On Keeping and Saving….

Wednesdays are when I spend most of my day on sermon prep.  I usually go to my nearest second office (read Starbucks) and spend several hours reading and studying.  I can say with confidence that I am one of “those guys” who probably irritate the baristas because I spend a $1.65 to rent a table for a couple hours.  

Today was no different other than the fact that my wife and I are now running with one car.  We sold my dream truck–a T100–because it was beginning to fall apart.  I wept. Since that time, we have managed to use one car.  It has worked for the most part, resulting in a few days where I bike to work or Caylin is left stranded at home.  She hasn’t complained once. I have.

But today, like every Wednesday for the past two months, I WALKED up to the nearest Starbucks a mile or so away.  As summitted the small hill, which sometimes feels like a mountain, I noticed a young lady (early 20’s) standing with a gas can and a sign that read, “NEED GAS”.  I had just posted a small sermonette on our church network about Matthew 25.35-40, so I figured I couldn’t be a hypocrite.  God had set me up well. 

I approached the woman, talked with her about her situation, and waived at her “husband” sitting in the car–their home.  As always, they had an elaborate and emotional story about loss jobs, medical conditions, and a few other things.  I spoke with her husband as well who, comfortable in his car, was being careful to hide the I-Phone resting in his lap. Hmmm…..I could think of a thousand rational reasons as to why I SHOULDN’T help these people.  But all of them were overwhelmed by the one reason that I should: Jesus loved me when there were a thousands reasons not to.  

So, I filled up the gas can she was carrying and helped her fill the car.  Her husband never got out. I spoke with them briefly about Jesus, our church, then left wishing them well.  As I walked away, I debated in my mind whether or not I did the “right thing” with the money I spend.  God reminded me in that moment that I was simply his manager, that all I has was His, and that He thought it was money well spent.

One of our pastors spoke about money on Sunday.  I was reminded of how blinded we are to our greed–our love OF and security IN money.  No one ever believes they are “greedy” or “materialistic” because they can always point to someone else MORE greedy or materialistic than them.  The reality is, we all have a lot of excuses for not giving to our church, those in need, or others in our care.  I can’t be generous. I can’t  I can’t be intentional.  I can’t be cheerful.  And all of those excuses are not only sinful, but stark evidence of how much we love our own kingdom and how much we trust in a world that is all going to burn up in the end.  

Here is the simple truth:  When we breathe our last and stand before Jesus our Lord, Savior, King, and Judge, I am pretty certain among ALL of the things he might say, he won’t say:

I wish you would have kept a little more for yourself.



Author: Sam Ford

Sam Ford is a preacher, planter, and pastor from the Pacific Northwest. He is currently pastoring Restoration Road Church in Snohomish, WA.

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