Today I had an amazing experience. All I can say is that there has been a fundamental switch that has taken place within me and I saw a glimpse of it today. A couple months ago Mindy and I enrolled in Financial Peace University course. Dave Ramsey’s favorite saying is, “Live like no one else today so you can live like no one else tomorrow.” As a result of this classwe are creating a budget and changing the way that we live and view our money. One of the biggest changes that I have made was the night I came home and handed Mindy my debit card. I wouldn’t say that I was misusing it but it was far too easy to spend money on soda pops and snacks all the time. As we started our new budget for the next few weeks I did not have any money in my wallet at all. I went from feeling like I could buy things all the time to virtually overnight realizing that I couldn’t purchase anything at all. There we’re a couple times when I would pull into the convenience store parking lot out of habit and had to pull right back out. Instead of eating out for lunch at work I began making a lunch’s every day and drinking water instead of pop.
This past weekend Mindy gave me ten dollars as spending money and inside I laughed and wanted so badly to make some sarcastic remark about how little that seemed. But to be honest, it was more cash than I had seen in weeks so I took it and wondered just how long this would last me. This morning I was on my way into work and I drove into the convenience store parking lot to get a bottle of water and something strange happened to me. It was truly amazing that as I walked into that store with my ten dollars I felt something that I had not expected and indeed, something I have never experienced. As I looked at all the people and all of the things that they were buying I expected to feel frustrated but I did not. On the contrary, I felt like I was the richest man in that store.
Immediately I realized that I am learning to appreciate the money I have. In the past I would spend so much on so little. Today I felt like I really had a genuine appreciation for what I had been given even though ten dollars seems like so little. But you know what? A month ago my ten dollars would be spent by lunch time on Monday. Now that same ten dollars will last me all week. Tomorrow is Wednesday and I still have over eight dollars left.
As I have meditated upon this experience I have also gained a greater appreciation for the grace of God. You see, when I stand before God it will be because of His love and grace. Ephesians 2: 8-9 says that we are saved by grace and not by works so no one will ever be able to boast before God. He has blessed me so much by accepting me and loving me unconditionally. Yet there are areas in my life, however, that I fail to surrender fully to God and inwardly claim that it won’t matter because grace will cover it. In those areas I am not displaying appreciation for the grace of God at all; but, rather, I am devaluing it and treating it as something less than what it is. Grace has provided me with reconciliation to God and I am grateful for that. Biblical grace, however, should not simply be understood as something I get to spend to cover my debts but also as that which creates within me a more Christ-like life. In fact, I demonstrate my appreciation for God’s grace when through discipline and obedience I learn to treasure it; rather, than constantly making unwise purchases with it.