If you know nothing about the Masters tournament, allow me to give you a brief (and informal) introduction to it --
The Masters tournament is considered one of the most prestigious golf tournaments around the world. I heard on TV last week that the Masters green jacket awarded to the winner is considered one of the most coveted clothing items in the world of sports. It takes place every year in Augusta, GA at the golf course located only half a mile from our home. Needless to say, things get *a bit* crazy around here this time of year.
And just to give you an idea of the kind of money that flows around here. Our middle class home (3 bedroom/1.5 bathroom) has been rented out every year to "the patrons" for an average of $3,000 for ONE week.
Our home is one of the lowest paying homes. Depending on the size and location of the house, many Augusta residents rent out their homes for tens of thousands of dollars for the week (!!!!!).
But this year we did not rent our home. After four years in a row of renting out our house, we decided to take the year off.
Did we not need the money? Actually, yes, we did need the money. We are a one-income family, and the husband changed jobs six months ago, taking a pay cut while at it. Top that with the fact that we just purchased a new and larger home.
Could we use an extra $3,000? You betcha!
So why didn't we?
Well, the easiest answer to this is that we are about to move homes (remember I said we just bought a new house?), and leading up to Masters week, there was a chance that I would have to be in Mexico during that week (which did not end up happening, btw, but still...).
But there is more to the story. You see, a funny thing happens inside of me every year at around Masters week -- I become very greedy. I begin to compare myself and how much my house is rented for compared to others. I become angry and resentful towards people who get more money for their house. People who rent out for less days, or have a "lesser home" than mine, yet get "a better deal."
Do you see where this is going?
These are not fun emotions to deal with, especially as I realize that I've been given all that I am in need of...
I'm incredibly ungrateful for it.
I want more, yet this "more" I'm after is not enough.
This hit home last week in a very unique way as I was reading through the account of the healing of Naaman in 2 Kings 5.
The gist of the account is this -- Naaman, the commander of the army of the king of Aram (a foreign country), had leprosy. His wife's slave girl, an Israelite, told her master's wife about the prophet Elisha in Israel who could cure him. Naaman asks the king for permission to leave for Israel to be cured, and the king allows it. Naaman takes with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing (v. 5). He plans on paying Elisha for his services with this. In verse 16, after he is cured from his leprosy, we see Elisha refusing this payment.
Why did he refuse the payment? I'm not sure. Maybe because Naaman was an enemy of Israel. But I'm really not sure.
What we do know is that Elisha's servant Gehazi did not think refusing the payment was the best thing to do. So he hurried after Naaman and asked for a talent of silver and two sets of clothing, a small fraction of what Naaman was offering to pay (v. 22). Gehazi gets the money and the clothes, but is later cursed by Elisha with Naaman's leprosy instead.
My guess is that the talent of silver and the two sets of clothing were worth a lot in those times (just like my Masters money... do you see where this is going?)...
He did not need the money.
And I don't need the money either.
The talent of silver and the two sets of clothing would have been a nice boost, but they did not need it.
The extra $3,000 would have been a nice boost for us as well, but we did not need it.
Remember in 1 Kings 17:2-6, how the Lord supplied Elijah with water from the brook and food through the ravens? Elisha was Elijah's apprentice, and Gehazi was Elisha's servant. Chances are that Gehazi had heard of Elijah's miraculous provision, and had probably continued to see this provision first hand himself throughout his life.
Point being, neither Elisha nor Gehazi needed the boost. They had been given all that they were in need of.
And similarly, though the $3,000 would have been a nice financial boost for us this year, we did not need it. Even in the mist of being a one-income family and the new house, we have enough! We'd love more, I'm not going to lie, but we have enough!
There is nothing wrong with renting out our house for Masters every year. We hope to get to do it next year again and for the rest of our lives. I'd love to get to do extra things with that money in the future. But not this year. This year we took the year off. We tucked away the greed and resentment that inevitably always rises up this time of year, and watched the Lord continue to provide for us.
I don't want to be like Gheazi, and forget about God's continuing provision. I know I have all that I'm in need of, and anything extra is just that... extra :)