Sinead McLeod shares a thought and prayer for the month of January
The permanence of time passing is especially palpable on the 31 December, as the synonymous countdown to midnight concludes with Big Ben’s chimes clanking in a new year. Cheers and joy, connectedness and excitement, hope and hopefully happiness, bring a sense of abundance. This is the ‘glass half full’ version.
Yet, as the technological age explodes, more and more of our lives are in the hands of artificial intelligence. There are many benefits within this growing technology: support with solving complex problems in health, treating cancer, discovering vaccines and reaching net zero. However, the subtlety of its pervasiveness is etched with tell-tell signs that are becoming harder to ignore. Simply put, artificial intelligence has made spending much easier: click, click, tap. Debts are rising at an alarming rate. People in the UK owed £1,846.5 billion at the end of August 2023. This is an increase of £35.1 billion from £1,811.4 billion at the end of August 2022. When numbers are so staggeringly high, it’s hard to grasp their impact.
The cost-of-living crisis has exacerbated the increase of people living with a negative budget. Often, essential expenses are not covered by monthly income, making debt an inevitable reality. Social media compounds the problem, as it has become an advertisers’ oasis – a playground for marketing and sales departments that offer a constant flow of products. Impossible aspiration is actively encouraged.
New Year is a time to slow down and take stock – money management and squaring off debts, whether financial or spiritual, is paramount. God wants us to be happy and content with what we have. 1 Timothy 6:6-8 tells us: “true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content” (NLT).
Contentedness strengthens me when the clarity of my financial situation rules the day. The acronym GOD, good orderly direction, helps me. Our finances deserve our attention. By building boundaries around spending, we may avoid debt by following the basic rule: spend less than you earn. By seeking comfort and guidance from God, and being of service, we will live a more abundant life, which is priceless. It’s not how much you spend that gives you worth; it’s how much of your life is entrusted to God.
may the echoes of your
eternal wisdom resonate in our ever-changing world.
Lord, it is in you that
we seek guidance,
Please help us to build healthy boundaries around spending.
Patient Father, may your timeless presence be stronger than the empty promises of consumerism.
Please help us to live gracefully within our means.
Lord, guide us toward contentedness.
Holy Spirit, may your reassuring love rest upon
us at the waking dawn,
So each day is a testament
to our growing faith and
sense of gratitude,
Led by your love and generosity.
In you, for you and with you,
In everlasting faith.