It is cold this morning in Pensacola. Schools, bridges, government offices and so many other things are closed. Northwest Florida just can’t handle 20 degree days. (For all my friends up north, you are right, we are wimps when it gives to cold temps; but, we are warriors when it is hot and humid!!)
Anyway, as I left work last night, I stopped to buy gloves. I hesitate to admit that because I know that my mom is now shaking her head. As a kid (and, apparently as an adult), I was always losing my gloves and mittens. Eventually, Mom ran a string through my coat sleeves and sewed my gloves to the string. My guess is that I probably lost that too.
But, last night the weather was cold and I needed gloves. A Dollar General was close and I ducked in. For $6 I was able to get 4 pairs of knitted gloves. (For me, buying gloves in bulk makes a whole lot of sense.) As I stood in line to pay, I noticed the woman in front of me. She was carrying 4 bottles of Gatorade. From time-to-time she would pick up candy or a package beef sticks, look at it and then put it down. She had on sandals (with socks), yoga pants and a light hoody. She was not prepared for the cold weather.
I felt a tug from the Lord and as she put the Gatorade on the counter, I put my gloves down and said that I would pay the bill. She quickly and politely said “no.” I smiled and told her “no worries.” She smiled back and said “I need to get cash.” And then it struck me – she was buying the Gatorade to get a $20 advance on her credit card.
After the young woman had left, the cashier told me that cash advances were the norm. There were no ATMs or banks nearby and many people used their credit card as an ATM.
That cash advance wasn’t free. And, I wondered how quickly those 3 or 5% charges on $20 advances added up to “real money.” It’s a little like thinking about how much money has been spent to cover my bad habit of losing gloves.
I have no idea why that young woman needed cash last night and it really is none of my business. But, I do know why I was buying gloves and my problem is a lifelong habit of dumb actions. It is much too easy for me to look down on the waste in other people’s lives and ignore my own poor choices.
As we start 2018, are there some course corrections we should make? Some fine tuning needed in our use of precious resources like dollars, time, and relationships?
Proverbs 3:9 says “Honor the Lord with your wealth and the first fruits of all your crops.”
Jill (just one of God’s kids)
Ps. If you are in the Pensacola area, it looks like I’ll be teaching 2 Dave Ramsey courses in the near future:
⁃ Financial Peace University” This 9-lesson course teaches, step-by-step how to create a budget, pay off debt, spend wisely and save for the future.
⁃ “Build Wealth and Leave
Legacy” In 7 lessons, this course shares how to invest wisely, plan your estate, secure your family’s future and understand true, Biblical generosity.
Let me know if you are interested in participating. Your life will be changed!