Obedience. Not a word us Americans like. I know that I was a very rebellious teenager, and much of that has followed me into my adult years. I almost enjoy going against the grain. Sometimes. I don’t do it just to be different. I am made with every particle in my body to question why things are done a certain way. Especially if it’s not Biblical and just a bunch of religiosity. I have learned over my 40 years to respect authority and to question carefully. I have also learned how God blesses us when we live a life of obedience according to His Word. Not like: “I did my task to be obedient, God, so now what will you do for me?” But more like: “I want to learn the Bible so I can live a life in obedience to God and please my Father because I love him!”. There definitely is a difference and He wants to give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4).
Now we all know that Pastors don’t enter into that vocation for the money. Well, unless you are a television evangelist, but we won’t go there. I was on the verge of a six-figure income when I changed careers. I knew I was going to take a pay cut not only in half, but in a third. But God got a hold of my heart so strong that I just wanted to do His will. I have taken so many leaps of faith in becoming a Pastor and doing His work that I don’t think I am even walking on the ground anymore. Still leaping. Always leaping. Constantly in leaping mode.
Even though a successful Financial Planner told that I was crazy for making the switch (along with most of the world) we dove into doing God’s will. I tell you truthfully that we have never been so stable financially in our lives than living on that third Pastoral income. Want to hear something else that is almost hilarious? My second pastoral position paid half of that third! And we still lived comfortably! Now I am not saying I have a maid and a chef and a driver waiting outside in a limo. But when a check comes in the mail unexpectedly like what happened early in my career in just the right amount to cover the vacation that the family has been yearning for, now that’s pretty sweet! Here is another example of His blessings:
1/2/13 Journal Entry:
“As I write this, I can smell our Christmas tree. It smells as fresh as if we just cut it today. This year Christmas was amazingly calm and full of peace. God provided a bonus at work that covered the presents and our family was extra blessed! Bills are paid off and the car is paid off. Both vehicles are ok for a while with no services needed. There is so much to be thankful for.”
I believe the reasons that finances have been smooth overall for us has been 1. We Tithe (give 10%) of our income to God, 2. We strive to live a life of obedience, and 3. We give graciously. I also know that some people do all three and still struggle with making ends meet. I am praying for you right now so as you read this, God will bless you either with a portion from Him that is enough to pay what you need, or answers to what He may be teaching you during this trial (or both! Praise God!).