'll generously refer to as veneer. It's huge, and has become the landing place for all sorts of junk. We didn't like it, but we weren't about to purchase another one.
Enter Freecycle.

Yesterday afternoon, hubby was checking email and mentioned that someone had posted an oak entertainment center, with armoire type doors to cover the TV. Would I like it? Of course! But I figured it would already be taken - I've responded to these types of postings before, but they're always gone very quickly. But the poster replied that it was ours. So we all loaded up in the truck, and headed over. Spent last night figuring out what fit where, and doing some purging. Still not done, but it already looks so much better!

Here you can see the stacks that are still around our couch area. Guess what I'm working on today?

Anyway, I went to bed humbled, reminded that God does so much more than meet our needs. He is a loving Father, and He delights in giving to His children - that's not always material things, but this cabinet that I see every day will serve as a reminder.


jacki j. said...

this makes for a great scrapbook page. I'm sharing my faith with my children and grandchildren and the generations beyond with stories like this that have happened to us thru scrapbook pages. Thanks for sharing your message today. Oh and that checkbook thing... ouch!

Jenn said...

The contentment thing is big at our household right now. You can't get more if you can't take care of what you already have...etc. I have found we have a lot of unfinished things in the house that we already have the supplies to finish off or lots of things that can be repurposed and seem completely new. Not to mention, cleaning out a bunch of "junk" that we just thought we had to have makes a room seem new and improved with nothing but elbow grease!

Jeff & Meg said...

I enjoyed your post! I have been packing/sorting/etc. and realized how much random stuff we have. Some needs to go, other stuff can be turned into something new. And yeah! for freecylce! I always feel that way when I get something cool from there. I tell James how good God is to bring us these nice things. Now he probably thinks that God leaves trash bags on stranger's porches for us. :)

In Pursuit of His Call said...