Cashing in With God

Back when I was a kid, I remember it being such a big deal getting a wallet.

I would stuff my wallet in my right back pocket just as my Dad did.

I pretended I was an adult with my fake credit cards that came in the plastic insert sleeves and I kept wallet-sized photos of friends and cousins.

But the best part of all was I could finally carry my own money for spending on family vacations.

Growing up, I had wallets that were both black and brown. I remember some being of the tri-fold variety, while others had a snap or a button, and some that even came with Velcro. If I recall correctly, I also had a Montreal Canadiens wallet, commemorating my favorite hockey team.

Money ClipFast forward to today, I have not used a wallet in over a decade, thanks to a friend who introduced me to a money clip.

Now, I may only keep a few bills folded over my essential cards, tucked nicely under a little metal clasp.

In fact, practically the only time I carry paper money these days is when I withdraw some from an automated teller machine – and I really only do that when I need some in a pinch. (Otherwise, I usually just use my banking card or lean on my ol’ pal Visa.)

Yep, whenever I find myself in a bind, I can usually rely on a banking machine to bail me out.

If you think about it, I suppose sometimes we can treat God like an ATM.

I mean, how often do we take God for granted, depending on Him to help us in times of trouble?

Do we pray to God only when dealing with emergencies or urgent, important situations?

Do we make ourselves available to Him strictly in moments of distress, feeling desperate enough to call on a higher power only after exhausting all other options?

A customer uses an ATM outside the banking hall at the Kenya Commercial Bank, Kipande house branch in NairobiJust like with an ATM, it could sometimes seem our relationship with God is one of only a taking kind, with us not necessarily giving as much as we could (or should).

You see, the challenge with taking out money from an ATM is that we must always ensure we have enough cash in our bank account to withdraw.

This requires savings through such means as employment income and watching our expenses – both of which, you can imagine, demand discipline and desire.

Much like investing money in order to build up savings in a personal banking account, we cannot fully benefit from God’s unconditional love if we never allow ourselves to seek it. (1 Chronicles 16:11)

By failing to acknowledge God’s blessings and mercy, we prevent ourselves from being open to recognizing and receiving His gifts, depriving us of future wealth in the process.

Showing an appreciation for the Lord in our lives can come through many outlets, such as reading the Bible and practicing rituals and sacraments at church.

Learning more of His Word and observing liturgical traditions with other faith community members can remind us of God’s wonder and encourage us to further uncover and celebrate Jesus in our midst.

Regular prayer time spent with the Lord can also provide perfect opportunity for us to be still and listen to God calling to us. (Psalm 46:10)

Daily reflection time on our way to school or work, thanking God for even the most trivial elements of life and having greater awareness of His splendor through creation can all deepen a personal relationship with God.

Thankfulness to GodYet, while these practices can assist in exploring God’s presence and grace, serving God through serving others is another ideal way to discover the abundance of riches Christ has invested for us.

Making a difference in the life of another through volunteer work or frequent acts of kindness can definitely aid in realizing God’s power and wonder all around us, helping us grow closer with God through growing closer with His people.

So as we lean on God to help us in times of need, let us also remember to return the favor by constantly letting Him into our lives. Our Lord Jesus wishes to know us and live with us fully, and by investing with Him at all times in all forms, we can replenish our spiritual finances. (Deuteronomy 6:5)

By always having this sort of cash on hand, we can then find our ultimate richness through endless savings in Heaven while being assured of never going spiritually bankrupt.


Talking with Teens

Talking with TeensThe other night, my family and I attended a local touch football game at a nearby school field. While watching the game and cheering on the players, we had a chance to connect with other spectators. In speaking with some of the parents, we were able to share with one another the joys and challenges of raising children of various ages.

(Continue reading here)