Where’s the Pork?

There is desirable treasure, and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man squanders it. – Proverbs 21:20.

The United States Congress in January passed legislation for “earmarked” projects with many of them appearing wasteful. Iowa is receiving $50 million for developing an indoor rain forest. Florida is receiving $50 million so that a beach resort bridge will continue to be toll-free. $450,000 goes to decipher the genetic structure of rainbow trout and there is a program at the University of Akron that seeks to analyze how Congress makes difficult budget decisions that will receive $500,000. Now we know where some of the “pork” is at.

All of the above appears somewhat wasteful to me but consider how it is viewed by those who lived through the Great Depression. I have heard many stories about how people used everything and conserved vigorously in order to survive during those difficult times. One story I’ve heard many times is about conserving gasoline. In order to conserve gas one man during the depression would turn off the key to the engine when he thought he was close enough to the gas pump for the vehicle to coast the rest of the way. Everything else in his life was lived just as conservatively and not surprisingly, his descendants have reaped large financial benefits from his frugality.

As children of God, everything we have belongs to God. Every material possession, everything we own including our own bodies belongs to God. We are allowed the use of what we have been blessed with but we are only stewards not owners of it. There will someday be an accounting of how we have used and taken care of all that God has placed in our care. The parable of the Talents gives us some perspective about this: “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them (Matthew 25:14-19).”

Where’s the “pork” at in our lives? God not only desires that we waste not what He has placed into our care but that it increases in value and does not diminish. Of course, the value of what God has placed into our hands cannot be measured in monetary value but in eternal value. Are we investing in the Kingdom of God not only with the financial assets available to us but also with all that makes up our lives?

(All that we have has been given to us by God.)

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