Saturday, March 19, 2011
6:07 p.m. Today's project was to maximize earnings and minimize expenditures, while covering our household needs. Customer calls brought in new business over the last day or two, and we received our the rent check from out of state, but the deposit won't likely post until Tuesday. Since we'll be driving to church Sunday morning, back out that way for Home Fellowship in the evening, and then joining Heather and Nick for their evening service at Sandals' new facility in the far northern end of Riverside, the 1/4 tank of gas we had wouldn't have cut it. Praise the Lord for plenty of food here at home, and most other necessities!
The picture of last year's winter garden is a promise of plenty of salad greens to come, already growing again this year. Have you noticed how much produce has gone up? At least we left the grocery store with the results of our bargains and my modest business profits, and now had gas money.
As we walked toward our car, a tall, blonde, skinny lady and her little boy approached us. In a thick eastern European accent, she asked for help while her son held a sign. I was able to give her a little something and pray they found more before nightfall. It's not for us to judge by people's appearance whether or not they are needy, and I couldn't tell anyway. Hebrews 4:13 says "there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." So God knows! But we can always find something to give. That's why we participate in every charity clothing drive that leaves a bag on our doorstep, and I took a bag of "gently used" clothes to our church's clothing swap slated for April 9th.
Back close to home, I purchased a whopping 5.13 gallons of gas, or almost a quarter tank for my Jeep, with my $20 bill. The advice "don't spend it all in one place," is hard to follow these days with gas prices edging up to $4.00/gallon. For those of us on fixed income, or worse, unemployed, that's a real challenge. Being an even wiser steward has become mandatory, like doing several errands in the same part of town each time you take your car out. Some of us remember being outraged when gas went over 25 cents a gallon in the 70's when I was at UCLA! Imagine. My dad earned a very good living as a gas station owner in those days, too.
I pray our state can return to being the bright, promising place I grew up in, and our nation as well. Praise God that hope never dies for the believer, because whether in health, illness, impoverishment or even death, Jesus our High Priest "is able to save to the uttermost all those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25). Jesus embodies hope for all people, communities and nations, hallelujah!
Down as I get sometimes when we're between pension payments, or as sad as I felt for the mother in the parking lot, I couldn't help but ponder a video I viewed on Facebook, with a Christian man of India sharing the way that God compelled him to go out to feed the starving ones of his city. For those wading in the Ganges River, with no food at all, even consuming human waste, there is no government or societal "safety net." The results of centuries of degrading and demonic idol worship are everywhere. While there is no perfection in this world, our Western Civilization, originally founded on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, has lifted more millions out of poverty than the world had has ever known before, as well as provide billions of tons of food for those mired in slavery to false religions.
May we not forget the truly desperate in the third world, and give to charities such as Samaritan's Purse that take the Gospel with the goods so desperately needed by victims of war, neglect and tragedy. May we feel compelled to give to local charities who employ and house the poor, as well as make others aware of help they can receive, many of us for the first time in our adult lives, due to disability or unemployment. In other words, may we be Jesus' hands and feet, and His voice too, as we share why we give! I John 4:17 says,
As He is, so are we in this world.