Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Car trouble? Call on Jesus!

DER: Our 1997 Dodge Intrepid--a mighty fine and God-blessed piece of reliable machinery indeed--is acting up a bit. We invested about $4,000 in the car (our only car, that is) before leaving California: all new transmission, new hoses and belts, you name it. And the thing runs great. But we think we're having problems with the fuel injectors, at least at first glance.

And so I prayed last night something to the effect of: "Lord, you know we made the prayerful decision to invest literally thousands of your dollars in this car, and we continue to hope and pray you will bless it for the duration of seminary. Please help everything to work out; if we need a new car, please provide it. We don't want to use your precious resources on an unnecessary expense. If we need to get this one fixed, provide the resources to do so. If we need a car while it's getting fixed, please help us, Lord. Amen."

Now, we've never lived here before; we don't know any mechanics from Adam. So last night I emailed a professor we know and love who has been here for more than 15 years, asking for he and his wife's recommendation. Unbeknownst to me, Stacye was talking with his wife about our car trouble at precisely the same time I was emailing him! And she said to Stacye, "Oh, you can borrow our car for as long as you need it, in case you need to get yours fixed." And this morning, the professor emailed me with a very good recommendation of a nearby mechanic.

So Stacye went to their house this afternoon, got their Mazda sedan (which they use often as a "loaner" to those who need it), and we took our car to the shop.

The point is this: this couple truly is a living example of how--biblically--I believe God wants us to use and employ our material possessions. Our possessions belong to Him, God entrusts them to us, and we are merely the managers of all He has given us.

In the early Christian church, new believers in many instances sold their possessions and freely provided for each other's daily needs as they arose. Imagine if Americans consistently lived in such a way...

Imagine if we allowed Christ to infuse our hearts and minds and lives to the extent that no one in any community was "without." Imagine if each of us lived with an open hand, allowing what passes into our lives from God to pass freely through us to others. Imagine a place where God's people willingly and graciously shared "their" resources with others who needed them for a time, as this couple has done with us. Imagine the community that would be created as a result! Imagine the overflowing joy that would abound! Imagine the love that would be shared!

I believe without question this is how God wants us to live. I would encourage you to read Deuteronomy 15:7-8,10 for further insight.

We are made in God's image, and our God is a God of love, grace, and overflowing generosity. We Americans have far more money and material resources than we will ever need for ourselves. We Americans are arguably the wealthiest people on earth that have ever been or will ever be. And to be sure, the Bible tells us clearly that our material wealth is indeed a blessing from God!

But where we go wrong is that we somehow think it's all for us. Me, me, me. But that's not what Scripture tells us. The Bible says, "You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion. And through us, your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God" (2 Corinthians 9:11).

In what ways can you share what God has given you with someone who might be in need?

May God guide you and bless you richly as you consider the possibilities...

In His Love and Service,
The Rays

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