This is the final post of our finance series. Here are the others:
I started this post a while ago, but didn't finish it before we left for Mexico. Better late than never I supose...
We are God's managers. Recognizing this is very powerful. It frees us to take our eyes off "our" earthly possessions and live life with eternity in mind. The good news is that God wants us to enjoy the resources he has given us. There are four ways we can enjoy these resources.
First, you can take care of your family. You can rejoice in the goodness he has shown you and your family.
Second, you can rest and relax. Think about it, when you're able to relax, you're able to show that you trust that God is taking care of you.
Third, when you enjoy God's blessings, you bring Him glory. I think Ecclesiastes sums it up excellently: "Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him - for this is his lot. Moreover; when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work - this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart." (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 NIV)
Fourth, we are to enjoy blessing people God puts into our lives to serve. Ultimately, we are to use what we have to benefit others. I'm not saying you need to give everything away, but God does want us to realize it's His stuff. Therefore, we need to be willing to let them go in order to help others.
On the flip side, there are 4 four thieves of joy. By over coming these, we will be able to better enjoy what God has given us.
When you worry about something, you're inherently not trusting in God. You are trying to think of ways to solve your own problems. Instead, when you do worry, think of that as a sign to trust God and pray. When you ask Him for help, you will get it and it will lead to peace and joy.
Comparing ourselves to others leads to one of two outcomes. We either think we're better (pride), or that we're worse (self-pitty). Neither one of these are good, or appropriate. Instead, simply be content with what God has given you. Remember: it's about you & God, not about you vs. everyone else.
You know how Scrooge became bitter because of his selfishness? That's because he was always on the defense to protect himself. Instead, be willing to sacrifice and share what you have. You will feel a joy that is uplifting and gratifying.
Sometimes we feel guilty for the things we have. As long as you earned them honorably and are managing your finances well, there's no reason to feel guilty. Instead, be thankful and give credit to God for your things. It will free you to fully enjoy the things you currently have.
Obviously, replacing these thieves it not a one-time, over night, transition. It's a moment-by-moment choice that takes time to develop.
So, this is the end of our finance series. If you're interested in learning more, I recommend checking out the series and going through it with some friends. Jessi and I found ways to improve how we manage our finances and feel more on purpose with our decisions.