The pocket book and the calendar remain key clues to the state of one's heart, mind, and perhaps soul. Asked to "wrestle with God," over opportunities to give to various projects, forward surged the urge to justify where both time and money are spent. From "mapping" potential income in relation to planned giving, the mister and I also looked at where we spend our time. If considering our family's projected giving over the coming year, it is not only the cost in U.S. Dollars, Polish Zloty, or Honduran Lempira that needs counting, but also the hours, days, and weeks to take into consideration. Our time is finite while the finances are fluid- dependant on everything from price fluctuation to job status.
Despite hearts for ministry in Poland and Honduras, there is no calling to go live in either country, but instead to stay in our Pleasant Suburb. ShelleyinPoland keeps prayer requests coming across the internet and updates on the fledgling church plant in Gdansk while the countdown ticks away toward the next visit to the La Moskitia region of Honduras. Not only that trip, but also a flurry of activity surrounding the Waits Family during their current furlough between personal time and ministry-related events reveal dedication to God's provision for the often marginalized people in remote Puerto Lempira. Gathering for Worship services at our family's church, an evening spent in the front yard for an ice cream social with our neighbors, meeting in small groups or one on one, sitting alongside Little Bit as we share the task of helping kids with homework at an after school program, a fledgling prison support ministry, loving on preschoolers who have been placed in protective custody at the local shelter, playing bass and directing the church band... The list of places where, individually and as a family, we are called and enabled to serve God and our neighbors next door or across town goes on and on even while there are seeds sown in far away places. Pleasant Suburb is the place where this family been planted, and our roots are deep here.
In addition to time, we are privileged to be part of funding ministry and charity in those places thousands of miles away where seeds can be planted out of sight, but not out of mind. We give regularly to share in the day-to-day operations of our local church. These aspects of financial giving and our times to worship and serve are all budgeted and scheduled just like the mortgage is paid and appointments are kept. Our calendar is often full. Our pocket book is not typically empty. More importantly, our lives and hearts are often overflowing. The time crunch of the often over-committed is keenly felt some days, and it is necessary to skip or delay some purchases to stretch our available funds. Those conservation activities feel worthwhile because what we have to give is not running down the drain but accumulating like so many drops in the proverbial bucket.
The places where we must scrimp on spending time or money are so often to allow for word of God's saving grace or demonstrations of His provision to be shared with someone or allocated in some place beyond our means and availability. This is possible because of the multiplication of many giving from personal resources to provide enough for all. Without gifts from the many people choosing to put concrete valuations on faith and charity by volunteering, donating, and simply putting the needs of others in a place of worth documented in calendars and financial records, the whole world would surely be a poorer place.
I wonder, Gentle Reader, what calls to you? Where do you find joy and satisfaction in sacrifice? Because giving seems a choice between self and others... and it is fascinating to see how personal needs and wants can be put aside in the interest and love of others. What does your calendar and pocket book reveal?