Early last week, I was asked to speak during services this past weekend and give a personal reflection on our Rethinking Christmas (otherwise known as Advent Conspiracy to some) series. I'd like to share here what I said at church services this weekend:
My first reaction to this week’s theme, Spend Less, was “Well, of course I will spend less this year. I have no choice. The finances are not there to spend more! It will definitely be less.” This reaction was fueled by worry and stress. I come from a long and distinguished line of Worriers! If there wasn’t something to worry about…we’d find something. And for me, I will admit, money has been something I have worried about a lot over the years. There never seems to be enough…
I have been taking a personal journey with God this year. At the beginning of the year, I decided to choose a theme word…I went through several words before God made it very clear to me that my word for 2011 was to be TRUST. That specifically this year, I would learn to trust Him fully. It terrified me because I wasn’t sure what that meant…but I was pretty sure it wouldn’t all be what I would consider “good.” It’s been a rough year in so many ways, but through it all I have learned that worry is a sin. And to spend my time worrying about things is taking my focus off of God…away from trusting Him.
On Monday, if you are following the Rethinking Christmas devotionals, you will read about Jesus feeding the five thousand.
New International Version (NIV)
37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”
They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”
38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”
When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”
The disciples were worried about money…how they would buy enough food for all the people. And Jesus asked them to look at what they had… “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” You see, Jesus wasn’t asking the disciples to go into debt or spend every cent they had to feed those people. He doesn’t ask us to do that either. What do you have? Will you trust Him with it? Will you trust that it is enough? It was that day…more than enough…in fact, the people were satisfied.
What if, instead of spending so much at Christmas to buy the next bigger, better, best…we look at what we have…and trust God to let it be enough. What if we found ways to spend less money, spend less time worrying that we haven’t bought a great enough gift…but spend more time building relationships with our family and friends by finding, or doing, something thoughtful…meaningful, that doesn’t have to cost a lot. And what if we spend more time trusting God?