Raised in a home with a pastor dad who never made more than $24k a year we learned to do without a lot of stuff as kids. We lived in a tiny house in Garland, TX where 7 people crammed into 1100 sq feet. Of course, we never thought we didn’t have much because we always had what we needed.
The beauty of growing up like this is that it’s nearly impossible to be spoiled – our options were limited so we just learned how to deal with it. It wasn’t an option for us to go out to eat most times, so we just lived with the fact mom was going to make salmon patties…again. We also learned to have faith, because there were times when our dad didn’t know how we were going to pay for something (like a new transmission in our car) and we had to trust God to help us pay for it. These were valuable lessons we learned because we didn’t have much money.
But when we retired from pro baseball and started our real estate company we began to experience success. There were times when we’d make more in one day than our dad made in a whole year. And as our money began to increase we felt something we had never experienced before – we had options, and plenty of them.
Growing up we drove the same car until the wheels fell off, at which time we searched for the cheapest used car we could find and prayed hard for God to bring the money to buy it. But now we had money and could buy just about any car, new or used, whenever we wanted. We didn’t “need” to trust God anymore or have faith that He would provide for our vehicles. Faith itself now became an option – we could trust God or not, but either way we would end up with a car.
The danger of this is that our newfound abundance began to tempt us to take our focus off God and place our trust in it. We felt the gentle tug of money as it wanted the devotion of our heart. But praise God we were raised to be a men of the Word, so we were able to recognize that our faith in God was being clouded by faith in riches.
It takes faith to trust God to provide when you don’t have the money. But sometimes it takes an even greater measure of faith to trust God when you do have the money–because you have the option “not” to trust Him. Our success in business led us to a deeper understanding of faith once it became optional.
You can picture it this way – if we married our wives because there were no other options, would this signify our deep love for them? Probably not. But if we chose to marry them despite “lots” of other options, now this would show them our total commitment.
The more God blesses you the more options He gives you. And the more options you have the greater faith you’ll need to trust the very God who gave you the options in the first place.