Sunday, July 16, 2006

Fighting over Manna

As the buying season goes on, I've begun making a conscious effort to stop and pray before I hit the sales. This is not a legalistic hoop I jump through to assure God's favor on me, but rather a reminder of the fact that He really does provide for us. The stuff is out there...every weekened, like manna (the food God provided for the wandering Isrealites in the wilderness); I must be faithful to go and pick it up. It can be ugly at times...the wrangling over prices, the snatching before someone else can get it, the clutching of "finds" and holding them like a newborn baby so that no-one else can walk off with them...I'm telling you, it can be nasty sometimes...this fighting over manna. (I am ashamed to say that I was once flagrantly guilty of this kind of behavior and in God's truly ironic way, five minutes later I was proudly introduced to the person I had clashed with by one our church members as "Our sweet Pastor's Wife." Color me reformed.)

So I've learned. I try not to yell at my kids or husband to hurry up and let me get going to the sales. I try not to yell at the car in front of me for not moving fast enough. I try not to be too grabby at a sale. I try to be polite to the sellers, especially those at an estate sale. I may ask for a bargain on a big pile of stuff I'm not sure about, but I don't ask for a lower price on anything that I know is going to be a good buy. And I remember that God provides for us in the shape of Majolica plates, chintz trinket boxes, designer clocks and signed glassware. He gives it when we need it, so there is no sense trying to rush ahead and gather too much on a given day. This is our manna....our very "what IS it?"

Yesteray, I planned. I mapped the sales. I drove dutifully to each one, getting a few things. Then, on a whim, I stopped at what looked like a very doudy kind of sale. Didn't even have tables to put things on. A pile of clothes on one side. Tiny trinkets and glassware on the other. "How much for your little doo-dabs?" I asked the man of the sale. "25 cents each. I just want to get rid of stuff." says he. I walked away with a boxful of stuff that turned out to be worth 100 times what I paid for it. This, to me, is God. There are no coincidences. He knows. So I try to maintain the joy of a treasure seeker, and not become a hard-faced business woman. When I stop to talk with the Lord about it, I am reminded of his very goodness to us. I must stop striving and worrying...His provision will be there again in the morning.

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