Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Best Result

This is an account of my efforts to put into action what I learn while reading the Bible, an account of my journey to become closer to God.

For my Stephen Ministry training (I know that story is told in Acts; I haven’t read that far into the Bible yet but am eager to get there to see who Stephen is) I’m reading a great book, “Christian Caregiving: A Way of Life,” by Kenneth Hauck. Of course it is a book about Christian counseling but it is also a book about service, and delivering service to others in a distinctly Christian way. One of the many sentences I highlighted is: All Christians need to put their priesthood into action – ministering to each other and the rest of the world.

You might recall I’ve stated I’m thinking about going back to work, believing I should be earning as much money as possible during these uncertain times. I’ve been praying for guidance about what to do because becoming employed again will have direct impact on the time I can spend writing and caring for my family. I’ve been asking God to show me a sign; I’ve wanted him to paint an arrow at the fork in the road so I’d know which way he’d have me turn.

A funny thing is happening. Whereas I’ve had almost no positive response to my job search, my writing business seems to be on the upswing. Traffic to this blog and my website has grown over 125%, Target has given me five spaces on a shelf in the Inspirational section (more than any other author they carry!), and Sourcebooks, the new licensee to the exploitation rights of my books, is thinking so out of the book about how to increase sales it blows my mind. Indeed, book sales have recently begun an upward trend.

And my phone now rings nearly every day with a new request for my volunteer help, and my email box is brimming over with updates on projects I’ve taken on through the ministries at my church.

It may all be a coincidence, but I’m starting to think I see an arrow painted on the road up ahead.

A few days ago I walked into the Community Outreach office of our church and offered my services. Within minutes a wonderful person said I was an answer to her prayers, and then she said a prayer of thanks for my gifts, my offer, and asked for the success of my books so that I could continue to give myself to the ministries. I started crying, I was so moved by her sincerity. Wow. Not only do I think I see a directional arrow, I’m hearing things too! It’s like she was my own personal navigation system shouting “Go this way!”

So I’m wondering, is it okay to pray for financial success if my motive is to enable myself to continue investing deeper in the volunteer ministries? Not to mention that the more the books succeed, the more money there is for Jill and me to give away.

I don’t know. But I do know that my heart leaps at the thought of reaching out to others in a God-honoring gesture, be it through my books or volunteer efforts or when opportunities arise as I move among people day to day, while the thought of curbing these activities to go back to work 8-5 makes my heart sink.

Today I lean on Proverbs 3:5-6 : “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Like I said, I don’t know the answer to my question; I don’t know if it is pleasing to God if I pray for monetary success. Honestly, it feels selfish. Yet it is what I’m doing – for I can see that there is so much work to be done in our community and elsewhere, and I just can’t seem to keep myself from helping to do it.

I hope I’m walking along a straight path, His path. Don’t pray for my success. Instead, please ask God to turn me around if I’m headed down the wrong path. That is the best result I could ask for.

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog, and please pray for me and my family. Now go out and hug somebody!

1 comment:

Nana said...

1 Chronicles 4:10 the Prayer of Jabez is one asking for God to increase his boundaries. The more you give to God, the more God returns to you. Not so you will be rich in money but so you will have opportunity to use these to bless others. I absolutely think it is ok for you to ask God to bless you so that you can bless others. I also think a book on your journey would be great. I received your newest book today and look forward to reading it and writing a review on it. It looks like a great book. Thank you so much.