Sunday, March 25, 2007

the new Jerusalem

Studying two vastly different aspects of life, financial intelligence and investing, and prison ministry, has shown me people tend to stick to what is safe and what they know, even if taking a mininal risk will create a huge gain in their own life personally and the lives of other people. Sometimes it takes a serious wake-up call in a life to jump the known trail and head off into uncharted woods. What happened to Brandon certainly caused that in our lives. Another thing that has caused a change of mind is our financial picture and thinking about daughter #2 heading to college in a year. We barely have the money to pay one parent plus loan for one child. We have nothing to give the next one. We have no savings to speak of, and we are looking at the other side of middle age. How much more can we work?

As far as prison ministry goes, I can tell you, because I was one of them, most people don't trust enough to go into a place to share their faith and life that makes them uncomfortable unless they are forced. I prayed and prayed for revival in our area, expected great things, but never really left the comfort of the inside of a church. Because of our son I walked into court rooms, rehabs and prisons. I did not want to. But, duh, isn't that where lots of hurting people are? You can be fairly sure without needing an audible voice from heaven and a fifty-foot billboard. Now this may not be where everyone needs to go, but clearly, if you do, your presence there is almost certainly guaranteed to make a difference. The investment of time will multiply so expotentially there is no comparison to the gift. So if Christians truly believe what Jesus said about the importance of His Great Commission, to go into all the world to preach the gospel to everyone, um, wouldn't you want a ready-made audience? I'd much rather be inside magnetic doors than say, a place where "normal" people are who have no idea they need God. The only thing it takes is being willing to step out of your comfort zone-just stick your head out of your routine box!

Same thing with financial knowledge. The whole idea is creating assets that make wealth without spending inordinant amounts of time. Everything in our heads says you don't get something for nothing. But really, you can-just qualify the "nothing". The something we need to have is the proper knowledge and understanding of how money works past the old advice, work hard and save. Work hard is fine. Save is fine. But there's more to it, for the person willing to keep eyes open, risk a little and trust. Once again, stick your head out of the old knowledge box and get poured into a new wineskin! Isn't it worth even trying? And again, I'm the worst here. I just want to be safe. I just want to do what I've always done, hoping things will change. Well, in the AA 12-step program that is the definition of insanity.

Jesus had only harsh words for those who would not risk what they have. He said of people like that, people like what I used to be, even what they have will be taken from them. He called the people of the age smarter than the sons of light because they didn't use every available opportunity to grow wealth, the wealth of humanity and the wealth of the kingdom. Remember the little boy who gave his lunch to feed a crowd of five thousand? If we are so worried about being left without, we'll never see the banquet our lives could have been.


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