"Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked;" Psalm 37:16
This morning was wonderful! I had an early meeting cancelled and got to spend some great time with Kelsey and Lily before heading off for a haircut. Getting a haircut is always a treat as I've been going to the same spot for the past 10 years in the same neighborhood I grew up and I look forward to drinking from the "well of wisdom" that is my Vietnamese-born stylist. It also doesn't hurt that she massages your scalp when she washes your hair and makes me actually believe that I'm not going bald, but that is neither here nor there.
What makes her so amazing to me is that just a few years back she explained to me how she was a Buddhist and didn't believe in God at all. She even had a shrine in the back of her salon set up for her mother and grandparents. She grew up in a small incredibly poor village in Vietnam, lived on one to two meals a day as a child and lost her mother to Cancer when she was only fifteen. Each year that went by I would share more and more with her about my own life and what Christ had done for me personally in hopes that she would aspire to a relationship with Him. Though she always had common sense (which is no longer that common), her broken English and Buddhist upbringing drew an imaginary line that would separate our world views. Then, one day, two years ago after she got married she started to ask me about Jesus. She went on to explain that she had three dreams about Him in which she could see his face and hear his call. Her only response was to follow Him and live a life trusting that He new better than her. Just to make it clear, I'm not guessing what her response is, that was her answer my past few visits when I asked her again and again about those dreams. Today, in only two short years, the Spirit has given her a perspective on life that I can only pray to obtain. She constantly reminds me to give up on my habits of worry and fear because they only grow the more we focus on ourselves. She also manages to remind me that she's happy living in a mobile home because it's Much better than a "what do you call them...a hut?". Now that's Godly wisdom.
When I read today's verse I can't help but think about her and how she has grown in her faith in Christ. She continues to stress to me the importance of trusting God regardless of circumstances and openly shares with me her past financial difficulties as well as her current ones, only to explain further that it's irrelevant because she now finds her joy and peace in God and the gifts he's given her. I find it amazing who God uses to help shape us, and for me over the past two years the wisdom of God delivered to me through her broken English could only be divine (I can't stress enough that understanding a "mute" person on the phone is much easier than translating her English most of the time) . As my business has dwindled and my moods have become fickle based on Earthly circumstances, every three to five weeks I can count on getting some eternal perspective from a mid 30's woman who's English is as good as America's automobile industry. God is truly amazing!
I don't know about you but so many times I need to be reminded that a life lived with and for God is a life so rich and joyful that it outweighs any amount of material things I could accumulate. So many times I end up in discussions with friends about why we should "live on less", or that we shouldn't "try to make money" only to miss the point of what life is about. In TRYING to not focus on money and "things" we only end up focusing on... money and "things". It's kind of like the old saying that "negative publicity" is still publicity. The more we speak about money and what WE should do with it, we lose track of the fact that all money comes from God and the question is what He would have us do with it anyway. For some, that means making a lot, for others that means making a little. Either way, the money is always a tool and never a means to making us feel secure in this lifetime. When money is what makes us secure, like it or not, you now have something in common with the evil who see this life as all that there is.
So how do we find contentment in this life when it comes to money? In speaking on contentment in Christ, which is what this Psalm is truly about, I always point people (and myself) to 1 Timothy 6:6-10 which states, "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."
To break this down, our focus is always on trusting God and nothing else. As one friend has said to me he believes in "Jesus plus nothing". What God has for us may appear to be "little" by earthly circumstances but nothing surpasses the greatness of being one of God's chosen ones and knowing that according to His Word, he will always provide enough for today. Wealth, as mentioned in Timothy is always fleeting as we can take nothing when we leave this world. Today, regardless of circumstances, regardless of the economy, regardless of how you feel, trust in the fact that the gift of knowing God, and the ability to trust Him is worth far more than any wealth this life has to offer. If you don't believe me or my hair stylist, ask Him, He'd love to speak an eternal perspective into your heart.