Sweet victory, folks. We've had a sweet financial victory. Chloe earned enough "money" at school to "shop" at her class's "store." She got in the van beaming with the satisfaction that comes from accomplishing a goal. She bought the item she's had her sights on for nine weeks. She earned... the frame!
When she saw it, she knew she had to have it. Why? Because she has a picture where she's wearing her red and black cheerleading uniform and standing with bff, Libby. The picture would match perfectly, and from that moment on, the frame had to be hers.
I've known from the beginning the item of her desire. A picture frame? Seriously? Nine weeks of saving to get a red and black picture frame? I can't imagine, but here's another one of those money truths that seems so obvious when you look at a child, but so difficult when we look at each other. It was her money. Her desires.
And she had done the right things- moneywise:
She worked hard earning her salary.
She made a goal for herself.
She took care of her financial responsibilities.
She remained focused on the long term, not letting instant gratification sideswipe her.
She saved enough money.
She bought what she wanted- and could afford.
It's easy for us to spend other people's money for them. We look at their lives and question why that item. We determine what could have been done with it had we had the money. We look, from the outside, and judgementally see waste- rarely stopping to see the heart behind it.
A picture frame? We have dozens of picture frames. We have photo albums. In my mind, it was a misstep on her part to focus on that item. And then I saw her face when she earned it. She was thrilled. It was hers. She insisted that we skype Libby as soon as we got home. I sat in the other room listening.
"Libby," she exclaimed. "I bought you something at school."
"Yes! Let me go get it!"
(returns with frame)
"What do you think?"
"oh cool, Chloe!"
"I have a picture of us to go in it, Libby! The one of us with the magician."
"Great idea, Chloe."
"I got it for you, and for me. To share."
(They talk for a while like 4th grade girls do.)
"Chloe, I need to go. Thanks for the frame. I'm glad we're friends. I love you."
"I love you, too, Libby. Bye."
After she was done, I asked her how Libby liked the frame. "She liked it a lot, Mom. She likes it because I got it. Because we're friends. And we are going to be friends 4ever. Best friends." It made my heart smile. The picture frame that I was so quick (in my mind) to deem wasteful was more than a savings goal. It was Chloe's daily reminder, during these very diffiuclt first nine weeks of school, that she had someone in her corner. A faithful friend who, though thousands of miles away, gave her the strength to deal with the fear and uncertainity of a new country and a new school.
That red and black picture frame isn't a four-pretend-dollar trinket to Chloe. She did not love the frame because she wanted more stuff. She was not buying it because the money was burning a hole in her pocket. Chloe didn't want it because everyone else has one. She wasn't trying to be on the cutting edge. She wanted it because it spoke of Libby.
The Bible tells us that where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Chloe made a purchase because she treasures her sweet friend. Her money followed her heart. That, my fellow adults, is the biblical picture of financial stewardship.