401Ks, Playing it Safe, and Heading into the Unknown
We drove onto the farm and horses came trotting over to the fence to welcome us–bringing Nostalgia with them. I had visited the Morris’ farm dozens of times since I was in middle school. The crunching sound from the gravel road under the tires brought long-awaited sigh of relief. I could relax. We had made it. I couldn’t help but to look back on the last six months of doubt and wonder if we had come ‘for such a time as this’.
Michael moved home from Germany last fall with a life-shaping decision to make. Would he continue pursuing ministry as his job or would he get a desk job? He is fluent in German. He has an International Studies major. Plenty of leadership and experience on his résumé to land him a high paying job with great benefits. But he also has these other unique characteristics about him. He listens to God’s voice. His heart is sensitive to the suffering and needs of others. He has a heart to make Jesus known among high school students. He has a desire to follow where God leads.
The simple fact that people who make six figures per year can serve God just as well as those in ministry made the decision difficult.
Michael listened intently as he applied for all kinds of jobs. After more than six months of prayer, God spoke clearly. Michael needed to get his Masters of Divinity and take a ministry job with West End Church. (note: he was working the entire 6 months…).
There were and still are all kinds of ‘what if’ questions. What if Michael can’t learn Greek? What if he can’t raise the money he needs to go on staff with the church? What if he misses his chance to start his career in the business world? What if he loses his German and can’t get it back to land a job with a high-paying company? What if he ends up like a pastor we know who lost his job in his fifties because of church funding and can’t find another one?
And sometimes my mind gets really out of control and I start to ask questions like, “What if we can’t give our kids a good education? What if we can’t have all the children we want because of $?”
A few weeks ago I asked the question, What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?. When God is calling you into unknown territory, it’s hard not to listen to the wisdom of the world about 401Ks, savings, climbing the corporate ladder, stability…among others. And there is nothing wrong with 401Ks, climbing the ladder, and stability. God calls us to be wise with money. I still struggle knowing if we’ve made the right decision. Michael and I are investing a lot of time and money into a masters and we still only know the first step in front of us: work at West End church. I wish we knew why he needs to go to seminary and the exact steps of what will happen next. But we are called to take each step in faith that God will speak when it is time. On His watch, not ours.
I still don’t have all the answers to my ‘what if’ questions. But this weekend, Michael shared Gospel with a group of 25 high school students at “Camp Rockober”. And sitting in the back listening to his three talks, reminded me that God does have a plan. He promises to provide for our every need. He has called us on an adventure into uncharted territory where we can’t plan the future. But something about the newness of each day brings trust in a holy God who promises that on his side there is no such thing as failures. He is a good Dad.
“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8
What unknown place is God asking you to step into? Is failure an option?
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