In the society we live in, success is often measured by finances. So few people measure success by relationships and at the point that most do it’s usually when they’ve run out of time to build on these relationships.
Currently my husband and I are in a content position financially. We, like most North Americans, have some debt that we are paying off. However we also have a steady income so that even in times where money is “tight”, we’re not at a complete loss.
There were however times when we had no money and no income. These were times when we were international students in Australia and missionaries in Hawaii. These were moments where because of the “bigger picture”, we had to be ok with being broke.
Often times I look at the decisions we made to travel to these different destinations chasing after God’s call on our lives. I quickly realize as I look back that in those moments where we had no money, it was because we had put it all into what we felt was most important for our family. We had a bigger picture in mind. And if we instead chose to put our finances into living a comfortable life, we probably would be at a point where we own our own home and maybe even have a better in come than we currently do. But we would be at a loss for the relationships we gained.
It’s hard being in a position of having very little finances. There were moments we literally were down to our last meal. I remember one day we had eaten our last meal and all that was left was enough milk for our oldest daughter that was one at the time. We were simply waiting for my husband’s pay to come in within the next few days and his boss had already insisted he had to wait till that date to get paid.
We had tried to get help from our local church and got no response, (they are human too). But turns out God had a bigger plan. That evening friends of ours dropped in to bring our daughter late Christmas gifts. One of them went into our fridge to help themselves to a drink and found it empty. She gasped and felt embarrassed that she was even about to take what little we had.
This reminds me of when I was younger, my mom had a rule that guests were not allowed to go into our pantry of fridge. I didn’t understand why until this very moment. But what happened next shocked me. You see these friends were not close enough to us that we would ask them for help while in need. This was probably even the second time we hung out together.
Yet immediately after seeing that we were in need they insisted we give them a list of groceries and went to the store to get us food. What an absolute blessing this was! What a moment of expressing vulnerability in a deep way that made our friendship go to the ultimate next level!
That evening, what was meant to be a short visit turned into late night fellowship. They opened up with us about deep personal issues and my husband and I even had the opportunity to pray with them. And they weren’t the praying type.
What is it that matters most? I look back at those moments of having very little and it makes me more generous. It makes me more patient with those in need. It makes me be quick to give up what I want most to instead take care of another person. Heck, I’ve dipped into my credit card to make sure someone else was blessed.
I mean I would use my credit card to buy myself something I want but don’t need. Why wouldn’t I use it to give to someone in need?
There are moments I think to myself, if everyone in the world gave selflessly, would there still be people homeless and going hungry? I understand that there are those with addictions and such. But let’s be honest, everyone has their “addiction”. Mine is coffee and compliments of others… what’s yours?
Yet even with those addictions, we still get to eat. We still get a warm bed at night. I’m not saying addictions are fine. I am saying however that people have detrimental needs no matter where they are at. Everyone needs to be clothed, fed and loved. No matter the mistakes they’ve made.
You don’t always have to give someone money too. There were times all we could give was a bed to sleep in for the night. My husband often brings homeless people on the sidewalk the best blanket he can find.
We’ve taken people grocery shopping. We’ve even just sat down with a homeless person, (with our kids too), and listened to their story. We made eye contact. We told our daughter, “this is uncle, say hi uncle”. We made them feel like a human being. Made them feel like they mattered and they weren’t worth passing by.
No matter where you’re at there’s always blessing to be found. God let’s his sun shine on the poorest people. He let’s the air fill their lungs. Let’s their heart beat. So be blessed wherever you’re at!