advent conspiracy [spend less]: Jen Holsted
Spending less is a relatively easy notion for me. I come from a long line of penny pinchers. David and I have actually done pretty well over the years of not spending too much at Christmas. None of the adults in my family exchange gifts, we set spending limits for each other, and we only exchange gifts with a precious few outside our immediate family. So the challenge to spend less is not much of a challenge for me – unless you choose to examine my motives.
I confess that the idea of spending less so I can give more makes me a bit twitchy. If I spend less on gifts for my family but then give more to someone else – well, I haven’t really spent less, have I? There’s no extra money sitting in my savings account, no upgrade to my vacation plans, no bill that is paid early, and no cash to treat myself to something special during the post-holiday sales. The money is gone, it is still spent. See what I mean about my motives?
Oh, I know all the verses and all the stories and all the promises. I know that God owns it all, and I’m just the steward. I know that I could never give more than what God gives me. My head knows the truth. The problem is my heart. I don’t want to. And if you boil it down, isn’t that what every sin is about: I don’t want to.
So in this season where our culture tells me to get what I want, I’m going to instead choose obedience. I will give more. And I’m not talking about giving my time, or my attention, or my service. I’m talking about money, because that’s my issue. I’m going to spend less money (the easy part) so I can give more money (the hard part). The only thing left is to see where God wants that money to go (the fun part).
So, if you happen to see me out and about, and I look a little twitchy, just smile and say a prayer for me. Obedience isn’t easy, but its proof that God is at work.
Today’s post was written by Jen Holsted, who works at FN with elementary-age students. She’s married to David Holsted, and they have a son, Jackson. This time of year you can often find them constructing their very own unconventional Christmas tree – out of anything from ladders to bamboo poles!
This Christmas season at FN, we’ve decided to join into the Advent Conspiracy. As a part of celebrating together, we’ve asked several people to write about each week’s topic here on our blog. And we’d like for you to join in too: share your reactions, plans, or experiences in the comments. Or, if you post on your own blog, leave a link in the comments. Post pictures to our Facebook wall. Tweet us @fellowshipnorth. Let’s use our online space as a community – one that will conspire together this Christmas season!