Will God help you buy Pacers tickets?
Yesterday was the 1st Friday of the month which has become my spiritual retreat day. We had a rainy day prior and it was beginning to get a bit cooler outside; so, I was looking to find a different location than the park I general go to. Through the suggestion of a friend, I thought about a couple of locations; however, as I woke in the morning these didn’t make sense for this particular month. So, I ended up at home which was just perfect.
Early on in our time together, my heart turned to our children. As I looked around at the pictures on the wall, I enjoyed many fond memories. For those who don’t know, Lisa and I have a teenage boy, Chris Jr. and teenage girl, Kylie who are great kids. Our family has had it’s challenging times like all families do, however, overall we’re doing pretty good.
Upon further reflection about our children, one of the goals I had this month in my Truth@Work roundtable is to track the number of quality conversations I have with my children weekly. Anyone who has or has had teenage children likely knows quality conversations can be a bit few and far between. You know, you ask them how their day was and the answer you get is “fine”. You try to probe further and you get “the look”. So, as you might suspect, reality has set in that I don’t have near the quality conversations I desire. Honestly, this wasn’t new news, however, it was enough to cause me to ponder ideas to change.
Shifting gears for a bit, another theme from my retreat was stewardship. I’d met with Jay Link, Stewardship Ministries, this past week and was introduced to some of his content. While this initially was meant to be a technology free day, I decided to spend some time digging into his curriculum a bit. While I’ve only scratched the surface, I would say a couple themes really stuck with me.
First, “who owns our stuff?” As Jay highlights, we tend to get too wrapped up in our ownership of “stuff” and seem to forget that we really don’t own anything. Our God, the creator of all things, is ultimately the owner of everything and he simply has given us the opportunity to steward or manage these assets. Intuitively, we all would answer “yes”; however, at a heart level, what’s truly going on? I’d venture to say that we’ve gotten a bit too much of “mine” going on if we were to be totally transparent.
Another module I previewed was on generosity. Jay points out that once we truly understand that we don’t own anything and we’re simply managers of God’s assets, it brings a new prospective to generosity. A key point in my brief study that stood out was God’s generosity. Relating it back to my children, I love to be generous with my children which is the same for our Heavenly Father. He loves to be generous with us as well. So, we’ve only scratched the surface, however, Stewardship Ministries content has reenforced a few things regarding ownership and generosity.
Much more happened throughout the day which we don’t have the time to share; however, as the day was winding down, I had some really special events transpire. Reflecting back on the day, I was making a correlation of where our generosity, in particular financial resources, have created some great memorable experiences with our children. Times at the lake house, vacations, or simply jumping in the car to run to Starbucks are times where we’ve utilized God’s assets for the benefit of relationship. So, as the day wound down, I said to The Lord, “it seems like today’s theme has been around children, however, I haven’t spent a lot of time in scripture today. I know this may be a bit out there, however, if I’ve focussed where You would have me focussed today, would You reveal a scriptural reference to children as I open the Word?” Well, for those of you who have understanding, you know what happened. I opened my bible with no fore thought and immediately turned to Luke 15 which is the Parable of the Lost Son. There were a few takeaways from this scriptural reference; however, the main takeaway was that I asked God to confirm children was our topic of the day and He did.
So, the title of today’s blog is “Will God help you buy Pacers tickets?” Well, we’re now to that point in our day. You see, historically, Chris Jr. and I have talked about getting Pacers tickets, however, I’ve never really been too committed to it. While my reasons have varied throughout the years, they centered around money, unhealthy role models, time conflicts and likely a list of other things. Today, periodically throughout the day as I reflected on ways to spend quality time with Chris Jr., Pacers tickets kept coming to mind. As I typically have in the past, I attempted to suppress the thought with the primary reason being the financial investment. Relating it to quality time with my son, in the past I’ve always justified that there were many other things we could do together that doesn’t cost near the money.
Well, it kept coming up. So, I said, “God, if I’m suppose to be buying Pacers tickets today, will you please make it clear?” I then looked to where my bible was open and began to read Luke 16, Parable of the Shrewd Manager. Finally, after at least three times, God brought me back to Luke 16:9 (NIV): “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” I won’t get into the context of the versus, however, I will say that it was very clear that God was saying “turn lose of the money and invest in your relationship with your son”.
I shared the story with one of my best Godly advisors, my wife, and she agreed. Thus, as Chris Jr. arrived at home, I gave him the challenge of figuring out how to fit an 11 Game pack into our busy lifestyles. As you can imagine, he was a bit surprised. He completed the challenge within the next hour, we called the Pacers, and now have seats for this season. Now, mind you, we didn’t get too greedy with God’s assets and are sitting in the cheap seats; however, we’re at the game and I look forward to many memorable experiences to come.
For some, today’s story may seem a bit out there like my “yellow birds” story. For me, however, I’ll simply say “thank you Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for our relationship and I continue to be in awe of how you’ll communicate to us if we only ask and listen.”