She hadn’t balanced her checkbook in over four years! I was shocked to hear my neighbor tell me this, and quickly made an appointment to teach her how to manage her checking account.
I could not imagine not knowing my balance and the anxiety it would cause every time I went to use the check card, or wrote out a check. I’ve helped others who have constantly had overdraft charges multiply into hundreds of dollars when not addressed immediately. This friend had not had the issue since the first year, but was constantly short of funds, and had no idea from month to month if there was enough to cover necessary payments. She was a nail biter from worry about which checks would go through and which would bounce. After spending a “horrid amount of money” on overdrafts the first year, she even refused to pay for an account printout, because she didn’t know that request could put her funds into overdraft. Besides, she explained, she just tried to remember about how much she had spent, intending to spend about $100 less than was automatically deposited each month and she was pretty sure she was ok because the overdrafts stopped. She assumed that she was either about even or possibly had at the most under $100 in her account, but she was afraid to spend beyond the most urgent payments, because she was not sure.
It took several days of calculation going through boxes of checks and filling in blank registers. Then she wrote no checks for a week to be sure no checks were on hold. Finally, the banking institution confirmed, without charge, our calculation that she had over $2,000 excess in her checking account! I’ve helped many people with budget planning and account balancing and this was a first. Imagine – all that worry for four years, and she had access to a reservoir of funds the entire time!
Even though I could not handle not knowing the balance in my checkbook, from time to time I have lived like a pauper spiritually when there has been a reservoir of all that I needed readily available. Whether my lack was due to lack of knowledge, unbelief, laziness, fear, false humility, or guilt, the result was the same as my friends. All had already been provided —readily available for my access.
2Peter 1:3 . (NIV) His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness
My friend was able to access her resources through knowledge and understanding (and in the future consistency in documentation. Similarly, all I need is available to me through knowledge (of Christ). The Message defines this knowledge as getting to know, personally and intimately. That takes consistent time and commitment.
A woman at one of my speaking opportunities approached me excitedly afterward. She wanted to have experiences like I’d shared about being directed by God to minister to others. However, when I talked to her about getting to know God personally and intimately, she was uninterested or unwilling to make such a commitment.
But, how can you know someone’s voice if you have not spent time with them? How can you discern if the direction you feel is from God if you are unsure what His Word says about the issue?
And how can you know what resources are available if you don’t check your spiritual account?
Romans 8:32 (NIV)
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Philippians 4:19 (NIV)
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Have you utilized the resources that God has available to you?