Geeze! Who wants that?! Apparently I do.
I am a frugal person. I love a good sale and I don’t like spending money beyond what I need. This is a good thing, right? Well….not always. My poor hubby would love for me to go shopping and get some cute going out clothes. But when you don’t like to spend money you don’t like to shop. I don’t go out very often so I don’t need going out clothes so…No need – no buying.
Which brings us to our problem. I am going out. And I just discovered my go to beaded flops that I wear for such semi casual, spring/summer events are shot. Really?! Seven dollars five years ago and you couldn’t get me through one more weekend?! Slackers! I started at our local Target and found a few pairs of shoes that were cute enough but one pair wasn’t comfy and the other…more than I wanted to spend. They weren’t out of the budget – they just more than I wanted to spend. So I went to Kohl’s around the corner. And I found more cute shoes that were even more than I wanted to spend.
At this point I grudgingly decided that I didn’t need new shoes anyway. I could just make do with a different pair of flops that I had at home. But that meant my toes had to be painted. Have you paid any attention to how expensive nail polish CAN be?! Eight dollars for a .75 ounce bottle of something that I am eventually just going to remove with a cotton ball and throw in the trash! Crazy I tell you! Just crazy!!
Did I say frugal? I think if I wanted to be completely honest with myself I would change that to cheap. Frugal says you are smart and discerning with how you invest your resources. Cheap says you just don’t want to invest.
I left both stores completely frustrated and dissatisfied. I was actually almost grumpy about it and it was the stores’ fault. How dare they ask me to pay for a quality pair of shoes that are attractive and actually may last? I should be able to walk in and get what I want for what I want to pay. Never mind that how little I am willing to pay is completely unreasonable for the style and quality I want. That’s all I want to invest.
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count ALL things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Hmmm…I’m going to take a chance here and say Paul wasn’t cheap with his life investment. If I can digest this passage a little, Paul is saying that he has invested everything he owns including his own life in order to get righteousness and resurrection. I’m not an investment banker but that looks like a pretty decent return.
I think sometimes there is a temptation to invest ourselves just enough to be granted salvation. If I can get away with believing in and accepting grace, and not have to serve, I’m good. I’ll make that investment. If I can just serve at the soup kitchen but not actually go to church, I’m on board. If I can read my Bible for five minutes a day, but skip over the prayer part, I’m good to go. How about making my petitions but breezing past confessing my sins? Can I do that?
We want the high quality reward but we want it at a cheap faith. And that leaves us dissatisfied. What do you mean church isn’t as fulfilling when I just warm a pew? I don’t understand why God isn’t answering my half hearted prayer! I’ve prayed it 30 times this month! I just don’t get anything out of reading my Bible. It doesn’t speak to me.
Check out Acts 5 1-10. I’ll wait. I’m pretty sure Ananias and Sapphira were not satisfied with the return on their investment. They held back a portion from God and were struck dead. Did they start with the right goal in mind? We’ll sell this and give God the proceeds. But they didn’t give all. They didn’t fully invest.
I could have left the store today with a really cute pair of shoes for this weekend. And it wouldn’t have cost me that much but I had already determined that I wasn’t going to spend what that price tag said. I set limits. Are we setting limits on how much we are willing to surrender to God? Because if you really think about it, we aren’t limiting our surrender. We are limiting our return.
How much are we willing to pay for cheap, unsatisfying faith?