In The First Place

By in Devotions

The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the kingdom news, but weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard, and nothing comes of it. Matthew 13:22 The Message (MSG)

Insight

In part 1 of Still God’s, we were introduced to a few fundamental concepts that have caused me to take a step back, and explore not just what kind of financial situation I find myself in, but why. As a 27-year-old wife and mom, it’s easy to think along the lines of “we’re young; it won’t be like this for long.” But on the flipside, I find myself wondering how I even got here in the first place? What I’ve come to see is that the financial situation we find ourselves in presently is a direct result of listening (or not) to God a long time ago.

While we’re thankful to fall into “the enough” category on the wealth scale, it still hurts to divide our money each month towards bills. Most recently, I’ve been feeling massive guilt over the fact that if I didn’t have such large student loan payments, we’d be able to send our kids to preschool, give more back to the church, and even put more into savings. I’ve constantly been asking myself, “How did I get here? Was this what God intended for me? Did I not listen to Him?”

When I decided to take out student loans to go to college, I was following what I perceived to be the path that was laid out for me. Surely, I thought, God laid out this way for me, or it wouldn’t make so much sense or be so easy. I never had any trouble getting loans for school, I did well in college, and so I thought I was doing the right thing. For years, I ignored that still small voice that had me wondering, ‘Is this really the right thing to do? Am I going to regret this debt? Is college worth it?” (Please understand, I’m speaking about me specifically and what God was doing in my heart and my life and not making an overarching statement about whether taking out college loans is wrong for everybody.)

What I believe now is that I was ignoring God. He was standing right in front of me waving a flashing neon flag that said Stop! Don’t go there! Turn around! I had constant hints that I wasn’t a good steward of what I’d been given (an opportunity for an education), but I didn’t listen. Ten years later, I find myself reading Matthew 13:22, and thinking I heard that kingdom news, but I ignored it because I wanted more than what I thought God wanted for me.

When an opportunity comes knocking, it’s easy to do things without question. After all, would God put something in your path that was so glaringly wrong? Sometimes, the wrong things, seem so right. I was chasing education; how could that ever be wrong for you? Just like donating that extra $3 at the grocery store checkout, not every opportunity placed in front of us is a good one, even when it’s masked in goodness and light.

If the financial situation we find ourselves in now, is a direct result of listening (or not) to God a long time ago, it stands to reason that whether or not we listen to Him now will have a significant effect on our financial situation farther down the road than we can see. If we can’t be trusted to be good stewards with the little we have now, we can’t expect to be trusted to be good stewards with more. In the meantime, we each need to make more of an effort to listen to Him, and follow His direction in being good stewards of His money and the choices we have to make.

Reflection

  • Are there things you are doing with your money now that seem mostly right, but you still have hesitations? How is God talking to you about this? Are you taking the time to listen to Him in these situations?
  • What are choices that you made long ago that are still affecting you today?
  • What are choices you are making now that are helping or hurting your financial future? Can you take the time to stop and wait for His direction?

Prayer

God, what I have, and what I give, is Yours. I know that I need to stop and listen for Your voice when it comes to the financial choices I make now. My debts don’t just hold me back, they hold back Your kingdom. Help me to listen, and follow Your lead, not my own. Amen.

PC3 writer Annalee Thomasson wrote today’s devotional.