One of the hardest lessons that I have learned about life is that you can try to genuinely be as noble, caring, and loving as possible and yet your efforts may not always find a way to be expressed as they should. There always seems to be a scarcity when it comes to doing what is good for others who are in need. This is reflected in the modern political discussions online where people will say we don’t have enough money to help immigrants. Sometimes the resources aren’t available because people object to making the resources available to anyone except me and my own.
Having been a pastor and worked with budgets, I am also aware of how plenty of good ideas can be available but there really isn’t just enough to go around. Similarly, I remember a time when I was the volunteer volleyball commissioner at school (it wasn’t as glorious as the title implies) and I had requested a school official to see if there would be money to throw a party at the end of the season for all the people who gave their time. It was met with a positive response, saying they would see if they could find the money for it. Sometimes good ideas can’t get funded because resources are diverted to other causes.
The reality of the ministry of the Church in this capitalist world is that money sometimes feels like a necessary resource to do the good things we wish we could. But as with all resources, there are other people and causes wanting a piece of the pie. Sometimes there are good reasons, and sometimes there are bad reasons. But as Christians, our first call is to faithfulness before it is a call to productivity, surplus, or success. Spiritual formation occurs when our hearts are dedicated towards the truly life giving and peace forming desires that God has made known in Jesus Christ and helps us to realize by the leading of the Spirit. The things we long to see for may not be able to come to fruition when we want them to, but God forms our hearts in our willing what He wills, even when the ability is lacking. Then, maybe one day, we will be formed in our hearts such that when the opportunity and the resources come, we will be able to take it. In fact, there is something deeply formative about longing for what is pure but what you are unable to have; if you accept the limitations with patience, it can form you to be the type of person to receive what it is you have dreamed of, without being majorly tempted to diverted by turning instruments of doing good into idols.