Money, Day 11: Small Windfalls

October 29, 2009 at 8:18 am 1 comment

Whenever you discuss money in Christian circles, you’re going to hear ‘God will Provide’.  I mean, it’s just a given, you need to go in right away and accept it.  You also need to prepare to be told that if you give, God gives back, suggesting that the way to …. sort of buy favor (?) is to tithe properly, I guess?    I know that’s not really the spirit of the thing; it’s a matter of demonstrating trust and the various rewards that come of putting your trust where it counts, and that’s not something I would ever argue with.  But just in terms of practical conversational expectations, you’re going to hear or be told those things.  God will Provide, and If You Tithe, You Will Be Rewarded.   Bring up money in any Christian environment and wait for it, and then say ‘There it is.’, because it will always be there.

Non-Christians and Anti-Christians would be dismissive here, and I can’t say I blame them.  It’s yet another religious convention that just seems to get thrown around casually, and often the ‘proof’ of the situation doesn’t really match up to what is sort of promised there.   When we’re low on money and things are tight, it’s far more likely that something will go WRONG than that something will go magically right.   I have several friends — and have experienced it myself firsthand — who find themselves living hand-to-mouth as it is, just about the time when their accounts are at their most barren, the washing machine decides to die, the heater goes out in the dead of winter, and the car breaks down out of nowhere.   You’re struggling to pay the bills ANYWAY, and then this big financial disaster strikes.  How is that God taking care of you?   God is GOD… shouldn’t you be driving a miraculously breakdown-free car?  Shouldn’t your Water Heater defy all known laws of physics and chemistry and somehow last for two hundred years without any maintenance?  I mean, come on…

Christians will tell you that those are the times when they realize how dependent they are on God.   And somehow we always get through.  Someone steps up with a spare car to lend or give, someone else offers us the use of their washer and dryer until ours get fixed, some family member or other invites you in to stay until the water heater issue is resolved.  Stuff like that.  Oh, but that sort of thing happens for EVERYONE, as long as you’re a nice person and have friends.   And sometimes that sort of thing doesn’t happen, and you’re left to struggle without the benefit of whatever broke.  Christians say this is a lesson in appreciating what we have.  Non-Christians roll their eyes and walk away at that point.  Whatever.

But it all does come down to attitude, see…  From a Christian’s perspective, the world belongs to God and we really don’t DESERVE any good thing from it just because we happen to have turned up here.  Certainly existing at all ought to be gift enough, and when you throw in that whole Christ-dying-on-the-cross thing, it’s pretty ridiculous for any Christian to think God OWES them anything just because they ‘didn’t ask to be born’.   Therefore, if circumstances find us in abject poverty, struggling for our every meal, the fact that we can find a bridge to sleep under on a rainy night is technically a gift to be appreciated.   Admittedly, few among us could honestly say we take that attitude, but it’s the attitude we’re MEANT to take, and we certainly try to at least pay it lip service, right?   That’s why a financial crisis like a broken water heater shouldn’t be a crisis in the first place… Who are we to demand hot water to begin with?  Isn’t the fact that we have running water at all enough?

And that’s why the Someone Stepping In To Help might just be the rewards of Being A Good Friend To Other People for non-Christians, but it’s a gift from God to Christians.  Because EVERYTHING is a Gift from God.  And if the car gift breaks down, then at least the roof gift is still holding up.  And if the water heater gift is going bad, hey, the Internet gift is still awfully amazing.

I feel like I’m doing that Louis CK bit again.   Well, anyway…

The point is, sometimes those little miraculous gifts, the ones that actually suggest there is Someone Looking Out For You (besides Bill O’Reilly), do actually happen.   Today I was informed that some dishware Mom asked me to list on eBay for her sold, and the money came in.   The total sale?  $120, round about.   That has NEVER happened for us before; we’re lucky to get $20-$50.   Mom’s deal is that if I do the listings, she’ll do the mailing and give me half of the take.  That’s incredibly generous, since, you know, they’re HER dishes… but she considers the freedom from hassling with that part of things worth it, and she wants to do this for me.   Who am I to argue?  I need the money!

So I now have another $60 in savings today.  That brings my savings balance to an all-time, non-paycheck-housing high of $127.   I’m 1/10th of my way to my Emergency fund! 😉

But more to the point — and more importantly for the moment — if my $37 Checking balance is not enough to get us through (and I’m still going to try to make it work if I can), I now have some padding to work with without delving into the $67 I am deteremined not to touch.  Someone is looking out for me, and I have a pretty good idea who.

Also, Luke’s birthday card from Andy’s parents arrived today.  This was weird, because it was sent on the 22nd, according to the postmark.  It’s only coming from central Iowa, so why it took a WEEK to get here, I have no idea.  But anyway…  They sent him a $50 check, and I am seriously considering just putting it into his account and calling it good.  The check is made out to Andy, but since it’s intended for Luke I think I’ll just transfer the money into Luke’s account and leave it at that.  He has plenty of toys, enough clothes right now, and Dave Ramsey has me all enchanted with interest rates accumulating over time.   If I make a regular practice of halving Christmas and Birthday money and putting half in the kids’ bank accounts, by the time they’re in college they’ll have a decent amount to work with.  I know my parents did something like that, and that’s why I had something like $800 to spend on my honeymoon even after I graduated from college.

So today was a day of little windfalls.  Little gifts I didn’t expect, but very much appreciate, both on my own behalf and on Luke’s.  We’re going to make it through October one way or another here.

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Entry filed under: Money, Successes. Tags: , , , , .

Money, Day 10: Down to the Wire Money, Day 12: Spa Day!

1 Comment

  • 1. Melalvai  |  October 30, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    I like the Book of Job: bad things and good things happen to bad people and to good people. It’s good and bad luck, random chance, not God’s rewards and punishments.

    Family and friends and community take care of their own. Sometimes it is a common religion that binds us. When we surround ourselves with good people, we take care of them and they take care of us in times of trouble. When we surround ourselves with people who provide us with good times and drugs, maybe not so much the taking care of each other.

    So when people attribute windfalls to “God is watching out for us”, I run that through my interpreter, and smile and nod agreeably. That’s just not how I would phrase it.


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