Barbies, God, and Money

Barbie Doll Museum at BloomingdalesIn many ways I was a pretty normal little girl.  I loved horses more than just about anything, but I also went through a Barbie phase.  I had a few of those impossibly perfect dolls.  They had a few changes of clothes and other accessories.  I was pretty into them even though their legs popped off every time I tried to make them ride my toy horses.

I remember one January when many of my friends at school were also into Barbies.  They would bring them to school, play with them, and swap clothes and accessories.  I didn’t really join in.

It wasn’t so much that I didn’t want to join them.  It was more that I knew I had been given these toys.  They were mine.  Sure I would share them in play, but they were going home with me at the end of the day.

At that point I didn’t really think about all the hours my parents worked or the things they gave up so I could have my toys.  Instead I reasoned they were gifts from God and I needed to be responsible with them.  If God wanted me to have the outfit someone wanted to exchange for one of my Barbie’s ensembles, he would have given it to me.

(This where I might not have been so normal.)

Looking back on it, I’m sure this was my 9 year old version of stewardship.  I had the idea I needed to take care of what God gave me.  He didn’t give me the other stuff; I didn’t need it.

My life has gotten a bit more crowded and complicated since 4th grade, but I think I generally live by that principle.  Generally.  Of course I walk through stores and think, “Oh that would be lovely to have,” or “I think that would look good on me.”  I’m not immune from wanting, but I am generally disciplined enough to tell myself, “No.”

The “No” doesn’t come as easily when I see things for my family or other people I love and want to bless with a gift, but I know a few things.  The number of presents under the tree does not equal my love for someone.  My funds are limited.  Stewardship didn’t end in 4th grade.  My money is on loan from God.

God’s work is going on all over the world.  Much of that work—be it in my town or somewhere else in the world–is underfunded.  I can’t participate in it all, but I can join in a few places.  I believe I have a responsibility to financially participate in what God is doing.

In some ways it’s more difficult at Christmas.  I have this money that has been entrusted to me and I count on using part of it to buy things for those I love.  I want to use it to take advantage of great sales and stock up on things I’ll need throughout 2011.  Sadly, using it to help God’s work thrive isn’t always my first thought as I wish it was.

I definitely use my time and talents to serve him.  This isn’t an issue for me.  It’s when I need to honor him with my treasure that it gets a little sticky.  This year I’ve made some conscious choices not to go overboard so I can give more treasure at the end of the year.

What about you?  How are you honoring God at the end of this year?

If you’re not sure where some of your treasure could be put to good use outside of your local church, I have a suggestion.  (Gulp).  I’m part of a ministry that depends on people being good stewards of their time, talent, and treasure.  If you would like to contribute your treasure to WorldVenture and specifically my account, here are some ways you can do it.

1. Send a check or money order to WorldVenture, 1501 W. Mineral Ave., Littleton, CO 80122.  If you want your gift put towards my ministry, please include a note that says it’s for the ministry of Sheryl O’Bryan.  My account number is 952.

2. You can go to WorldVenture’s website (in case you want to look around some) and the Give Now page.  Once you’re on the Give Now page, go to the first drop down menu—it has missionary in the box before you click on anything—and look for my name.  The rest is pretty self-explanatory.

If you’re making a special end of the year gift, you can write a note in the memo . . . or not.  If you think you’d like to make this ministry to Third Culture Kids and their families a regular part of your giving throughout the year (monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, annually) please say that in the memo.  This lets me know how to plan for the year.

As far as I can figure out right now, I’m lacking about $875 each month in committed support.  It seems like a pretty big number, but I know in God’s economy there are much bigger ones.  If you want to be part of my team, I’d treasure your participation.

photo courtesy of Aloha Orangeneko

10 responses to “Barbies, God, and Money”

  1. I love your heart and your love for buying and gift giving. You truly have a talent for it, too : ) Praying God provides in abundance for your needs in every way. Love from here to there.

  2. Thanks, Tirzah! You have a bit of a flair for it, too. 🙂 I know God will meet my needs. I’m just not sure who he will use to do that. Love to you and the Sunshine State.

  3. Oh, that everyone could see the importance of being a good steward. It takes discipline from the Lord. I find that there are some things I steward well, and other things not so well. Some things I give freely; others I am stingy with. Praying the Lord will keep working with me in 2011 to be a better steward. Thanks for sharing here.

  4. Lisa, it’s so nice to hear that I’m not the only one who struggles with this in different areas. You’re so right, in some places it’s easy. In others, not so much. I, too, hope 2011 will lead to more balance. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. You know, I’d never thought much about stewardship until this year. I did try to be responsible with my money, but the reasons why never occured to me- but now this is the third time (I also read a book and heard a sermon) about money being God’s and being careful with it. I hope I will actually apply it to my life.

  6. Allie, it sounds like God wants you to do some thinking about stewardship! I’m glad I could help with the process. 🙂 Merry, Merry Christmas!

  7. Sheryl, you are one of the most generous people I know. You are generous with your time and your words and your talents and your friendship. You are an example of living a generous life. I am thankful to be the recipient of your generous nature and friendship. I pray that you will be full funded so that you might focus on the wonderful work you do for the TCKs and their families, as I know the support raising is a necessary yet not loved part of what you have to do. Merry Christmas, Sheryl! Much love to you and your family!

  8. Sara, thank you. Thanks for noticing what I feel like isn’t very much. Thanks for your friendship and encouragement!

    Happy Boxing Day to you and your family! See you in a few weeks!!! 🙂

  9. You’ve blessed us with thoughts on a topic that is important to reflect on during this season and always. What a wonderful example you are to us. Thank you for pouring this out in the jam this week. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas unwrapping the joy that is yours in Him! You are so special and loved. Thank you for being a part of the jam this year — and blessing me with your words. Merry Christmas, Sheryl!

  10. You’re welcome, Bonnie. It wasn’t what I was chomping at the bit to write, but I knew it needed to be written.

    Christmas was pretty wonderful! I hope yours was, too. I’m looking forward to the Jam in the new year

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