When there are things that Sally absolutely has to have (about once a week), she uses the credit card to purchase them. She still is not content. In fact, anything she buys seems to lose its delight quickly and there are always new things to purchase.
Sally complains to anyone that will listen about their financial woes. And it's not just money. Sally wishes her children would do their chores without being asked, clean their rooms, and make better grades. Her in-laws make her life miserable and her friends are always asking for favors of some kind.
Susie has an additional burden on her shoulders. She takes care of her elderly grandmother because her parents passed away when she was in college. She is the only family Granny has, and, though she lives in her own assisted living apartment, Susie has to check in on her every day. This costs gas money and time. She would like to get a second job to help ends meet, but with taking care of the kids and Granny, there is no time left for more than her 15 hour a week part-time job.
But, no one has every heard a complaint out of Susie's mouth about money, or anything else for that matter. It's not that she holds it in, it's just that she is glad to have Granny around and sees how hard her husband works. When he apologizes for his meager salary, she tells him, "Money isn't everything, Jordan. One day, we'll have plenty of money to do the things we want to do and then we'll remember the good old days when the children were little and Granny was still alive."
If we take our eyes off what we don't have, we can fix our eyes on what we do have. As Christians, even if we are starving and living on the streets, we have an eternal home and a right relationship with God. That is the place to begin thanking God!
Find the Evidence!
Our lives are filled with evidence of God's kindness. People do all kinds of nice things for us that we take for granted, but we tend to zero in on what people did not do to meet our expectations. Most of us, if we spent time with our children, would really like them, but so often we focus on the negative with our children, and, husbands too. People will pull away from other people who are negative, so be a fountain of blessing and positive words. Don't take anything for granted. Notice the smallest act, the tiniest detail, giving thanks to everyone for everything.
What does that have to do with money? Well, thankfulness is a character issue. It characterizes all of your life or none of it. It is easier to start with appreciating people and praising God for His many blessings. This will spill over into our financial realms. You will find yourself saying, "Thank you, Lord, for money to pay the bills," rather than "I'm so upset that we can't take a vacation this year."
Thankfulness Brings Blessings!
Why is thankfulness in our finances so important? Thankfulness leads to contentment, allowing you to practice delayed gratification, the secret of financial success. If we are content, we don't need to spend money on ourselves, freeing up our money to be invested and used for noble purposes.
Often, our spending habits, especially around the holidays, flow out of a heart that is not content and a misguided thought that the secret to "feeling happy again" involves spending money.
Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin muffins, apple pie, and spiced cider are on the menu at my house this year. What about you? What is on your menu for Thanksgiving Dinner?
May I suggest a big helping of thankfulness?
Have a Thankful Thanksgiving!
(Meredith Ludwig Curtis)