Thursday, February 21, 2008

Where thieves break in and steal...

We've just returned from a week's break in Tenerife (off-setting due to happen later today) and on the whole it was a good rest and an enjoyable experience visiting such a beautiful mountainous island.

However the break also became memorable for negative reasons. The second full day we were there our rental car was broken into and my wallet containing credit cards and the vast majority of our holiday cash was stolen. I spent a while cursing myself for not taking greater precautions, not following my usual practices of splitting money, leaving much in the safe, minimising my risks etc... I felt angry, upset at being robbed and frustrated at the prospect of sitting in a foreign police station dealing with the inevitable paperwork.

Then it hit me, how true and apt and powerful Jesus' words on money in his great sermon were and still are.
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Jesus goes on to tell us that serving both money and God is impossible and not to worry about our life for it will do us no good. So I prayed and asked God to help me let go of what had gone, not to place any hope or trust in the money, not to worry about our newly discovered lack of it and to forgive those that had sinned against God and us by stealing from us. Anger and bitterness and fear would ruin our holiday, ruin our peace and demonstrate all too clearly that our hope was not in God but in material things.

I still find myself getting cross because I didn't get to spend all of my money on me which demonstrates how self-centred how I can be. Justified or not, it still seemed to be about me. I wasn't thinking of this money in terms of greater generosity or increased giving but on self pleasing and satisfying. I would enjoy the fruits of my labour. God in His infinite wisdom allowed something different to happen, He lets us live in a world full of sin, He allows people to choose right from wrong and even allows His children to be on the wrong end of wrong choices from time to time.

The fact that we find hard to grasp is that He also promises to be with us in it all and that through it all we can learn more of Him. I've learned a valuable lesson (don't get me wrong, I'd rather not have been robbed but I was and the question was 'how am I going to respond?'). We came home still profoundly grateful for the great privilege and blessing to be healthy, to afford holidays, to have enjoyed it all, to have more than enough with which we can be generous - we realised how much we had not angry about much we'd lost.

PS. For a helpful series on money check out Matt Hosier's blog and recent posts


Anonymous said...

Great perspective. Good word. I found your blog on Facebook at the Christian Bloggers' group. I've added you to my technorati favorites and look forward to being a regular reader.

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