My adult daughter, Karen, has occasionally commented: "Sometimes being a grown up sucks."*** This has usually been proceeded by a hefty car bill, an upcoming school loan payment, or trying to put a little ("very little!" she laments) aside for retirement versus buying a new book or doing something fun. Sometimes it has to do with being the adult when the little kids go screaming to jump in the lake and there are still dishes to clear and food to put away after the picnic, or when you want to stay out late but really shouldn't because, oh yah, you have to go to work early; but mostly, it really has to do with money and obligations.
Lots of grown up things have to do with money. Having a place to live. Having food to eat. Paying bills, filling up the car with gas and/or buying a bus pass, buying a vacuum. (Karen says it's a sure sign of being an adult when you ask for that vacuum at Christmas and you truly want it.) Sometimes it just isn't ... fun. And often it isn't just about you, but a significant other or family or a pet or pets or... In short, it's rarely simple.
I sometime let her vent - I get that it isn't always fun to pay bills and wonder how to make ends meet - but sometimes I suggest she think about what she gets for that payment. A working car? Gratitude for an education? [Hopefully] enough to live on after retiring?
We also have conversations about where we spend our money. We both like books. A lot. (Some might say obsessively, but they're wrong.) We like to travel. But we also like to donate to causes that we feel strongly about. Sometimes we ruminate about what we would do if we won the lottery. What would we spend our money on? Who would we share it with? Would it change us?
How we spend our money says a lot about what we value.
It is that time of year when we at MSUS look at the budget and how we want to spend our money. And so I ask you: What is it we value? What do we need? What do we get for our money?
It is also a time of year when people are asked for their plans for giving to MSUS throughout the year [i.e., to pledge.]. What people are willing to share is what drives what we can do at the church. I think the same questions apply: What is it we value? What do we get for our money?
Our investment in our church can make a big difference in our lives, especially when sometimes it's tough to be an adult. And to me, that's a great investment.
*** apologies for the colorful language