Last night, we wanted to watch a movie, but didn’t feel like braving the streets of Vancouver to pick one up. Since we’re the last human beings on the planet without Netflix, we watched one from my collection: a lovely little movie from the 80’s (the outfits give it away) called It Could Happen to You. I love everything about this film except the fashion. A good-hearted policeman wins the lottery, insists on splitting it with a waitress because he promised her half his earnings as a tip, and spends the rest of the story defending his decision and generously and creatively giving his earnings away. His wife, meanwhile, spends extravagantly and becomes obsessed with wealth.
This message of generosity and contentment comes at the perfect time for me. We are having to learn how to live on one paycheck, and my life-long definition of the word “need” is being called into question on a daily basis. I’m doing my best not to become frustrated or indulge in self-pity, which would be so easy; we chose this road, and the consequences are going to refine us into better people. People, I hope, more poised and ready to live out God’s Kingdom in our city.
This is all so easy to say, though, and much harder to do. If I were to put a hole in my favorite jeans today, normally I would go out and buy some replacements. Wouldn’t you? Instead, I need to look at our other needs, my wardrobe, and decide how important the pants really are. The easy thing would be to just go jeans shopping (well, sometimes it’s not so easy…). Marriage adds another element entirely: what if Nate needs pants too?
I’ve been dwelling lately on Jesus’s sermon on the mount in Matthew 6. The picture here is so poignant: if I believe that God is big, and loving, enough to feed birds and clothe flowers, why don’t I trust him to take care of my needs? When I worry about whether I can afford my favorite lunchmeat in this expensive city, or wonder when I will ever be able to go shopping again, I’m taking matters into my own hands and there’s really nothing I can do about it aside from act out of my own lack of trust. This is and adventure, though, and I truly desire to learn how to live simply (in a real, tangible way) and trust the Lord, Jehovah Jirah, to provide for His child. From this trust, I hope to develop a generosity that doesn’t look back, that causes me to find pure joy in providing for the needs of others, no matter how small.
Besides, the Beatles were right, weren’t they: money can’t buy me love. And love I’ve got.