At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints. For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings. Romans 15:25-27
It takes time, money, and energy to survive in this world. Our experience of faith and pursuit of Jesus require the same things, don’t they? After all, we are supposed to serve and give and find time to spend with God. Does it ever seem like there are not enough of these resources to manage both life and faith? That is the challenge of managing resources.
When it comes to our resources, there is tension between the way of Jesus and the way of the world. It is natural to think in terms of the world’s economy. The world’s economy is one of scarcity where resources are limited, and we must cling to what we have. In contrast, God’s economy is one of abundance, and it is filled with counter-intuitive ideas. Jesus said, “the first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” Jesus taught that forgiveness is better than retaliation. These counter-intuitive rules of life extend into how we manage our resources as well.
In the text above, we see there are both material blessings and spiritual blessings. The material world feels more significant because our five senses offer us constant feedback about our material needs. The material demands our attention, but it is the spiritual blessings that drive the activities in this text. Spiritual benefits are more critical to the human experience than we often sense. Once we learn material blessing is not the only need we have, we can begin to seek spiritual meaning. That meaning is found in the counter-intuitive relationship we must have with our resources. Surrender of our material resources paves a path to spiritual resources that genuinely satisfy. Worldly wealth is not promised to followers of God, but often healthy relationships with our resources actually make it easier to manage them well.
Take a moment to ask yourself, what is my relationship with my resources? Do you believe that time, energy, and money will give you deep satisfaction? Are you clinging to your resources out of fear that there just won’t be enough to go around? Now, ask God to help you learn to trust him with your resources so that they don’t own you, but you steward them. You can use your hands as you pray. With your palms facing down tell God that you are letting go of your resources as a source of hope. Then, with your palms up ask God to give you the deeper joy found in surrender.
By Aaron Bjorklund