Spend Yourself

I’ve heard it said that if you want to find out what is really important to a person, take a look at their checkbook.  How do they spend their money?  This is certainly an indicator.  Are you a shop ’til you drop sort of person?  Or do your regular expeditures reflect an attitude of love toward God and your neighbor?

Surrendering to God, however, requires more that writing checks to the church and other worthy causes.  Financial generosity may be your gift, but we are asked to be generous with our time and talents as well.  Read through this verse from the book of Romans:

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12;1

We are to spend not only our money, but our very selves on God.  This is an acceptable way to worship Him — not with some money dropped in the collection plate, not just for one day a week, but every day, with everything we have and are. Wow!  That’s a difficult commitment to make.  I can hear your thoughts (along with mine) clicking …. uh… but what about my job?  My husband?  The kids?  All of my daily chores?  How do I even begin to spend my life on God?

The answer of course is in the Bible:

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17

As you go about your daily activities, remember God.  Give thanks for your job, your children, your husband and friends, because God has given them to you.  Serve them sacrificially as if you were serving Christ.  Pray as you go about your day.  Ask for help.  Ask for guidance.  Show the love of Jesus to others.  Regard your work as a holy vocation, given to you by God.  Martin Luther once said:

” “God is milking the cows through the vocation of the milkmaid.”

So when it comes to the things of God, don’t just give your money.  Spend yourself.  Surrender.

What Are You Thankful For?


One of my daughters lives in another state, so we try to write letters to each other now and then.  To encourage our writing, we sometimes pick a “theme” to think and write about.  Last year around Thanksgiving, we chose to discuss “what are you thankful for?”  Guess what?  Neither of us put anything having to do with success, money or things on our “thankful” list. Neither list included a promotion or bonus, stylish clothing, a cruise or a face lift. Instead our lists mentioned God (our faith, our church), other people (family, friends), a job to provide for our daily needs, and good health so that we could do the things we enjoyed and be able to serve others.

Does this mean my daughter and I are especially good people?  I don’t think so.  I believe that most of us, if asked to stop and think seriously about the important things in life, would come up with a very similar list.

The real puzzler is this– why we don’t live according to what we know in our hearts is most important? We get caught up in the day to day so easily that it often seems like the small things –shopping, earning more money, redecorating our home or buying a better car – are the big things.  We take for granted the daily blessings we receive through God’s grace.

Spending more time in God’s word would remind us of our true priorities.  In the book of Ecclesiastes, “the preacher” tells us that most of the things we strive for are “vanity” or in another translation “meaningless.”  He advises us to find pleasure in ordinary, daily life :  “eat your bread with joy” (Ecclesiastes 9:7); “enjoy life with the wife whom you love (Ecclesiastes 9:9) and “find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun.”  Then he adds, “this is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 5:20)

This year I want to remind myself that thanksgiving is not simply a day, it is a right attitude toward God every day. If I am constantly “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2) I will be thankful all the time.  “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”(Psalm 118:24)