"what is just and fair"
We've pretty much wrapped up our Christmas shopping ~ which is good, cuz it's nearly Christmas. Now my hubby and I have to do that sort of Christmas "fair and balanced" thing, to make sure we have pretty much the same for both kids. It's not something I ever want to stress over. I've known people who have to make sure they have the exact same number, or spent the exact same amount on each of their kids.
I've never wanted to be that concerned. We just have fun shopping for our kids, and helping them shop for each other, all while paying attention to our overall budget. And then we just make sure it's not too lopsided. Never does work out evenly, though. And my kids would insist it's always me who gets the most :-)
And I thought today, about a few years ago, when my hubby and I bought extra-special gifts for our kids. Extra-special as in "pricey". Their phones. Our daughter had already had one for a few months - an old, cheap one of mine. But when we decided our son needed one too, we decided to get her a new one at the same time.
The thing is, the phones were a little outside our budget. So we decided to pay half for each child. We bought them and wrapped them and when they opened them on Christmas morning, we explained that we needed their help in paying for them. They were thrilled, and agreed.
Our daughter had a steady babysitting job at the time, and had a little money saved up. Not her full share, but some. Our son doesn't really have any money. Our budget is too tight for the kids to get allowances, so he only gets birthday money, and maybe a little something for helping my folks around the house or something.
So, really, we knew that they would have trouble paying us back. Or, that they might not pay us back at all, if it took awhile and they forgot. And we forgot. Which I think is pretty much what happened.
In retrospect, maybe it was unreasonable to think they'd be able to come up with that money. And I think deep down we knew it. It was a bargain, and we made it with them, even though there was a good chance they wouldn't be able to keep up their end of it.
Sound familiar? I hope so, because it's God's arrangement with us. If we are faithful to Him, He will be faithful to us. Except we fail at our part, on a regular basis. He gave us the two great commandments: Love Him, and Love Others. We want to obey. We try to obey. And we fail. Repeatedly.
The good news is that His faithfulness is not based on our faithfulness. He is who He is, and He cannot be less loving, or forgiving or merciful. The beauty is that His faithfulness to us is based on our desire to be in His will, not in our performance. That's important, because along with being loving and forgiving and merciful, He is also just. Which means His faithfulness to others - the ones who don't desire to be in His will, is based on their intentions, too.
We knew our kids would give us the money if they could. And we, not being omniscient, thought maybe they would. But even if they didn't ~ and they didn't ~ we were okay with that. We were acting out of love. He, too, reaches out to us in love.
Failure is okay in His eyes, if it's accompanied by trying, and by a heart given to Him. He's okay with an IOU ~ even one we can never pay.
~ "If we are faithless,
He remains faithful;
He cannot deny Himself" ~
2 Timothy 2:13