Don't get me wrong, none of these things are bad. It is okay to have hobbies and enjoy simple pleasures. But how often are we indulging in these things? Have we set an expectation for how we want to live and what we expect that we don't even realize the difference between a need and a want anymore? Or do we realize it and just do anything about it?
For example, I LOVE drinking coke..but does that mean that I need 1 (or 4) every single day? Does that mean I have to stop by a McDonald's every time I pass by b/c I tell myself I'm SO tired and really need & deserve a coke? (even though I already know that it never does wake me up, I'll do anything to justify it) Honestly, even if it's only $1 every day for my coke, it adds up and its NOT even healthy! I know both of these things and yet I can't seem to kick this horrible addiction to coca~cola!
It's easy for me to look at our budget and decide that we don't have any extra for the month to spend. Until.......I find a sewing project I want to do, I see a new shirt and realize "oh, i actually could use another shirt...", I am too lazy to make lunch so I go pick up fast food, etc. Even after spending the money we "didn't have", bills still get paid and we're fine.
ON THE OTHER HAND, I see families who are adopting and are desperate to raise the funds they need to complete the adoption. I see waiting children whose grant could use some help.. I hear of poor schools and kids that could use some school supplies as the new school year is about to start. I hear of a local families in need for various reasons. And sometimes, I REALLY REALLY want to help these people out. Everything in me wishes I could GIVE SOMETHING. But yet, I realize we don't have the money to give and so I'll pray and hopefully be able to help out soon.
But wait a second, do I really not have $5 to give to an adoption fundraiser or a waiting child? Do I really not have $20 to fill a backpack for a low-income student? But what about the money I spend on coke everyday that wasn't in my budget but that I still always make room for? What about the new shirt that I thought I needed, but that I hang next to the 100 other shirts that I already have?
My point is, it's SO EASY to say that we don't have the money to spend when it comes to things of importance and that could change a life. But we don't often think twice about spending money on our every day luxuries that we've become accustomed to.
There WILL be times that there is simply not money to give and God isn't calling you to give to a certain situation. But I don't want to find myself saying "no" to every worthwhile situation b/c I'm simply indulging my flesh and don't have anything left over.
These are just examples from my own life. It will look differently to each person, but I bet most people knowingly or unknowingly have their own luxuries and expectations.
Matthew 6:21 says, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be."
So I'm asking, where is your treasure? What would your check book say about where your heart is?
I really don't want coke or clothes to take priority in my life, what a sad and meaningless life that would be. Instead, I want to show these children that THEY are of more importance, that I LOVE them, that they are WORTHY of life and of a FAMILY who LOVES them and CHERISHES them. I can't say I'll never drink a coke again but I want to change my mind from "How can I indulge my flesh?" to "How can I show love to the least of these? How can I serve the hurting and the helpless? How can I be the light of Christ to those around me? How can I better use the resources that GOD has given to me?"
I want to challenge you to evaluate your heart. Evaluate where your money goes. How well do you manage what God has given to you? Do you hold onto it tightly & selfishly or do you sow it for the Kingdom of God, serving and loving others? I challenge you to find a new way to stretch and grow your faith, to allow GOD to manage your money and not your flesh.
"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life."