What sort of emotions does the holiday season evoke in you?
My pastor, Ronnie Batchelor, describes this as the time of year when “…we all experience the familiar unnerving sense that we’re approaching the brink – something akin to the clack-clack-clack-clack ascent of the rollercoaster when couples instinctively grasp each other’s hands and exchange nervous looks that communicate, ‘Here we go!’ We just hang on and hold our collective breath because we’re in for quite a ride!
The next season will almost certainly be a jostling, frenzied blur of parties and baking and travel and pumpkin spice…and obscene amounts of food until (as the last strains of Auld Lang Syne fade), we all coast back into the station and exhale – sometime about mid-January.”
There is great anticipation, a shared excitedness, and many feel like it is the happiest time of the year. But for many people, this season is also filled with stress, anxiety, and busyness. We can make ourselves so busy we feel like a hamster on a wheel, just trying to keep up so we don’t fall over!
Whenever I experience these periods of high stress, I have to remember that I’m not in charge. Crown’s founder, Larry Burkett once said that he was resigning from being in charge of the universe – and would let God keep His job!
I find myself in this same crunch at times. I take on too much, spread myself too thin, and end up tired and ineffective. This is when I need margin.
So, I’m challenging myself to slow down. God is in charge of the universe. Not you, not me, not the President, not the iPhone X.
But how do we actually slow down?
We pray, we read the Word, we go to church, we rest on the Sabbath, we give generously, we use the money He’s provided to build His kingdom – not ours.
As Paul said, “…you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Gal 5:13-14)
Serving brings us true joy and is proven to reduce anxiety and depression. God designed our minds and our bodies to benefit when we think of others before ourselves.
But the simple truth is that most Americans are too busy to serve God. We have grown complacent and comfortable in God’s blessing and have forgotten the first commandment. Since God asks for obedience instead of demanding it, many Christians simply ignore the very reason for their existence: to glorify God. Some of us are so busy doing things for God that we aren’t doing the things of God.
Peter said, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace… whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 4:10-11)
And, “…whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43-45)
One of the greatest lessons in my life was learning that success in God’s eyes is faithfulness. Changing my mindset from being an owner to being a manager of all God has given me has brought so much freedom, and it will do the same in your life.
Stewardship is all about faithfulness. I want to hear “well done, good and faithful servant” when I meet Christ – don’t you?
So take the first steps. Commit to slow down this season, to serve others, and to be faithful. Now is a great time to dive deep into what God’s word says about your money. And the best way to do that is with Crown’s online MoneyLife Personal Finance study. This online course has 7 sessions focused on helping you align your finances with Scripture find freedom in your life. You can enroll today, or give it as a gift!
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