Like many new activities I was excited when the cigars came, and I smoked a few before I left on my trip (this has taken place over several weeks, so it wasn’t like I was lighting up on a daily basis). The funny thing is that by the time I actually got out to Colorado, the newness of cigar smoking had worn off, and I wasn’t all that excited about smoking anymore. In fact the last cigar I smoked I didn’t even finish, I just throw it into the campfire.
This got me thinking about how I spend money. This was a classic example of using the money God has blessed me with on me. Way too often I look at the money I have in my bank account and think about what I can get for myself. Rather than looking for ways to give generously I look for ways to satisfy my desires. What ways am I missing out on being a blessing because I am only looking to bless myself?
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:14-15; ESV).
When we have the means to help, especially when we have the financial means, then it is our responsibility to help those in need. Prayer is important, but it is also an act of faith to give, and so we should commit to doing both.
Here is where the rubber meets the road for me: after tithing and providing for my needs my next obligation is to give to people in need. I need to be more intentional about helping people in need. After all, God has blessed me so that I can become a blessing to others.
I am not saying that we have to give up our hobbies and the little pleasures we have in life, rather I want us to consider if they are justified when there are people who are in desperate need. After all, I think all of us can identify areas in our lives where are money, sometimes quite literally, goes up in smoke. Perhaps it is time we intentionally become better stewards of the gifts God has given to us.