Your Hearts Desire
A few weeks ago I gave a talk at EBC in which I challenged people to think about their “financial wrestling match” as I called it.
In that talk I alluded to three categories which compete for our resources, which are:
The “have to” category
The “want to” category
The “ought to” category
The point I made was that each of us has conflicting demands on our finances, and actually the same is true of our time – there are only so many hours in the day!
From my own perspective, when I consider my time and my finances, I might as a first go allocate things into those categories a bit like this:
Finance: Mortgage, family food shopping, utility bills, petrol/diesel, phone bill, essential clothing, pet supplies (guinea pigs and fish, if you want to know!)
Time: Work, sleep, travel, eating, relaxation
Finance: Gifts, trips out, treats, alcohol, books, guitars, amplifiers, bikes
Time: Exercise, reading, playing guitar, writing, browsing t’Internet
Finance: Giving more – to church and other good causes, clearing debt faster, saving up
Time: More quality time with family, serving others, prayers and devotions, working on relationships, planning my time, planning my finances, exercising more
Now let’s pretend…
… we could have MORE time and more money…
… so that we could do MORE of things we WANT to do…
… including the things we OUGHT to do as well…
Wouldn’t that be great?!?
… We can!
The secret is to spend some time reconsidering our three categories, the things we put into them, and also the amount of time and money we invest in each thing. We should do this in the light of this question: What’s really important to me?
Sure, we might need to spend time and money on various things and some of these may even be fixed hours and amounts, but if we really want to, we can be a lot more flexible in the amount of time and the amount of money we invest in many things in each category.
We could argue there shouldn’t even be an “ought to” category – because if things are really important to us they would feature already in the need/want categories and we’d find ways to liberate the necessary resources.
In truth, it really is just a matter of deciding what’s really important to us. Time-wise, what’s more important – staying up late watching TV or going to bed earlier and (therefore) rising earlier to read the bible and maybe prepare well for the day ahead? Money-wise, is it more important to buy the big brands or spend a bit less so that we can give and save some too? Prosecco o’clock or prayer o’clock?
When I reflect upon the things that are really, really important to me I find that they have less to do with what I have and rather more to do with how I feel.
I am the first to admit that there is some “stuff” that I kind of hanker for. As I admitted during that talk I gave, I have a materialistic streak that longs for a a sports car (TVR Chimaera please – starmist green), a large woofy-type dog (Boxer, or Dogue de Bordeaux) and OK, another guitar (Fender Telecaster, American professional edition in butterscotch blonde please).
But deep down, here’s what I really want –
To be everything that God created me to be – the absolute best version of myself I can be.
Now I know that this can only happen with God in charge – only his intervention (which happily I can and do ask for) can overcome my own more worldly self and transform me into what I really want to be.
At EBC in recent weeks we have been looking at going deeper as a church – each of us praying and asking for the intervention of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Please can I ask you to be praying about this – and when I say that, I mean really praying, not just thinking about it.
If we each really do that, I believe it can have a transforming effect on each of us – and, by the way, if that happens then EBC will have more resources with which to flourish and grow and reach ever more people, potentially changing their lives now and for all eternity!
Is that important to you? Or are you not really bothered?
Recently I’ve been pondering the following proverb, but with prayer in mind -
The sluggard craves and gets nothing,
but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.
Instead of being sluggards, let’s be diligent in prayer for the intervention of the Holy Spirit, that the desires of our hearts – for ourselves, EBC and for the many people we are helping and will help – may be fully satisfied.
Let’s not be sluggardly and settle for the status quo, or lazily assume that someone else will respond so we don’t have to. God has a special and unique role for each of us to play as he goes about building his holy and mighty church!
No-one else can do what God has in mind for you to do. Sure, they might do the same kinds of things – but they won’t be YOU, that’s the point. God wants YOU involved. He invites each one of us to be a part of the incredible, life-transforming work that is going on.
Just in the last week, did you know that because of God at work via EBC…
• Hundreds of people have been served, comforted and uplifted at Refresh and EBC, including the lonely, the hurting and the dying. (Yes, really).
• Elderly people have been given lifts to services and events, so that they can enjoy good food, fellowship and Christian worship together.
• Homeless people have been helped via Storehouse, with furniture and with kind-heartedness. A man with a pretty much horrendous set of circumstances a year or two ago is now transformed.
• Bereaved families have been comforted as EBC has looked after funeral arrangements with them and pastored them.
• Many people have been prayed for, with all manner of requests to God for them.
If you are a part of the EBC family, you MUST understand how YOU, through your giving and serving and praying, have had a huge impact on people’s lives this week. I wish you could see, as I have had the privilege of seeing, the many smiles on the faces of people touched in some positive way by EBC this week. Which is to say, touched by God this week.
This Sunday there is a chance at our morning service to respond to this challenge to think again about your part in the work of EBC.
Please don’t miss out. God invites us and allows us into his life-affirming, world-transforming master work, the church – the treasure house of the world. Please don’t go away empty handed, or empty hearted.
What’s important to you? Please be diligent – not lazy – in praying and asking God to reveal to you how he would have you respond. See you on Sunday!
Ezekiel 36: 25 – 27 New Living Translation (NLT)
25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.