Thursday, December 24, 2009

Do you suffer from a "Drug Problem?"

There must be a sea of ink written about the true meaning of Christmas in newspaper columns by now. I am going to resist my natural inclination to continue this tradition, and instead write about investing. Not a 401K or an IRA account, but the investments we make in ourselves, in our relationships, and the currency for this type of investing, your time.

If your IRA is anything like mine, the past few years have seen the balance in my account go up and down, and down, and then down some more. But what about your spiritual account? How is it doing?

If you have not thought about your spiritual account in a while, or even contemplated having one, you may want to use this Christmas season to do a little internal audit.

In your daily life, how often do you think about spiritual matters? Are you making any deposits in your spiritual account? Is your spiritual account overdrawn? I know mine can be. It seems when I get up in the morning, I immediately start thinking about my problems, or things at work, or even looking forward to the weekend ahead. My mind starts grinding away in the here and now. Don't get me wrong, there are some here and now issues that do take careful consideration and events that need planning, but if I spend all my time wrapped up in these worldly matters, where does that leave my relationship with God?

Wouldn't it be better to start your day, everyday, with a spiritual jump start? I'm not talking about an hour on your knees in prayer, although the benefit of that one hour would be paid back ten-fold if we would make that big an investment, but let's start small. Let's start with that walk to the shower, or pouring that first cup of coffee, or whatever makes up your normal routine. How about this as a very small, first step. Give thirty seconds of your time to acknowledge God, and the blessing in your life. Then another thirty seconds to pray for the coming day, and for the insight and direction in facing the day. That's it, just one minute, about the time it takes to make toast, but that minute could make a tremendous difference in the way you go through your day.

Once you start investing into your spiritual account, even in a small way, you can start looking at investing a little more currency in your account. How about an hour or so on Sunday? That's right, I'm talking about church. Okay, I know I am going to lose many of you right there, but stay with me, there are many wonderful churches in our area. Find a place that meets your needs, a place where they teach the Bible in a relevant way, in a way that speaks to you. Find a church with music you like and friendly people who you would want to get to know. If the first one you check out doesn't feel right, check out another one.

This weekly, corporate worship, meaning large group worship, is essential to your spiritual growth. The personal relationship you have with God is the most important, but being part of a larger group of believers, people you can lean on, learn from, and serve with is a big part of developing your faith. In many local churches, they have small-group Bible studies, they can be a great way to dig into your faith. I love my small group, they are wonderful folks who have become great friends to my family.

I know, I know, some of you have a "drug problem," you were drug to church every Sunday as a kid and hated every minute of it. It can leave a bad taste that last a lifetime. I understand this, but please, give church another chance. You may be surprised what you find there. Hey, they let me in, and if they let me in, they will let anyone in. It's not about being perfect, or about judgment, or guilt, it's about second chances and third chances. It's about love and grace. God's love and grace.

In this Christmas season, I would like to remind you that while the world likes to measure our success by our bank statement, the size of our house, or the car we drive, these things are purchased with cash. They can come, and they can go just as easy. The investments I am talking about, these spiritual investments, grow in a direct correlation to how much time we invest in them. I think spending time with God is the best investment you can make. It makes your faith stronger, it makes the relationship with your family stronger, and it keeps you focus on the things that truly matter.

Time is our greatest currency, and no one knows just how much of it they will have. How are you spending yours?

Here is hoping you and yours a very, merry Christmas.

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