A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; (Ecclesiastes 3:6)
That word “get” is a real catch-all; we get gifts, we get sick, we get well, we get well known, we get forgotten. There seems to be no end to what we can get…and the Bible tells us to “get wisdom” (Proverbs: 4:7) And then Solomon talks about a time to lose. In his case, because he didn’t use his wisdom wisely, reverting back to the “ways of the world”, Solomon lost God’s respect. A time to get and a time to lose.
To keep and to cast away reminds me of clothing, unworn for years, hanging in a closet, until the time comes get rid of it…”cast it away”. It happened to me just a few days ago. My youngest daughter had given me a dress that I had admired on her. That was 1997! After wearing it many times over the next few years, it somehow found its way to the back of my closet. Now, in still good shape, that dress has been passed on to a charity organization. A time to keep, and a time to cast away.
Tomorrow: A Time to Rend
Prayer three from Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To is “God, Outdo Me in Generosity”. The chapter is called What’s In It For Me? The author begins the chapter by saying, When I was a little boy, my mother used to say to me, “If you give something you own away to somebody else, God will always give you back two things in return.” Throughout his life he discovered that his mother was right.
Further into the chapter, Anthony DeStefano writes: The amazing thing is that you don’t even have to be religious for this principle to work. Often people who aren’t far along in their spiritual lives manifest a very pure willingness to give. God rewards them anyway–probably as an incentive to draw them in closer to him. For example, the well-known singer, Frank Sinatra–who didn’t exactly have a saintly reputation–was an incredibly generous man. He amassed a fortune in his lifetime, but it was also reputed that he gave away over a billion dollars to charity–much of it secretly. When asked why he thought he was able to make so much money over such a long period of time, even when he was well past his prime, he responded: “I don’t know why, but every morning God just seems to throw money at me. All I do is try to throw it back! It’s been working for years.”
This has not been my experience. In fact, most of my life was spent trying to make ends meet…until I voiced a money prayer to God. No, it wasn’t God, Outdo me in Generosity…it was more like, “God, please show me how to break this negative money cycle.” Then, one day it came to me what exactly I was doing wrong, and I took steps to change my ways. Although I had always been a giver, mine was more the widow’s mite than the Sinatra billions. One time I had the opportunity to give beyond my means, and like the widow in scripture, did so. Did I get back twice as much as I gave? No, but when income tax time rolled around, my refund was more than what I had given. God indeed outdid me in generosity.
Tomorrow: I Can’t Take It Anymore…God, Get Me Through This Suffering.