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Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Daily Devotional - Real Problems
Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. —Hebrews 13:5
I recently heard an interesting story about the difference ¬between real and imagined problems—something that all of us have probably faced at one time or another. This story ¬involved a man who was in his second year of Bible college. He was faced with financial challenges and couldn’t figure out how to pay his bills, support his family, and remain in school. He and his wife were expecting their second child, and because of health problems, she required total bed rest. He finally made an appointment with the financial aid office.
He nervously walked in and sat down. Then the man across the desk asked him an interesting question, “Do you need money, or do you have real problems?” That question changed his life. Why? Because he had seen money as his biggest and most difficult-to-solve problem. His bills and financial needs were constantly on his mind. It was as if his need for money had become the most important thing in his life.
Before this young student could say anything more, the financial counselor smiled and said, “Most of the students come in because they need money. Money becomes the center of their lives, and it steals their victory and peace.”
The student felt as if this man had been reading his mail. Until that moment, he had been one of those students the man had described. In his quest to figure out how to make ends meet, victory and peace had completely eluded him.
The wise financial counselor made some very interesting observations that day. He said, “The problem isn’t money, son, the problem is trust. We have a few financial loans we can make, but that won’t solve your problem. You see, your problem is inside your head and your heart. If you can get those things in the right order, money will no longer be the focus of your life.”
No one had ever spoken to him like that before. “Not only did the loan counselor force me to rethink my life and my ¬priorities,” the student said, “but he pointed me in the right direction.”
The loan counselor pulled out his Bible, and asked the ¬student to read three verses that had been underlined in red and highlighted in yellow. “The steps of a [good] man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way [and He busies Himself with his every step]. Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord grasps his hand in support and upholds him. I have been young and now am old, yet have I not seen the [uncompromisingly] righteous forsaken or their seed begging bread” (Psalm 37:23–25).
“So look at yourself, son,” the man said. “Are you a good man? Are you a righteous person? If you are, what does that say about you and your relationship with God?” The student read those verses aloud twice, and recognized that those words were a picture of himself. He had fallen—he had allowed himself to become discouraged—and he had been ready to give up. But he knew he was in Bible college because that’s where God wanted him to be.
As he left the financial aid office, he had received no money and no offer for aid, but he left with a lighter heart and an assurance that he would not have to leave school. He was a little slow in paying some of his bills—and a few times, he had to get an extension on paying his tuition—but he was able to stay and complete his education. Today he is in full-time pastoral ministry.
God takes great care of His own, and He will take care of you. Hebrews 13:5 offers you assurance that you don’t have to set your mind on money, wondering and worrying how you can take care of yourself. God has promised to take care of you, so what more is there to say?
God of all precious promises, I’m ashamed that I’ve allowed money or other problems to become so important that I’ve lost my perspective. My problem isn’t money; my problem is my lack of trust in You. As I meditate on Your promises, help me to truly believe that You will perform Your Word in my life. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.