Are you saving enough?

I had the great opportunity to hear Jen Wilkin at the Revive 15 conference this past weekend. * It was a great conference pushing women to think seriously about their role as disciples and teachers of other women. She shared one illustration that really resonated with me:

 There was an older woman (we will call her Mrs. Smith for purposes of this story) who faithfully taught Jen Bible study when she was younger. Years passed, and they lost contact. Then a few sequence of events led Mrs. Smith to reach out to Jen, and they began catching up again. Mrs. Smith told Jen she had been battling stage 3 ovarian cancer for the past year, and things were fairly grim. Jen was understandably upset, yet at the same time encouraged as Mrs. Smith told Jen she was being sustained by drawing all on the deposits she herself had made in her savings account over the years.

Jen’s Bible teacher was not talking about her financial savings account down at the local bank. No, she was talking about a far more important investment – the ones we make when we study God’s word and draw near to him. This Bible teacher had spent years studying and teaching God’s word so when she hit her earthly rock bottom she had an immense deposit of knowledge, specifically of a God who loves and offers hope far beyond our circumstances. And this is the kind of deposit made possible through years of studying and knowing his character, his promises, his word.

We will all face times where we need to draw on this investment. Times when we find ourselves vulnerable, hurt, whittled down, and spent. Time when need to make a withdrawal from a previous investment. So what can we do to ensure we are making these deposits NOW so they are there THEN? Here are a few thoughts:

– Meet with the Lord regularly

  • Sometimes the idea of a ‘quiet time’ can be confusing or even off-putting. What does this look like? I am fairly sure there’s not one right answer, but I am definitely sure there needs to be an answer. Time spent with God, however it looks, is necessary for making these deposits of lasting value.

– Study God’s Word

  • Get  in God’s word. This is one of the key messages we heard over and over again at the conference. This can be a personal study, but often the personal study is best done personally and then collectively as a group. Join a small group, or a women’s or men’s group. A group of 10–14 people meeting with the explicit purpose of studying God’s word and encouraging one another in living it out is key in building this kind of faith.

– Ensure you are in community

  • Find a church community. The Christian life is not an individual one. God is clear that he wants us to live life in community, precisely a community which is teaching and believing God’s word, because it’s through these relationships that our lives open up to his word, to see our need for it and how to apply it.
  • Invest in key friendships – I have shared about the value I have experienced from forming a prayer triplet. In many ways, this is the same concept as a small group, but due to the smaller size, can often be more intimate. In my life, these women have been key in helping me make lasting deposits. It is crucial that we have people in our lives who gently point us back to the main thing when we are so tempted to wander.

We live in a culture that loves instant gratification. We want things faster, earlier, sooner, quicker. But building up this kind of account doesn’t come instantaneously. It takes time. Don’t be discouraged if you have tried and failed in the past. Many times the Christian life and its disciplines are a couple of steps forward and then a step back. But we mustn’t be afraid to try again when we find ourselves slipping back, because these deposits are worth fighting for.

Before she died three years ago, Charles’s mom told him, “I’ll see you on the other side of the Jordan.” This imagery points to the hope she had in the resurrection, believing that death does not have the final say, words that propelled her until her last breath. Much like Jen Wilkin’s teacher, she had spent years making deposits in her savings account, and those things were there when she needed them. My prayer is that I am faithful in making deposits in a bank account that has eternal value, and that the account is immense and full, because one thing is certain – there will be a time when I need it.

* You can hear Jen Wilkin for yourself at The Crossing’s Women Conference scheduled for October 23rd and 24th, 2015. After hearing her this past weekend, I can assure you, it will be time well spent. You can sign-up here.

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