In days of yore (BC – Before Children) pay day used to be the adult equivalent of Christmas for my wife (then girlfriend) and I. Designer clothes, loooooooong liquid lunches and the occasional minimum payment off the credit card bill ensured our twenties were a blur of partying and carefree carousing.
Pay day was the highlight of the month. Normally penniless a good week before then I existed primarily on a diet of toast and economy brand cola, counting the days, hours and minutes until my bumper (yeah right) wage landed in the bank account. While never quite desperate enough to queue at the cash machine at midnight it was definitely my first port of call the following morning.
Pay days that fell on a Friday were even more spectacular. A half day was invariably booked off work as the shopkeepers, publicans and bookmakers of Belfast welcomed me and my wallet with open arms. A king for a day I was until reality hit the following morning invariably courtesy of a thumping hangover. Good times. Er….I think.
Fast forward 20 years and I write this blog on the eve of another pay day. Three hours and nine minutes to be exact. 189 minutes. 11,340 seconds. No make that 11,335. But whereas I earn considerably more than I did back then (thanks to an outrageously lucky career path with a smattering of diligence and ability) the anticipation is just not the same.
One of the most fearful moments in any parents day is when the hatchlings arrive home from school, dump the contents of their school bags randomly around the house and then hand you the ‘permission slip’ for the latest school trip, after school activity or charity event. And this month has been no exception.
A summer camp deposit here. A day trip to Scotland there. And as summer holidays approach the diary goes into overdrive with school fetes, cinema trips and touring theatrical groups. Yes the days of partying for us are a distant memory. Nowadays lost weekends have been replaced by a Chinese takeaway and a box set on the sofa. If we are lucky. In between parenting taxi duties.
It’s a small price to pay however. We are blessed with three incredible children. And while they empty our bank accounts on a seemingly daily basis they fill our hearts with joy, love and priceless memories. Be it on the sports field, the stage or in the classroom they give us back infinitely more than they take.
God blessed us with them. Speaking personally I stumbled into fatherhood utterly clueless and unprepared. Undeserving but still blessed by him. Just like he blessed us by sending his Son to earth to cancel out the debt of sin that I was to steadily accumulate two millennia later in every sphere of my life.
So next time my son or daughters comes to the Bank of Dad for yet another handout I won’t mutter as I reach for my wallet. Well maybe mutter a bit less. Instead I’ll thank God for the loving grace he deposits into our lives through our kids on a daily basis. Even as the bank account haemorrhages into their eager hands.
And I’ll think of the greatest handout in history. When Jesus paid the ultimate price and wiped out the debt of sin once and for all. For us. A pay day that doesn’t come once a month for Christians. But every second of every day.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. JOHN 3:16.
Tell me about your pay day memories?
Who are you regularly handing out money to?
How does the debt that Jesus paid impact on your daily life?