Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Maybe it isn't a raise that we need most.

"He who has God and everything has no more than he who has God alone." 
-C.S. Lewis

Over the past year, my husband has had two very wonderful job possibilities on the table, including one from a major international company, yet both fell through at the last minute. We had tried with both opportunities to not get our hopes up, but as things progressed positively, it was hard not to... especially with a great pay raise for similar job responsibilities.

We thought how wonderful it would be to pay off some of our debt in student loans from seminary and medical expenses, and have the ability to give more! Each time, we have been so bummed when the door was suddenly shut and we found ourselves still "waiting in the hallway." 

As we had one of these doors shut yesterday, disappointment flooded over me. To add to the situation, I also just got the bill for a recent medical concern that was a lot more than I had expected and only increased our medical debt. As many of you know, it's not always easy living on a tight budget and making tough financial sacrifices each month. 

But then I thought, in a moment of grace, maybe God has a purpose for all this disappointment (of course He does, but how easy it is for us to lose perspective in the midst of life). I opened my Bible to Luke 5:

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
Here, we see the calling of the first disciples. They had caught nothing the night before, but as soon as Jesus came on board and they followed his instructions, their boats were so full of fish that they started to sink. I began to consider that maybe it wasn't a raise that would solve our financial situation. If he chooses, God is able to fill our boats with wealth at one command. But, what the disciples did next really challenged me:

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
They left everything. Jesus had just blessed them abundantly in material wealth, yet they saw his power and divinity, saw their sinfulness, repented, and left it all behind to follow him. Jesus isn't as concerned about our material wealth as he is with the condition of our heart and our love for him over money. Maybe it isn't a raise that our family needs most. True wealth and contentment is found in Christ, and he continues to provide for us as we trust in Him.

We are so blessed, even in our current situation, and have been given so much compared to many people around the world. We have daily bread (well, going gluten-free this month, we have our daily rice, meat, and produce), a good, steady job in a rough economy, our health, a loving family and church family worldwide, and many nice possessions.

Lord, help us to give generously and sacrificially with what we have now, be content in You, and help us to trust you.

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