I think my parents did a good job of teaching me to be a faithful tither. I never think twice about tithing, but I’m embarrassed to admit that other acts of generosity and hospitality, I do give a second thought.
The other day, actually at Starbucks after my meeting Glenn, I was reading 1 Peter and came across this: “Be hospitable to one another without complaining.”
Though I may not complain, a lot of times, acts of hospitality and generosity come from a reluctant heart. I’m reluctant, not because I don’t want to help my neighbor, but because I’m a constant worrier. And the biggest focus of my worry is finances. I try not to. I really try not to. But I can’t help it. I’m constantly reminded of the passage in Matthew of not worrying, about the birds and the flowers… But at the end of the month, my mind floats back to, “Are we going to be okay?” “Do we have enough?”
I hate thinking like that because it does have an affect on my spiritual life, because it gets in the way of my giving. Most of the times, I go and do what I feel called to do, but after the fact, when I’m left alone, I’m making calculations in my head. That’s not the way, I feel, I should be.
That’s been on my mind heavily as I decided to start reading I Samuel for my devotions.
I got to chapter 13: when the Israelites saw that they were in distress (for the troops were hard pressed), the people hid themselves in caves and in holes and in rocks and in tombs and in cisterns.
It didn’t seem much at first, I kept reading on. But my heart kept coming back to that verse.
The Philistines had gathered a huge amount of troops to fight Israel, and when the Israelites saw that, they became scared. The chosen people of God hiding in whatever places they can find. Not only that, in the previous section, they heard that Saul, their newly anointed king, defeated the garrisons of the Philistines.
But when they saw this, they trembled.
Not much different from when they were met with Goliath. They trembled in fear.
The people of God. After all the things God did for them, they still got scared.
And then it hit me.
They were so focused around their surroundings, that they lost focus on God. All they could see was this massive army that was surrounding them, and that’s all that consumed their sights and focuses.
Same thing with Goliath. All that they saw was this giant that was a champion warrior, and all they could hear was his challenge.
Same thing with Peter. All he could see was the waves crashing around him and all he could hear was the winds gushing past him. Instead of focusing on God, he began to focus on the things around him.
It was a nice lesson learned today.
It’s easy to get distracted with the bills, or meetings and tasks that need to be done, or papers and sermons to be written, that we lose sight and focus of God and start focusing on these things around us.
It was a needed reminder that God will provide. If God will provide for the birds, God will provide for me.
It was a needed reminder that God is with me and all things are possible through God who is my strength.
It was a needed reminder that if God is my light and salvation, then who or what do I have to fear?
Thanks be to God for everything.
Where would my spiritual life be if it wasn’t for Starbucks?