Success =/= Wealth


At the beginning of the year, we were hit with some startling news.  In the simplest explanation, my husband would either need to transfer to a new location or accept a layoff package.  We were given five days to research available positions in other areas and create a short list of places we’d be willing to transfer to.  Five days.  If it was just my husband and I, there were a lot more options available.  However, we had three children to consider and that narrowed the scope greatly. 

Having several friends and family members who also work for the same company, it wasn’t long before word got out and phone calls were being made.  We really didn’t talk much about it publicly, because the truth was we didn’t have much information and we didn’t have a lot of time to make decisions.  We needed to pull close as a family and talk about the options and really not allow the opinions of others to influence us.  Sometimes, you just have to keep it close and quiet. 

As we went through the list, there was nothing local that paid close to what we would need.  We were going to have to choose between moving or losing his job.  As a family, we recognized job security trumped our preference to stay in our home.  We embraced the move as an adventure and came to some agreements on the details.  We had accepted that if God was going to move us, we were ready to pick up our mat and go.

If you have been friends with me long enough, you will know that I firmly believe that some moments are just tests in obedience and that the Lord could still provide a ram in the bush.  When Abraham was asked by the Lord to sacrifice his only son, Abraham prepared to do as the Lord commanded, and at the last minute the Lord sent a ram to Abraham.  Abraham’s obedience was honored and his son was saved.  We walked in trust that the Lord was going to lead us to where ever we were meant to be.  At the last minute, the Lord brought us a ram in the bush.  A position that was not originally on the list of available locations popped up and by nothing short of a miracle he was placed there.  We wouldn’t have to move.  And, in fact, in some ways our life has improved by the change.

The time it took for the ram to show up, seemed like forever.  We had months between where we needed to prepare.  We knew that he would move up ahead of us, and we’d follow after school was out for summer.  We knew there would be travel back and forth to help settle him into a temporary place, searching for a home for us when the time came, and of course visiting each other between.  We also knew that we’d have to prepare our home for sale.  In the time of waiting, we began purging our home of the unnecessary things.  We couldn’t make commitments to invitations.  Everything was in limbo.

A friend called, her husband works for the same company, and she was so sad to hear about our situation. I’ll be honest I was sad too.  After so many years in the company, after so many years in this home, we actually thought we were safe and rooted.  We thought we were beyond the transfers that plagued our early years of marriage.  At this point, my friend wanted to know if we had other options should my husband decide to accept the lay off package.  I explained that it wasn’t financially possible.  Nothing available in our area could pay him what he was currently making, and I certainly couldn’t carry the weight of the finances.

That surprised her.  She had considered my ministry work successful and assumed that I was making a decent income.  I had to burst her bubble and explain that I made zero income.  I would have to get a job and I’d make no where near what we would need, compared to my husband who has 15 years in a company that still has a pension plan.  It wasn’t even comparing apples to oranges, but rather tomatoes to oranges. 

My friend, Jay Sharpe (author of the Chicken Lyrics and Pocket Book of Gratitude), once said “there are many kinds of rich”.  Readers, friends, let me assure you that the majority of the people you know working in ministry are fruitfully rich even if they don’t make a dime of pay.  There are some who do pull a wage, but it’s usually nothing to write home about.  Being successful, even the top of our field, isn’t defined by our pay scale.

We write because we love to write, we feel compelled to write, the Lord puts it on our heart.

We speak, because He has given us an audience to speak His words to.

We create, because it is in our DNA… how we were knitted in the womb… to express ourselves.

We serve, because we are called to serve others above ourselves… lights in the dark world. 

We share the Gospel, because we are commissioned to do so.  It is our calling, our privilege.

We do so not for the rewards we will see here on earth, but rather our treasures that are stored in Heaven.  Even there our treasures will not always be defined by gold and silver.  As Jay said, there are many ways to be rich.

I am rich because of the people I am serving, and those I am serving with.  I am rich, because each day is a new opportunity to make Kingdom impacts on the world.  I am rich, because I have family, friends, neighbors, and community.

I am rich.

Even when my pockets are empty.

Even when the fridge is bare.

Even when time seems to be running out.

Even when I have been called to stillness.

Even when illness robs me of my strength.

Even when I feel lost and confused.

I am rich, because I am the daughter of the King.  I am rich, because of the ransom that was paid for me by Christ.  I am rich, because I do not measure my wealth by dollars and cents.

There are different kinds of rich.

Jay Sharpe will be speaking at the LeadHer Conference in Hobe Sound, FL (Oct 6 2018)

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