Monday, June 24, 2013
Up In Smoke
July 4th is probably my favorite national holiday. I like hot weather - check. I like grilling out - check. I like fireworks - check. I like family vacation time in the summer to relax and do something outdoors - check. I like meaningful holidays for which I can truly be thankful - check. Our national day of independence is usually filled with memorable festivities and a multitude of blessings. I am especially thankful for the people and principles responsible for the founding of our country.
You have seen them now, the fireworks stands are in abundance. There is a great deal of money dedicated to celebrating with various explosions and spectacles of light. I have seen two fireworks shows at Major League Baseball parks this year. They were very enjoyable. They had the purpose of entertainment and they were impressive - it is amazing what they can do with fireworks these days.
Yet in all of this, I cannot help but wonder where the line must be drawn. What about those families who are barely making ends meet, who spend hundreds of dollars on one night of entertainment that literally goes up in smoke? I admit I have rarely spent any money on fireworks myself, because to me it was always a matter of stewardship. I just couldn't bare to see hard-earned money evaporate in a matter of seconds. This is just one example. I could provide a list of things that I will not spend money on because it is hard for my conscience to allow me to do so. It is not wrong to buy fireworks. Just like anything else, moderation is key.
This reminds me of another topic that is unpopular to speak on but needs to be addressed from time to time. People hold a stick of nicotine between there fingers and light it on fire all of the time. Forget about the entire argument to be made for taking care of your body as the temple of God, and strictly consider the expense and the bad stewardship. Almost 100% of the benevolence cases I have handled in the last fifteen years have been for cigarette smokers. I have often thought about the things those folks could do with their money if they were not wasting it on something that was taxing their families and that will most likely cost them their health in years to come.
So these are the questions for you and I to consider today. Are we being good stewards of the blessings God has given us? Or are we spending too much money on things that have no lasting value? Do we go to the restaurant too much? Do we spend too much on entertainment? Do we appreciate our blessings or do we waste what we have been given? Do we give to the Lord first, take care of our bills and obligations second, and then set some money aside for extras last? God is going to hold us accountable for the things we have been given. All blessings should be used to His glory. We need to remember to be making eternal investments, and not allow our physical blessings to simply go up in smoke.
"So he called him and said to him, 'What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship..." ~ Luke 16:2