All in favor of practicality say aye! When most people make a purchase, they try to make sure the receipt side (perceived value) balances out the expense side (cost). This is a good formula for determining value. Yet there are some who buy things just for the sake of the expense side’s exclusivity. Value is overlooked for the sake of vanity. Practicality is thrown out in favor of extravagance. This is the justification for purchasing a $50,000 crocodile-skin umbrella, gold-and-diamond earbuds for $5,175, a crystal Ergoripado vacuum cleaner for $18,993, a leather, gold, and silver Monopoly set for $7,570, or a diamond-studded Nesmuk kitchen knife for $39,600.

Any of these items would qualify as frivolous expenses in my pocketbook. However, there are no frivolous experiences in the ledger of life. Often as we analyze the trials of life, the expense side appears great. It is difficult to see beyond the overwhelming cost of pain, hardships, or problems we encounter in our journey. However, when we examine the receipt side of life’s challenges later, we discover it has not merely balanced out, but it has infinitely exceeded the expense side in value. A little pain has produced great strength. Great trials have yielded greater patience and faith. Small insults have made for thicker skin and a stronger backbone. God designs no “throwaway” experiences in the lives of His children. It is our responsibility to trust Him to use every experience for our good and His glory.

Perhaps you have experienced conflict with a close friend or family member. If you concentrate upon the expense side, you will only feel more disappointed. This viewpoint cannot give you a better understanding of your situation — it only causes bitterness and discontentment. Once you learn to see the situation as part of God’s perfect plan for your life, you will trust God to balance His ledger in His time.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.