Sunday, January 9, 2011

achieving balance

So this weekend, one of my friends is in town, visiting from San Francisco, where he now works full time. Last year, he led one of the ministries I'm involved with while he was finishing up his Masters degree in Biomedical Engineering. When he got into town, about 10 of us went out to dinner with him to catch up and hear how he's doing. At the end of the meal, he picked up the tab for everybody. We didn't really know how to respond, since no one was expecting it. It was so sweet, and it really impressed me since he and I still talk pretty frequently, and I know that he's trying to save money.

I think it just struck me how balanced my friend was. He has his priorities as far as paying off student loans and starting to plan for his retirement, but he isn't stingy with people. God has blessed him with a job in this economy and he spent his money in a way that transferred a blessing to all ten of us.

That's the mindset that I want to have when I'm out of college and making a "real" salary. Sometimes, in the midst of my budgeting and planning for my future, I sometimes hold onto money too tightly. I get too stressed out about the future and feel like I "can't" or it's a waste of money to use it on other people instead of myself.

Money, like most things in life, is a balancing act that I have yet to perfect. I think that night was such a great reminder of what it looks like to have money and yet know that all blessings flow from the Lord. It's not MY money that I can spend on anything that I want after I give God his 10%. No, all of it is His and out of His generosity, He's letting me use it. It has less to do with the dollar amount I'm bringing in, and everything to do with trusting the Lord to provide. Worry and stress shows that there's a part of my life that I haven't entrusted the Lord with. He wants all of me, financial matters included.

What good is wealth if you are stingy? People don't feel wealthy, even if they are in the top 1% of the richest people in the world. That's because our mindsets are relative and we live in fear of losing what we have. This gives an excuse to not give to others or live generously within community. And at the end of life, what good is it if we gain the world but lose our souls?

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