Tuesday, November 11, 2014

thanksGiving series, Part 11

Are you tired of reading about saving money yet? Hang in there! We may be heading into the annual shopping frenzy, but there are things we can do to be better stewards of the resources God has entrusted to us. It's probably not popular, but it sure is fun! 

Tomato soup was my mama's favorite, and it hurt her terribly when she was diagnosed with Celiac disease and had to give up her favorite Campbell's soup. Nothing I tried really came close to reproducing the flavor she preferred. Truth be told, it's my second favorite (next to pumpkin soup) and my all time favorite when served with a grilled cheese sandwich. If you haven't tried my recipe for tomato soup, you should. It's wonderful and, if not as convenient as the prepackaged Panera Bread soup, it is definitely as good. Maybe better. 

I've bought the Panera Bread soup before, and was happy to pay $10.98 to have it. Actually, I was happy to pay that price until I started this savings/giving project. I took a look at the price and thought, I can do that myself without much trouble and save a considerable amount. It turned out that I found the canned tomatoes and canned tomato paste on sale for 50 cents a can, grew the onions and basil (I count that as free), and bought a gallon of milk for less than $4.00. A very rough estimate of my cost for making the soup is less than $2.00. That's a savings of $8.98! Not bad for making soup that tastes better than what I would have bought! What's not to love about the last of the basil in the garden in homemade tomato soup? Yum! The savings of $8.98 for making the tomato soup brings the total in the savings jar up to $210.81! 

If the truth be told, I'm tired of adding the savings up. I want to write something funny! I want people to laugh and be moved by a touching moral. I don't really want to write about saving money every day. Apparently, what I want to do and what I need to do are not quite the same. Learning to be frugal and a good steward is an important life lesson, but choosing to be frugal and a good steward just for fun and in order to give what we save away is a little different, isn't it? It's not about us at all. This saving to give IS fun to me, but there is a part of me that wants to entertain the ones for whom this is not fun. When that temptation surfaces, I have to remind myself that the One for whom I write takes great delight in saving to give and choosing to invest in the Kingdom of God rather than in my own selfish desires. 

When I look at what that $210.81 can do for the Kingdom of God, I'm stunned. Bibles for young men and women in jail and ready to consider, perhaps for the first time, that they don't have all the answers, fruit baskets for senior citizens living below the poverty level, and blankets for the homeless are all things my Savings Jar can fund. Now, eleven days into the project, that Savings Jar can fund all of that (not just a part of it), and it absolutely astounds me! This is worth doing, and it will make a difference, so if you are ready to move on, too, let's choose to hold still a bit, deny ourselves a little more, and take up the cross and follow the One who denied Himself for us, sacrificing His very life to save us.

"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'

The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' (Matthew 25:34-36, 40 NASB)