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Category: Character

Who Needs a Million?


There’s a billboard in town that tracks how many millions of dollars wait to be won in each week’s Powerball lottery. The number’s been over 100 the last two times I passed. It seems excessive. Even $1 million is more than I’m on track to make in a lifetime of work at my current salary. I’ve tried to calculate how I might spend the money (assuming I bought a ticket and won), but I tend to run out of ideas after the first $100,000 or so. Maybe I lack imagination.

But then I’m reminded of a commitment I made just over two years ago. While reading a book on simple living, I felt God’s call on my life for total surrender. I realized I’d given of my time and interests, but I had withheld my finances. Not consciously. I tithed regularly and donated as I could. But when I reviewed my expenses, I noted that close to $2 out of every $3 I earned were earmarked for costs associated with owning a home. I couldn’t remember God promising me a house or making it a priority that I have one. And I know there’s no record of Jesus — raised as the son of a carpenter — taking time to prepare a residence on earth. So I sold it.

And something interesting happened.

I suddenly had more money than I knew what to do with. I had not yet developed the discipline of giving, but God — always patient for me to pay attention — opened my eyes to genuine need in my own community. Then, this last year, God helped me take the next step, and I reduced my hours at work so I might have more time to pursue Him, to discover what God created me to be, to experiment with living.

I tend to run out of ideas after the first $100,000

Way of Truth

A flap. A dust-up. A bit of wind. (

I help to cover politics for the newspaper in Nampa. Today, I interviewed a local man, a profile. He seeks a legislative seat. He’s anti-tax and wants to bring more jobs to Canyon County. He spoke of education and construction and the elderly. And while I jotted notes, I thought how similar this sounds to all the rest. Each one defines his character according to accomplishments. Each list — the same — with clubs and causes, offices, endorsements. Individual aspects are accounted relative to others, a blobby shape at best. The only differentiation comes from what’s been done and what’s opposed. We have fences but no foundation.

And what about me? I too am guilty of self-image by comparison. Instead of seeking Christ’s character, I create a rubric for success, assess myself by personal performance and how much better or worse it is than that turned in by others.

This is not the way of truth.

This is not the way of truth.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

A metaphor. Spiritual growth, the discovery of personal purpose, can never come from comparison, one branch to another. I have tried to define my being by what I do. And all this time, I had it backwards.

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