Get excited, it’s tax season!!! Imagine if you will, like all holidays Christmas has just wrapped up, you’re returning a gift that you awkwardly tried to act excited about just days before and your favorite store starts gearing up and preparing their seasonal aisles by filling the shelves with this years tax season must haves. You peruse through saying to yourself, “it’s not even New Years yet!!”. As you’re mulling over that perfect card that truly captures how you feel during this wonderful time of year, there it is, a life size poster of Uncle Sam holding out his hand, ready with a smirk on his face for you to fill it up with the money you made the previous year.
This is one season I’m thankful the big box stores doesn’t celebrate. I’m not against paying taxes. I’d rather not pay as much, but that’s for a different blogger to write about. What makes me cringe most about this time of year is my seemingly never ending “Groundhog Day” moment that has been playing out year after year since I started earning a decent paycheck. The moment when I enter in my income for the year and I inevitably ask the same question, “where did that money go?”.
This year I hope to end that cycle. I’ve been taking a financial training class through my church over the past five weeks. It’s been immensely beneficial on so many different levels. Besides building a budget, I’ve started to gain awareness and realize what I truly desire while filtering out what I thought I desired. What I thought I desired was mainly derived from what our society told me what I should desire, blinding me from seeking out what I desire that is specific to the heart God gave me. We worked through exercises, discussed money matters in small groups, and watched some videos that helped me navigate toward a path of financial discipline that I’ve always desired to have, but never actually tried to achieve.
Then last week I received a different message from God while watching a video based on saving. A portion of the video began to discuss one of the benefits of putting your money in a savings account. One item highlighted was the ability to build upon the money you put into this account through compounding interest. The message being that your money grows at a faster rate off of the interest, or interest on interest. But what I heard was in the form of a question. What if I strived on a daily basis to invest in someone in way it created such a positive and impactful experience that they did the same in their own life? Or what does compounding interest look like in creation? The whole “pay it forward” model comes to mind. Is a goal of creating a moment for one person each day a lot to ask? Maybe… but imagine a place where we all took on that goal? Based on the idea of compounding interest, I imagine a place where everyone will eventually have the same goal, and we’re all living in a manner that looks like service to each other. Rather than what can I GET from this person, it’s looks more like what can I GIVE to this person.
I was given another visual this past Sunday from one of our church leaders. He shared a story of a group he was with walking a nearby neighborhood in an area that was being rebuilt. As they walked through each began commenting on some homes, giving each their own person critique. Some of the homes you could tell were fully finished while others where still “under construction”. As you can imagine the comments for each home ranged from positive to negative based on the progress of each. One of the guys pointed out that the negative comments that were carelessly being thrown around mimics what we all tend to do to each other. Carelessly, for one reason or another, critiquing (or judging) all that we see. Forgetting that we all are still under construction and God is still at work in all of us.
Can I see past what I perceive as ugly and see God? Can I look at everything and see “under construction” and lend a hand. Can I give without knowing what came of that investment?
If I do, so will you, and so will they!