The Weight of Squandered Blessings


I was making my usual pleas to God. I asked for help guiding my children to Him, for more income, for more time to devote to my writing. Then a chilling thought washed over me: What if God has already given me these blessings?

I thought about the previous evening, when I had used the fact that my children were all preoccupied as an excuse to watch television. I wasn’t even very interested in the show. But my kids were busy, and I was a little tired, and a little bored, so that’s how I spent 30 minutes.

The month before, I’d taken a walk with my son. It also took about 30 minutes. We talked about things close to his heart. I told him of mistakes I’d made; he told me about the fears that haunted him. And even though it was just a walk around our neighborhood, I know I will still remember it when he has children of his own.

Thirty minutes to draw close to my son; 30 minutes to watch television. That’s what I recalled as I asked God to help me lead my children to Him. We lead our children to the Lord by teaching them His ways, by talking to them about Him, and by living out His lovingkindness.

It’s hard to do any of that when I’m sitting on the couch watching TV, isn’t it?

And what about this financial independence I keep praying for? How much did I pay for lunch last month because I couldn’t be bothered to make my own? How much more did I spend going to a movie instead of renting a DVD? Why did I even pay for a DVD, when I would have been better off reading a good library book anyway?

Every day I spend a dollar here, five dollars there—and what do I have to show for it? The same goes for my free time. A few minutes on Facebook, a couple of hours watching a game between two teams I don’t even care about. I waste my minutes the way I waste my dollars.

I squander my money and squander my time, then ask the Lord for more of both. Am I any better than the slave who hid his master’s talent in the ground? (Matt. 25:14-30). I may well be worse; at least that slave didn’t have the nerve to demand more.

Too often I think of blessings as big, gaudy Christmas gifts. I ask the Lord to improve my finances, and by that I mean a winning lottery ticket. I ask Him to help me raise my children, but what I’m really asking is that He raise them for me. I ask Him for time to write my novel, but I behave as if I expect Him to reveal the perfect plot to me in a dream.

The blessings of God are indeed gifts, but often they are—like grace itself— sprinkled throughout my life. They are the minutes I can spend training my children or ignoring them. They are the dollars I can invest or squander.

It’s on my heart to be more cognizant of these seemingly small blessings. I want to be a better steward of them. I want to be “faithful in a very little thing,” that I might become “faithful also in much” (Luke 16:10). That “very little thing” can itself become the “much,” if only I will steward it faithfully.

So I’ve added stewardship to my daily prayers. Help me remember, Lord, that these blessings are not as small as they may seem.

by Tony Woodlief

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