I recently lost my debit card; I am pretty sure I used an ATM and forgot to retrieve it at the end of the transaction. I discovered the loss when I went to use it the next day and realized it was not in my wallet (thankfully, I was with my wife and she was willing to pay for our lunch). I immediately called the bank, requesting that the card be cancelled and another one issued, which they were more than happy to do…in as little as three to five business days. True to that representative’s word, 5 business days later, the new card arrived, and all was right with the world again. Sort of.
Those intervening nine days without a debit card showed me two things about myself: 1) I have a bunch of automatic payments linked to my bank card, many of which already emailed me and requested updated information; and 2) I rarely use or carry cash, having become fully reliant upon that little chip on a sheet of plastic for almost every purchase I make. I had to think ahead, considering each day what needed to be paid and what resources did I need to pay it. How will I pay for the groceries? Will Netflix© continue to stream through our devices? These are the kinds of thoughts that were fresh in my mind. But then, with the arrival of a plain envelope with a return address of an unknown post office box, everything was back to normal.
How did this happen? How did I become so dependent on things (as this experience has revealed that I have difficulty when I am without the ‘necessity’ of my debit card, but also extends to things like my eye glasses and my cell phone)? Each morning, I get up and make sure I have these items with me before I engage with the world. All this has gotten me wrestling with another related question: Do I give God as much consideration, as I begin my day, that I give my ‘necessities’?
In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3
What benefit is there in an ability to pay if one’s purchases are worthless? What benefit is there in having clear vision if what one sees is not edifying? What benefit is there in instant access to everyone and everything if the portal is used to entertain one’s prurient interests? What good is there in engaging with the world if one has not first had an engagement with God?
All these questions have distilled into one thought: the first (and perhaps only) thing I need to be a productive and effective member of society is God. I am able to live without a debit card or a cell phone. I am able to exist without eye glasses or a vehicle. I cannot (and must not) survive without God going with me. To neglect a few moments each morning with Him, to refuse to wait expectantly for His direction, would be as foolish as walking away from an ATM as it dings to remind you that your card is still in the machine. And who would ever do that?