Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Frivolity of God

I dislike making decisions. I've made progress in this area over the years, but at times it still creates an enormous amount of internal tension. This is especially true in regard to financial decisions, not only with large, weighty ones but often the small, seemingly trivial ones as well. This is because anytime I am confronted with the decision about making a discretionary purchase, I find myself questioning whether this purchase is really necessary or worthwhile. I also feel guilt, thinking that the money I might spend on said item could be better used to do something useful for the poor and hungry in the world. For example, sometimes on the way home from school or while we are out running errands the kids will ask me if we can get ice cream or something. This simple question plunges me into an internal debate about whether we have the available funds and whether I can justify to myself using those funds for this frivolous purpose. The internal debate that goes on in my mind can at times be paralyzing. Unfortunately it often produces a sharp answer to my children as well, which is not deserved.

I was sharing about this dilemma with my counselor Heather recently and she shared some really helpful thoughts on the matter. First and foremost, she encouraged me to bring the question to God each time I find myself beginning a mental battle with myself. Allow God to tell me what to do and in that find peace, whatever the direction. She also helped me to see that my quandry stems in part from a belief I have developed that it is more godly to live simply and that to use my God-given resources in anything other than the most frugal manner is sinful. I do believe that God desires us to use our resources wisely, but I had developed a mindset of God as stingy. God gives me a certain set of resources and, if I don't use them wisely, His purposes in the world will somehow be left undone. My understanding of God was too small and too limited.What Heather helped me understand is that a stingy frugality is no more godly than unbridled spending on one's wants and desires. In fact, she pointed out, the Scriptures show us a God who is at times downright frivolous. Consider the instructions for building the tabernacle and the temple. This is not the design of a God who is stingy and frugal. This is a God who is lavish and frivolous. Consider the vast diversity of his creation. He provided animals with colors and appendages that go beyond utilitarian into the realm of the downright flashy.

This idea of the frivolity of God has been quite freeing, as has the practice of praying over decisions I face, no matter how small. God is not a harsh accountant, demanding a strict accounting for every penny. God delights in beauty and joy and giving. He delights to give to us and to see us respond to his giving with delight. It's not as if God is on a tight budget.

God may direct some people to be more frugal and to give more generously to those in need. For me, understanding his frivolity has released me to be freer in using the resources he has given to me. Ultimately the key is to be in relationship with him so that we know his leading each and every moment.

1 comment:

  1. Amen, brother!

    Eph. 3:16-21
    16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
    20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

    Lavish! Read this: http://brandiandboys.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/lavish/