It's time for another blog. There are number of things that I have thought about "blogging" about in the last couple of weeks. I thought about writing about my dog, about my new wallet and how hard it was to give up the old one that I've had for the last ten years, or about how my voting experience went. I decided to go in a little more serious direction. Here is a topic that I have been thinking about a lot lately. It is a very real struggle that will greatly affect some of the biggest decisions that I will make in my life. Here it goes:
How do you find the balance between making wise decisions that will keep yourself and your family safe and living a "selfless" ministry centered life that I feel like God has called me to live? Many people I know lean very heavily onto the safe side of this balance and basically work to make as much money as they can in order to provide their family with the best life they can provide for them. I also know many people who have purposefully chosen to dedicate their lives to serving God and they and their families have had to make many sacrifices due to these choices. I know that the easy answers to this question are: God calls us to care for our families and so providing for them is doing ministry in a sense, or just listen for God's will and He will help you make the right decisions. I don't disagree with these statements, but I don't find them all that helpful as I attempt to discern God's will in the realness of everyday choices.
Let me try to make this a little more real with a concrete example or two. What if you had the opportunity to dedicate your life to a great ministry but taking the position will leave you and your family medically uninsured? What if you feel called to take a ministry position that does not guarantee enough income to provide for your basic needs or is a potentially unstable position would could leave you without income down the road? At what point does living on faith cross over into the realm of making poor common sense decisions? How much should basic necessities factor into determining God's will? What is considered a basic necessity these days? Enough money to eat? Medical Insurance? Retirement savings? Enough money to go on a decent vacation once a year? Do you see where I am going with this? These are all very real questions that those who want to live a life doing ministry must think through. I would assume that this becomes an even more real issues once kids are born (at these point I am assume that we will have kids at some point in the next 5-10 years).
I guess what this is ultimately getting at is: how much should common sense questions (anywhere from "Will I be able to feed my family?" to "Will I be able to save any money to buy a house or have retirement savings?") factor into discerning God's will? Where is the line between "God probably isn't asking me to make a decision where our family won't have enough to eat" and "God probably isn't asking us to make a decision where our 401k is not growing; where we can't go on a major vacation each year; where we can't have a new car; etc."
I would guess that most people who would quickly answer: "Trust God and he will provide no matter what" have never made a decision where they are unsure if they will be able to eat or have a place to live. At the same time those who would quickly answer: "Your first priority is to provide for your family," have never taken a step of faith to pursue God's call in their life. How do you find the balance between providing for your family as a Godly man should, and giving of yourself to help heal a broken world as a follower of Jesus would do?
How much of discerning God's will for our lives require using the brain that God gave us to think through common sense problems, and how much of it has to do with an internal calling or longing that is confirmed through prayer, scripture, fellow Christians, etc.? What do you think?