When Leah and I got married, everyone told us that the first year would be the hardest. We laughed their dire warning off. We had been dating for three years by that time, so we knew they were way totally wrong. And, as it turns out they were. Not just the first year, but even the second flew by effortlessly.
Now, coming upon the celebration of our third anniversary, it is apparent that much of the ease of life was due largely to both of us working full-time. We were by no means rich, but the ratio of income to bills was soundly in our favor. When Leah decided that what she really wanted was to be a baker, I heartily supported the decision. (For the record, I still do.) In order for her to do it seriously, we decided she would quit her day job and make a go of baking for realsies. It’s by no means been smooth sailing, and as a result I’ve realized we will certainly not become rich based on anything we’re doing right now. Maybe if an amazing job fell from the sky, or a rich relative I never knew dies, or I begin a lucrative career selling drugs (poverty-stricken is probably not the best state in which to watch “Breaking Bad” or “Weeds”), we might find our way to vast sums of money… But working customer service? Filling occasional cake/cookie orders throughout the week? Not quite.
So what does this mean? This means, that as we are living life right now, the only hope we have to becoming wealthy is solely through an Act of God. Now here’s the question(s): Does God care if we’re rich or poor? Does he have a preference? Is he deliberately not letting us be rich or is this a simple matter of reaping what we sow?
A teacher once told my class that he lives in a one-room cabin he and his wife built. He has a paid for used car and a bike, but no TV. He said that he was wealthy. Because wealth is just another word for having choices. Every morning he could choose an outfit from a full cabinet. Choose what to eat, choose how to get to work. He could make all kinds of choices, and that’s all wealth was good for. Making choices available that might not be available otherwise.
When it gets right down to it, that’s what I think Leah and I are missing/hankering for the most. We’ve already decided we have no interest in an opulent mansion or extravagant toys. We just want to be able to live life on our own terms… And I think that’s probably where a lot of us fall. We’d like to have enough money that we didn’t have to think about it. I do realize comparatively with the rest of the world (and perhaps a significant portion of the US) we are in fact quite wealthy. We have always had enough. More than, actually. But that doesn’t stop us from fantasizing about what kind of lives we might lead unhindered by the confines of a budget.
So what’s God’s take on this? Does he prefer us to reach that point or not? Would he rather us develop character by struggling, or display character by being placed near the magnifying glass of money? Are they just two different but equally holy paths?