Thursday, February 10, 2011

Three Things Coupons Have Taught Me About God's Economy

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Everybody wants to save more money at the grocery store. Like losing weight, keeping a clean home, or being organized, however, "wanting to" doesn't make it happen. You have to work at it. Going from "wanting to" to "working at it" all depends on how desperate you are to make a change--a change because
you realize the benefits are not just for yourself, but for your family.
Changing things in our lives is never easy. Transformation beckons us to go against the flow of our deeply-entrenched habits. Not only are we swimming upstream to conquer doing things the way we always have, we are going against the current of a culture that is losing its work ethic to a lack of focus, a tendency to procrastinate, and the notion that somebody else will do it. Y'all, that's not going to happen.

During my almost two years of learning how to save money at the grocery store, I have discovered Biblical principles and learned more about the character and ministry of God. Yes, I'm serious--through couponing I've grown closer to the Lord. Isn't that amazing? I love that He is so willing to teach us His principles through everyday life. Here are just a few things that He's revealed to me:

Patience is learned through waiting. Waiting until something goes on sale often means waiting for a favorite dish to be prepared. I don't like to wait. Who does? But waiting is something the Lord is really good at. He is slow to anger (Psalm 145:8) and His patience affords us the time we need to come to Him for salvation (2Peter 3:15). If I'm not patient enough to wait on something to go on sale, then how patient will I be waiting for something I've asked of the Lord?

Generosity is always doable. A lot of times we think living on a budget means we can't be givers. When I follow the match-ups at Kelly's site, Faithful Provisions, it's easy for me to stock up my church's food pantry with great deals that often don't cost me anything but time (truly, the most difficult of our resources to give). When folks are on a tight budget, giving is on hiatus. People tend to think they are having a hard enough time trying to take care of themselves and make ends meet. God's economy is so much different from ours, isn't it? God says that the generous man will be prosperous (Proverbs 11:24-25). We can never "outgive" God.

Opportunities for ministry are everywhere. At one grocery store I go to, there is a certain cashier who always moans when he sees me. (Not really all that good for my self-esteem, LOL) "I hate coupons!" he always mutters under his breath. While it would be my tendency to take that personally and just avoid this man altogether, I decided to ask him what the problem was and why he hated coupons. Long story short, he hates them because they are inconvenient. It means more work for him, and he doesn't like to have to thumb through my stack and scan them because they often stick together and, well, he is just easily irritated. :)

But I get it. And I always have a lot of coupons. So now, when I go through his line, I take the time to re-order my coupons so that I don't have two of the same size/type in a row. For example, I'll stack a newspaper coupon and then one I printed off so that they don't stick together. This makes them easier to flip through, and I think it's what I would want someone to do for me (Matthew 7:12). He still hates them, LOL, but I've gotten to know him a little now, and I always ask about his wife and family. He's even shared some prayer concerns with me.

What would happen today if you decided to change your thinking and open up your mind by looking at something with a God-perspective? It doesn't have to be coupons. It could be the neighbor who is driving you crazy, the kid who keeps arguing, or the closet that is begging to be cleaned out. God uses everyday life to teach us how to live: in Him, through Him, and for Him.

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