Before you begin, put on a strong stain-proof apron to protect against the drips of bitterness and the sourness of life. In a bowl of resilient material, able to withstand blows, falls, and chipping, mix the following ingredients:
“It’s not fair! They’re getting more than we are.”
“Things are tough enough as it is. How come they’re being favored?”
“What’s the difference between us? Only our language!”
Under financial pressure? Struggling to stay on top of your bills? Here are nine fixes that just might help bring you through.
Trust in God—He wants to take care of you and supply your needs. “God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
One of my favorite Bible stories has also been a guiding light to me since I first started working as a volunteer in foreign lands back in 1978. Over the years since then, it’s served as both a promise I could depend on and a nudge I couldn’t ignore.
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
—Proverbs 11:25 NIV
Remember, there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple.
—Scott Adams (b. 1957)
Money was scarce when I was growing up. I never lacked anything vital, but I never had so much that I could casually give something away without feeling the pinch.
Once when I was 17, a homeless person asked me for some money. I had been taught that giving brought good things back to you, so I calculated how much money I needed for my train fare home and gave him the rest—around ¥500, or roughly US$7. It was difficult giving away my last bit of pocket money. While I can’t say that because I gave $7 I got back X dollars in return, I do know that over the years I’ve received enough back to firmly believe in the “law of returns.”
Last Christmas, the magical spark never came. I was bothered by all the commercialism that plagues our city months in advance. Somewhere between the flashy ads in magazines and feeling I didn’t have much to offer Jesus due to the limitations of our circumstances, I lost my enthusiasm. I wasn’t looking forward to decorating the tree, neither did I want the guilt and stress that would come from cramming and rushing to “make things meaningful.”
Right after graduating from high school, two friends and I decided to travel around the western Mediterranean. It was 1969, and the streets of Europe were filled with young people roaming and searching for meaning in their lives. We took a train to Naples in southern Italy, then an overnight ferry to Tunis. Next, we traveled along the North African coast, hitching rides with local trucks and cars.
When I met Jesus, life became like a bike ride. It was a tandem bike; I rode in the front and steered, and Jesus was in the rear seat, helping to pedal.
I don’t remember just when it happened, but Jesus suggested we change places. Life hasn’t been the same since. Jesus makes the ride so exciting!
In a series of experiments conducted a few years back, dogs were given the command “shake,” and they were normally happy to do so whether they got a reward or not. However, researchers found that if the dogs saw that another dog was being rewarded and they weren’t, they began hesitating to obey the command and eventually stopped cooperating altogether. The dogs knew when they were being treated unfairly, and they didn’t like it.1 If even dogs can understand when something isn’t fair, how much more will people know when they’re being treated unfairly!