Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Proverbs 30:7-9 More than enough!

Two things I ask of you;

    deny them not to me before I die: 
Remove far from me falsehood and lying;

    give me neither poverty nor riches;

    feed me with the food that is needful for me, 
lest I be full and deny you

    and say, “Who is the Lord?”

or lest I be poor and steal

    and profane the name of my God. (Proverbs 30:7-9)

The prayers offered here by Agur appeal to my heart: “Lord, help me not to lie,” and “Lord, please just give me what you know I need.” These are the very things which I want in my life - to speak the truth and to be content with what the Lord gives me.

I want the words which come from my mouth to be uplifting and pointing to Christ. And, yet, I struggle with a sarcastic tongue that engages in gossip. YIKES! Deliver me, God!

Because the Christmas season is upon us, I’ve been bombarded with hundreds of emails offering Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals (funny how those deals are still popping up on Tuesday...), and my real mailbox seems stuffed to the brim with “covet books.” You know, those glossy catalogs designed to make you want to completely remodel and redecorate your home and your wardrobe?? I’ve learned to toss them out before even flipping through them.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Timothy 6:6)

Here in South Orange County, an extremely affluent area, it is difficult to maintain an attitude of contentment! “Wants” are confused with “needs.” Homes are large and “Facebook” perfect! Cars are new and leased so people can continually drive the latest and greatest. You won’t see a lot of “clunkers” on the road here! Parents often worry about the long-term affects of raising children here. Their expectations are that EVERY elementary school child owns a laptop and an iPhone! If the child loses the iPhone, Mom and Dad will just replace it. It’s a place where being content is a challenge!

Now, I honestly don’t mean to sound judgmental about this. I LOVE living here, and am so thankful for the many wonderful families that live in my community! It’s a great place to be - and I think it’s a terrific place to raise children. You just have to be so intentional about modeling for your children the concept of contentment!

I grew up in Newport Beach. More specifically on Lido Isle, which was where all of the rich and famous lived. However, we did not have a lot of money. All through high school I owned one pair of sneakers and one pair of black flats! But that was two pair more than 95% of the world! I’m the youngest of four girls, and my mother would have delighted in treating us to large wardrobes - it just wasn’t possible. But I always had all I needed. I don’t remember ever hearing my mother lament not being able to keep up with the rest of the neighbors. We believed we had the best life possible - and we did!

So when Don and I were raising our girls, I was actually thankful that we did not have the means to spoil them. They couldn’t enroll in the ballet and gymnastics classes their friends had, but they were able to do a few weeks in the cheap YMCA offerings. We participated in the inexpensive or free activities offered through Girl Scouts, the library, and church! I couldn’t afford the Cabbage Patch dolls at $120 each, so I made them their own.

Some of the best gifts the girls received for Christmas were “kits” I put together. I went to an office supply store and got them a stapler and office stamps (“PAID.” “RECEIVED,” date stamps) and stamp pads, receipt books, etc. They had a restaurant kit that included an order pad, a bell, menus (I laminated “to go” menus from local restaurants), etc. One year I made them a felt board and cut out letters, numbers, and shapes from felt so they could pretend they were teaching. They played with these for HOURS! The best part was that these kits required the girls to use their imaginations!

We have so very much here in the U.S! We are the only people who will actually pay rent to store our surplus that we never use! Yet our Savior didn’t have a place to lay his head! Father, help us to not only be content with the abundance you have provided, but to be overwhelmed by your goodness. Teach us to use the gifts you have given us to bless others, especially at this time of year! Remind us of the most precious Gift, that cost us nothing, but cost your Son His life!  

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