I live on the corner of “Conflicted and Turmoil.” How I think about time and money especially confirms this.
I think deeply about life. I want to live with intention and make my life count. If I’m honest, I am often trying to achieve elusive perfection in the way I walk out biblical principles on how to spend time and money.
Functionally, this looks like excessive pondering and over analyzing to figure out how to do the right thing, say the right thing, live the right way.
In matters of how to spend money, I believe money is first and foremost God’s money that He simply entrusts to us. The Bible provides principles and general guidelines on how to steward those finances, but it leaves many details up to us. It is the details that can confound me on how to proceed.
It seems to be a battle between the wisdom of Proverbs and the not storing up for yourselves treasures on earth that the book of Matthew speaks of.
For example, if there is financial room to choose, should I purchase quality clothing and home goods that will stand the test of time but may cost a bit more? Spend more upfront but possibly save in the long run? Should I pour money into making improvements on our home knowing this would likely improve our return investment later? Or should I live carpe diem, divesting myself of surplus in order to serve those just scraping by or even barely surviving?
Wanting to spend money wisely yet longing to free up any and all resources to serve the less resourced in this world can come in conflict when it comes to making these practical decisions.
How does one live practically and wisely while also living with eternity in view, knowing this world is not our home?
(*Spoiler Alert: I actually don’t know the answer.)
How we spend our time holds similar quandaries for me.
My husband and I read a book entitled, Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard Swenson a few years back and were profoundly challenged by its theme.
We recognized our tendency to prioritize too many things and overestimate how much we could accomplish within a 24-hour/7-day period given our unique levels of capacity. Our efforts to simplify schedules and not over extend have been motivated by humility for the most part, recognizing that we are not the answer for all the world’s problems. We can indeed bow out from time to time, and everything and everyone is going to be okay.
At the same time, we desire not to waste a single second that God gives us here on earth to be about His business of redemption and reconciling Himself to man. We know our life here on earth is fleeting yet carries with it the awe inspiring invitation to participate in the divine nature, the work that God is doing all over His Creation.
We are humbled by our human capacity.
We are equally humbled by the opportunity to share in God’s work. And, we don’t want to miss a thing.
We have a phrase we use to encourage one another when faced with weariness in serving God’s purposes: “Leave it all on the field!”
Any sports fan will understand that we mean to give life our all, empty ourselves fully each day in the good works God has prepared for us. I recognize that some days the good work is taking a nap! Some days, it means spending our time doing three things at once in service to others.
The thing is, I don’t always know how to call the day. I can’t always discern, “Is this the day to nap or is this the day to go beyond that which I think I am capable?”
Is this moment for restraint or abundance? Is this money marked for giving or saving?
Ecclesiastes 3 speaks of there being a time for all things, even those things that are contrary to one another: a time for living and dying, breaking down and building up, mourning and rejoicing, keeping and throwing away, staying silent and speaking up, loving and hating, war and peace. As long as we live on earth, there will be these contrasting emotions and behaviors.
I live on the corner of “Conflicted and Turmoil” in part because this is true. This truth confronts my desire for balance in life and for clear cut answers.
In life, there are times to spend time and money with abandon as there are also times God calls us to austerity and rest for the sake of His Kingdom work progressing.
I do not always feel certain about my personal pursuit of one or the other, but at the end of the day, I must act. I must step out in faith rather than sight because I do not see clearly.
My faith is not in my ability to make the right decision; my faith is in the ONE for whom I prayerfully wrestle with these decisions — God.
n the ways I end up spending my time and money, my faith in moving forward must be in Jesus, the one Who DID do everything right. He always discerned the Father’s will accurately and then obeyed it perfectly. And, because He did, I can have peace while living on the corner of “Conflicted and Turmoil.”