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From The Garden Bench - Expense

words by David Hollows

From the Garden Bench – Expense

Have you noticed that there appears to be a huge amount of money around the world at the moment?

Space is certainly the place to be and invest your money, if this interests you. For example, you may be one of the 600 people who have already paid a deposit towards the total cost of £180,000 to fly with Richard Branson and his Virgin Galactic company on the Unity space rocket to the edge where our space meets the universe at a height of 53 miles.

Or, you may have participated in the auction for the 4th seat available on the 11 minutes flight to the edge of our space organised by Jeff Bezos and his company, Blue Origin. The auction raised £28 million for charity. If this is not for you, then perhaps you may be interested in paying $42 million to fly on the Elon Musk’s Starship as part of his SpaceX plans to fly to the moon, Mars and beyond.

These are eye-watering expenses but there is a queue for you to join, should you wish to do so and go there.

Alternatively, the quiet life may be more for you as you consider your interests and how to invest your money.

For example, the recent auction of the 1856 British Guyana magenta stamp provided someone with an expense of £6.2 million for this very rare item. Or you may have participated in the bidding for the purchase of the 1986 Super Marion Bros copy of this game which eventually was an expense of $660,000 to an unknown bidder in the world.

Again, breath-taking expenses and just 5 examples of how the very wealthy of our world are using their monies.

However, none of these compare with the huge expenses incurred by governments around the world in order to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. Not all that long ago, a million pounds was a fortune then the lotteries around the world hit the scene and multi-millionaires were suddenly created. Today, a billion pounds is cited on the news and it does not seem a great deal of an expense once people start to talk in terms of trillions.

Where will it end? What is the next level of expense after trillion? All suggestions on a postcard, please.

Photo by Bill Jellen via Unsplash

Expense is determined by your personal situation and local circumstance. For example, the damage caused to lives and infrastructure by the recent floods in Germany, Belgium and China or the extreme heat on the west coast of America and in Canada will lead to an expense beyond our imaginations as people rebuild their lives. There is the increasing number of people in the United Kingdom awaiting knee or hip replacements or other forms of treatment for whom the expense of private treatment is not possible and the expense to the NHS will be little in comparison to the expense of those many months, if not years, of waiting to have quality of life restored.

Expense is not always measured in monetary forms.

We may be living much longer than previous generations but every day remains a day of blessings to be received and given when we wake in a morning and take breath. Time is an important expense especially if you have daily life challenges which affect the way you are able to spend your time. Many of us have the choice of how we spend our time, others do not.

For many of you, expense is measured in your family; your children and your grandchildren and your circle of friends. This kind of expense, whereby you have invested physical as well as emotional time and energies in these relationships, is greater and more valuable than the most expensive diamond in the world, the Koh-I-Noor found in India in the fourteenth century (by the way, the second most expensive diamond in the world is the Cullinan diamond valued at up to $2 billion).

Expense can also be measured in time. For example, there has been the recent good news story of the Chinese parents who were restored to their son who had been taken by human traffickers from outside his door at the age of 2. The father spent years searching for the lost son and this year all three were reunited after more than 20 years apart. Such is the expense of love and family bonds.

For some of you, your valued expense may be in the way you use your leisure time; the sports you play or other interests.

If you would like to complete a very quick and easy form of self-analysis about expense, the next time you renew your home insurance policy, check out the section where you may declare for insurance purpose individual items of more than £5,000.

The Bible contains several examples of where expense is a key issue to a particular story.

Joseph’s troubles come to a head when his father presents him with the multi-coloured and therefore expensive coat (Genesis chapter 37).

Daniel could have been in serious trouble when he refused to eat royal court food but in the end paid the expense of refusing to renounce his habit of daily and regular prayer (Daniel chapter 1).

The description of the Temple in Jerusalem built be Solomon not only reveals the expense of the building itself but is a reflection of the expense of the life-style led by Solomon and many in Israel at the time (1 Chronicles chapter 28).

Esther is introduced to a very expensive life-style (Esther chapter 2) whereas Hannah willingly pays the expense of giving her son, Samuel, to God as she had promised to do when God heard her request for a child (1 Samuel chapter 1).

In the New Testament, there is the story of the woman who poured the expensive oil over the head and feet of Jesus(John chapter 11) and there is the expense of the wedding at Cana at which Jesus performed His first miracle (John chapter 2).

Jesus tells the story of the expense incurred by the father at the return of the Prodigal Son who received a gold ring for his finger, sandals for his feet, a cloak for his body and the fatted calf at the feast. All these are symbols of restoration but the story itself is of the expense this father is willing to pay to have his son restored. (Luke chapter 15) Possibly the most famous example of expense is that of God allowing Jesus to leave eternity and come to earth as a human being, to live our lives and show us how to live before His death on the cross and His resurrection, all for us. (Philippians chapter 2)

Our history of the past two thousand years contains (and still does so) the stories of those who paid the expense to be faithful to Jesus and the Good News He offers concerning God and our relationship with Him. Perhaps, this is a time for you to reflect upon the expense God has invested in your life and your response to this expense.

The following prayer may be helpful to you;

O Lord our God, in whom we live and move and have our being, open our eyes that we may see your presence with us and draw our hearts to you with through the power of your love. Teach us to be anxious about nothing and help us to trust everything to you. Take from us all doubt and fear and remind us daily that all things are possible with you. Through Jesus, your Son and our Redeemer. Amen.

Signing off; your local Lay worker, David Hollows

Photo by Vitor Paladini via Unsplash

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