Living Within Means
by Edmond Ng
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I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. (Philippians 4:12 NAS)I used to work as a helpdesk support engineer for a large software corporation that paid me a tidy sum each month. The remuneration per month was enough to support my family, spend on personal and family indulgence, and still be able to save some money.
A day came, however, when the corporation announced it would be moving its helpdesk operation to another country, so I began to look for another job and by God's grace found one that paid even higher, but with added responsibilities as a project manager. After a year into the job, I had to quit because I was totally stressed out working under a 24/7 environment.
While still serving notice for my resignation, I fell ill and underwent a surgery for appendicitis. During the three weeks of leave, my perspective of life changed completely as I spend more time with the Lord. I realized then how weak and frail human life could be and learned dependency, that is, dependency on God to live on, and dependency on others to take care of me. That period of solitude was God's way of preparing me to face something bigger.
I soon started work at another company as a technical consultant. After six months, however, I was informed that my service was no longer required because there was not enough business in the regional countries I was serving in. That was the beginning of difficult times ahead for me and my family.
During that year, the technology industry slumbered and did not bounce back until some five years later. Staff hiring as a result froze. I worked hard to look for alternative jobs but found none during the five years of waiting, so I took up freelance work as a technical consultant and writer. These occasional work assignments however did not provide sufficiently to sustain my small family, so I had to dig into my savings. Amidst all of these, I was also pursuing my part-time degree course, which fee also took up a substantial amount of my savings.
Throughout the years of waiting, I sought the Lord for sustenance, and God never failed to provide sufficiently. Every time when there were some expenses or a necessity I had to pay, the Lord would grant me a work assignment that sufficiently covered for that time of need. Nearing the end of my savings, I looked to the Lord and sought Him earnestly, knowing in my heart that God will never fail to provide for me and my family.
I asked of the Lord specifically to grant me a job that would be according to His will, using the talent He has given me in writing, yet without wasting my years of work experience in the technology industry. Within the next month after I requested of the Lord, He answered my prayer and gave me a job as a technical writer in the technology industry, fulfilling my desire to write, yet without sacrificing my past experience.
Today, although I no longer can afford to spend on personal or family indulgence because I am now receiving only half as much as I used to receive as a project manager, my family and I are living each day happily and sufficiently by the grace of God.
Like me, some of us may now be experiencing a change in our financial status. Each of us however need not fear for our future as to what we shall eat or drink or wear (Matthew 6:25-33). Just as the Lord has taken care of me and my family, He will also take care of those who seek Him and ask for His providence. Let us therefore learn to live within our means in any and every circumstance that we may understand the secret of being filled as well as living in sufficiency (Philippians 4:12).
Thank You, dear Lord, for always being there for us. You alone O Lord is our sufficiency. You have the power to perform awesome acts and we will eagerly utter Your abundant goodness to the world and shout joyfully of Your righteousness. You are gracious and merciful Lord, slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. You are always good to all who trust in You and Your mercies are over all Your works. Blessed be Your name Lord forever and ever. Amen.
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This is a devotion that so many of us can relate to in these difficult times. The verses you chose enhanced your message. I know personally, every time we were worried about how we were going to provide food and medicine, God came through, often in a way we never would have thought of. He is an awesome God.