Sep7WedSeptember 7, 2016
I often do small chores around the house while our twins are sleeping. Labor Day was no exception. But I was pleased when my daughter asked if she could help me as I was cleaning the windows. Some of the external facing panes really needed attention! I let her stand on the table as I taught her to spray, beginning at the top of the window, and wipe back and forth with clean paper towels. She was less interested in making the glass streak-free and more interested in wiping off the light-blue liquid. From the eyes of a child, cleaning windows is not too different from playing with water. Now, I wasn’t too concerned about correcting her poor cleaning abilities. I merely revisited some of the spots she had missed after she had ‘finished’ the job. And she didn’t mind. She was enjoying the work and I was enjoying her effort.
Now, suppose that I had made a strong effort to teach our seven year-old how to leave a window streak-free. It would have been very easy for her to feel inferior to my work and grow frustrated with her own effort. She likely would have given up. At which point, I would have neither needed to force her to return to the work in order to improve her skills or let her sulk in disappointment. I did not do this, of course. I know that she will get better with experience, but it will take a long time. Perhaps she’ll also grow to see that I, her father, still leave small streaks around the exterior of the glass. I’m still improving too.
I mention this as an analogy in regards to our current, four-week sermon series on money management. Stewardship over the financial resources that God has blessed us with is a tedious, and often difficult, job. It requires great attention to detail, the proper tools, discipline and experience – which only comes over time. Money management is also a necessary task in which we always have room for improvement. At the very point when we think that we know the difference between needs and wants, how much to save and how much to give, we are exposed to another teaching or parable of Jesus. For example, “do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth” (Matthew 6:19). His words on money and possessions always point out another area for growth among His disciples.
As we traverse through this brief series, we will be faced with many of Jesus’ difficult sayings about money. He sets before us very challenging teaching and models perfect stewardship. As you hear His words repeated through this series, I encourage you not to feel defeated by our inability to wipe away every streak of materialism or covetousness. Jesus didn’t come in perfection to make us feel guilty. His bigger goal is for us to humbly learn from Him and continually conform our thoughts and habits about money and possessions into His image - by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is patient with us. So let’s keep working with Him!