Oh yes, so you have tuned in to learn all about the road to humility. Interestingly enough, my journey began out of college. You know the moment you receive that hard earned diploma and expect there to be a high paying job just waiting to toss some money your way. Ahhh, the life. Not really. My top dollar job consisted of minimum wage at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Well, at least I had a job, right? I made $5.15/hour. Yes, that is correct. I made after taxes less than $5/hr and I survived well at least for 6 months until I found a great job -one that paid me $7/hr. WOW!!! That marketing degree was really paying off. Can you see why things weren’t really going as I planned?
Somehow I had equated a good job with money. When that money thing didn’t happen, then the job was dissatisfying. My view was skewed. Really skewed. At the young age of 22, I really didn’t know any better. I was just searching for something to fulfill me. Unfortunately, it took a couple more decades for me to learn the true meaning of success.
After realizing I wasn’t getting what I needed, I left my “career” and went home to Indiana. I decided to try to go back to school and was detoured by yet, another job. Oh, but this one paid $10/hr. I was moving up in the world. Notice, my eyes went right back to the money. All I saw was $$$$. Guess what? That job really didn’t feed my inner craving to be successful either. Hmm… I wonder why?
While staying put in this new position, I met my husband, Pete. Pete was a successful accountant, newly graduated from Notre Dame University. His diploma brought him a lot of choices – one of which was to work as an auditor to fulfill his CPA requirements for the state of Indiana. We soon were married and Pete had moved on to a new company (which he still works at today). Pete’s career continued to move upward which always meant more money. I stayed home with our two kids (which soon would be three), still not feeling very fulfilled. I loved staying home, but always found myself wondering if I would ever use that degree in marketing.
You see, success meant money in my mind. I would never achieve true success if I thought of compensation as the stamp of achievement. At the same time that Pete was climbing the ladder of success, I was trying to find ways to make money for our household too. I dabbled in preschool teaching, I worked at our church, and I constantly tried to be “successful” too.
What I couldn’t see was that I had raised three great kids. I had taught them to walk, to talk, to read, to make good choices, to love, to honor, to obey and to be self-sufficient. I had paid the bills, managed the budget (blown the budget too), cleaned the house (at least for the most part), cooked, mowed the lawn, took care of the dog, trained the dog, fed the dog, fixed plumbing issues, plastered walls, painted walls, tended to the house, and so much more. What I have accomplished in my lifetime is tremendous. Yet, I never received money for those things. I failed to see the success because I had never measured success like that in my lifetime.
So a few months ago, God kept placing on my heart that I needed to rethink my definition of success. He opened my eyes to scriptures relating to money, to sermons related to materialism, to bible studies leading me to humility, to conferences that reminded me the importance of God in my life. It has been amazing. God has tested the power of money in my life by giving me tremendous bills that I never saw coming. He continued to test me by taking more and more money out of my bank account. He continued to test me to see if I would relinquish the amount I give back to Him – and I am happy to say I didn’t. He tested me again by sending more issues down on my plate. Plumbing repairs, air conditioning repairs, water softener repairs, roof repairs, new windows, broken doors, broken refrigerators, no air conditioning for 7 days (no kidding), lists of repairs that were needed from our condominium association in Florida (and they were long), electrical repairs, flooding, sump pump issues, and more. I am not kidding this all happened from June to August. It was crazy.
At one point, I looked at Pete (my poor husband) and said to him, “I think it is time for you to take over the bills. I cannot bear to look at our checkbook any more. I just don’t want to know what is going out because it is killing me.” And Pete very loving did that for me. He knew that it was too much for me. After all, success in my mind meant money. When God started taking away the money, I thought it meant I wasn’t measuring up to what He needed me to be. I took it personally.
Then I read Romans 12:2 Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.
God wasn’t telling me that I was unsuccessful in His mind. He was reminding me that I was successful – and when I am successful in doing His Will, it looks different. It isn’t rewarded with money. It isn’t rewarded with prideful pats on the back. It isn’t rewarded with people watching and hoping to be like me. It isn’t rewarded with fame and fortune. Doing God’s Will is rewarded with eternal life: the ultimate gift.
Remember Lazarus and the rich man? The rich man lived his life to the fullest. He used his wealth to gain power and unlimited rewards on earth. Lazarus on the other hand was poor, meek and humble. Yet who receives the reward of eternal life? Only Lazarus does because He lived his life humbly and according to God’s Will.
Now when I heard that scripture at church one Sunday, I threw away all those preconceived notions I had on success. I didn’t want what that rich man had. I didn’t even want to appear to be like that rich man. I wanted to appear humbly before my Lord. I desire eternal life with Him, not the alternative. If that means ditching money as a means to success, then I am willing and ready to do that. So ready that I want to teach my kids that ideal RIGHT NOW! I don’t want them to struggle with money. I want them to live in the arms of Christ their whole life. I want them to live humbly doing God’s Will. And I NEVER want them to use money as a measure of success in life…