I am not saying I am indecisive but I have a difficult time spending gift cards. This is from December of 2005.
I love to read. My parents instilled in their children the joy of words and books and, at least for me, the passion has never subsided. This probably factors into my receiving $60 worth of Borders' gift cards from students and family members. With two additional coupons for 10% and 20% discounts, the value soared to almost $70! Today, December 26, I joined millions and millions of my fellow countrymen in the pursuit of post-Christmas bargains. Television news stories chronicled how the gift card concept has revolutionized the giving season. The givers love them because they involve less time and lessen the possibility of dissatisfaction from the recipient. The recipients love them because they can choose what they want instead of leaving it to guesswork, especially when it comes to clothes. The merchants love them because they have considerably fewer problems with returns. It's a WIN-WIN-WIN situation. The accumulated value of all the gift cards given this holiday- fifteen billion dollars! I would say half the gifts I was blessed with were of the gift card variety. All this brings me back to Borders. It was packed! Slashed prices and a quirk in the calendar- Christmas falling on Sunday which makes Monday a holiday as well- led to a jammed bookstore. The crowds posed no difficulty. My problem, as always, was me. I can never decide how to spend the money. I am terrible at buying gifts for others but I am worse buying them for myself. So many choices! Biographies, histories, fiction and non-fiction, religious works, sports stories- I love them all! And now, Borders has added music CDs and movie DVDs, making it more complicated. I wandered for close to an hour, up one aisle and down another. Trying to add up prices in my head, factoring in discounts and taxes, I am so afraid I will be disappointed with my selections that it takes the fun out of it. Finally, I made it to the cashier with two books, (one on Wilt Chamberlain, the other on Red Auerbach), a Bob Dylan Greatest Hits CD, and a calendar book for 2006. On top of that, I left Borders with $8 plus remaining in credit. Maybe I did OK after all!
In the middle of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is teaching about prayer. The Savior makes an incredibly comforting statement in Matthew 6:8 when he says, "your Father knows what you need before you ask him." I need that reassurance! If you think I struggle with Christmas money, you should see me operate in real life. The implication is that the Lord will take care of me, sometimes in spite of me! Our Father won't obsess over a dime here or a dollar there. Doctor bills and insurance premiums don't faze him. He can handle the unforeseen detours and flat tires on the roads that mark my life. He knows where I am going even when I am not sure. The key is to turn the driving over to him. He expects me to do my part by working and sharing and being a good steward but he knows what I need before I ask him! It's funny but as my faith has grown, I am becoming more inclined to sweat the gift card sort of stuff than the real financial crises that I face, that we all face. The Lord is a good banker- no hidden fees or charges, no expiration dates, no conditional clauses, no 'one day only' deals. I am indecisive- God is not. Thank God! Now, my big dilemma is how to spend those left-over eight bucks. That should cost me at least forty-five minutes!
Applicable quote of the day:
"I'm NOT indecisive. Am I indecisive?"
Jim Scheibel (Mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota)
Steve (I think)
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