Faith Finances and Frankie

Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,”Hebrews 13:5

Since starting Financial Peace University last week, I have found myself more tuned in to God’s provision in mine and Kelly’s personal financial life. Not that I didn’t understand (or haven’t also taught on) a Biblical view of stewardship, or believe that all we have is from God and for Him. But sometimes the gap between what I believe or understand and how I act is surprisingly wider than I thought. Getting involved in FPU has given me a new vantage point on this chasm in our life.

In reading from Hebrews this morning, I was struck by the phrasing that Peterson uses in The Message version: “be relaxed with what you have.” Take it easy, don’t get all stressed or excitable… which, as any who knows me can attest too, is an act of discipline. What would it look like to me to be relaxed about our possessions?

When I am relaxed I…
… have a better perspective on life. I tend to see more clearly and have a healthier outlook on what to do and where things are headed. When I am stressed I am a conspiracy theorist who things the world is out to get him- it feels good just to type that out loud. Short of some long-needed therapy, developing an understanding God’s provision and my ability to live healthily within it takes a positive and stable outlook. I trust easier and faith abounds when I am relaxed.

When I am relaxed I…
… laugh a lot and enjoy life. I think this could, for me, be the source of cheerful giving. I cringe in services when I hear pastors use this phrase and its original meaning to urge the congregation to laugh as they put their offerings in the plate- this seems to be a disconnect with the reality of people’s life situations. Most people are laughing at the notion of giving anything more than a tip, depending on how the message tasted or worship was served up to their liking. I am resonating with the notion of a relaxed view of what God has provided leading to a life of laughter and love- thereby producing a joyful and cheerful giving experience.

When I am relaxed I…
… am easier to be around. I don’t share my stress with others, passing it around like a runny nose in the church nursery. My family is relaxed and we laugh a lot. Last night, Kelly and I played the game Catch Phrase with our first grade daughter, and the laughter and ease of our time together still lingers in deep wrinkles at the upturned corners of my mouth. Without that stressless family time, I would have missed her unique and creative perspective on life. I probably am the last one to realize that those moments rise and fall on my attitude and demeanor.

In light of the promises and proof of God in our life, its great to live in the assurance of God’s presence… and like Frankie say… relax.