My husband and I have supported a church planter in Asia through Gospel for Asia many years now. Part of the benefit is receiving their magazine, full of amazing stories of God’s provision, power and healing. But what I look forward to even more is the founder’s address at the end of the magazine. K. P. Yohannan always challenges me, makes me think, and returns my focus to Jesus. This month’s post about focus is no different. At the end of the article, he writes:
“I remember well when, during the early days of our ministry, someone offered me all the financial assistance in the world if I would give up my calling and commit myself to advance his cause overseas. The thing that helped me walk away from this distraction was when my wife asked me, ‘When the journey comes to an end and you look back, what will you answer? If for the sake of money you compromise your calling and your walk with the Lord, how will you explain this to the people who are following you?'”
What a challenge. What a decision. What would you do? If Bill Gates or Oprah or Steve Jobs approached you with a mind-numbing sum of money to work for any of them, would you do it if it meant walking away from God’s clear calling on your life? How much does economics influence your kingdom decisions?
I ask those questions to myself as I wrestle to eke out a living at writing (and speaking and coaching and creating digital content and blogging and…). I wonder if my pursuit of all these avenues is watering down that which God has called me to do. I wonder how I would respond if someone offered me a boatload of cash to abandon what I perceive to be God’s calling.
Then I think about the journey God has wooed me to. He’s been beckoning the writer in me for decades. For many, many years I wrote unpublished words, laboring in obscurity, wondering if I’d ever have an audience, let alone make ten bucks on my words. My first book didn’t hit the bestseller list. Now on book ten, I still haven’t won any awards, become a bestseller, or achieved fame as a result of my work. I’m glad for that, actually. I would not have liked a Mary who succeeded right out of the gate. She would’ve become proud and unteachable, no doubt.
Still, as bills loom and I peck at the keyboard and wonder how we’ll tackle college tuition, the temptation to give into a large sum of money grows. I’m sad to admit it here on the stark white page of this blog. I wish I could assure you of my piety. But I can assure of my brokenness. And my heart to do what Jesus wants me to do, despite the temptation.
I’m thankful for saints like Brother Yohannan who model what it means to pursue God and His work no matter what. Without distraction. Without external reward. Without worry. It’s folks like this that help me see that an offer of a lot of cash pales in comparison to God’s offering to us His kingdom.
So I type. And I type some more. I put my nose to the grindstone and grind out words as God gives me the will and notion to. It’s about obedience for me. And God’s sovereignty. And His kingdom. And His paradoxical ways.