You ever have one of those moments, or a span of time, where you are simply faced with the reality of it all? You know those moments where the clouds of circumstances and the reality that we live in a fallen world smack you in the face. These are very real moments, real realities, real struggles that we each have to deal with.
I was once told you could be so heavenly minded you were of no earthly good. Not sure I totally agree with this statement, but I do know that those moments you are enjoying a "kingdom" moment, this world will certainly rear up its ugly head and try and drag you back into the fray of busyness, stress, and sin. It is the real struggle we face.
I know I face these moments daily. People who know me personally can attest to the fact that I gain my joy from talking about Jesus. Whether I am shooting a quick video for #EnjoyTheShepherd, typing a blog post, or talking to you in person, it just simply lifts me up to speak of the amazing love of my God and Savior. I thrive off those opportunities. These are the moments I literally live for.
Then this world smacks me in the face with other realities. Responsibilities of a husband and a father, which I love doing. But those pesky little irritations like making enough money to pay the bills, keeping up with the never ending necessities of having a farm, etc. Dealing with a person who is unhappy with a service performed or one who wants miracles performed in my line of work, but simply is not something that is doable. Those are the realities we face.
I have tried to be open with my constant war of trusting God to provide for our needs. I have attempted to share with you the moments God has simply showed up and showed off as I like to put it. However, it has removed the old man from inside me who screams at me to immediately start fretting over the next month of bills or big financial date in front of me. My heart loves to take the time to share His amazing love, but my head badgers me with the realities that I have bills I have to pay and kids who have the needs of every growing kid. It tells me I have a wife whom I have committed to support, so this world screams at me to find a way to live my dream and have a life of financial freedom in the amount of money I can produce on a monthly basis if I would just commit myself to it. But my heart today beats back my mind and says I am content and have all I need. Only to hear my mind scream back, "Don't forget this upcoming financial obligation! Ray have you checked the finances lately." LOL
Everything in me wars back and forth. There are days my body is simply tired from the raging battle going on inside my mind. People tell me my videos bring them such peace and comfort in their Good Shepherd and they say they envy my life, but I look in the mirror and see the reality of the man who struggles every day to simply trust the love, care, and provision of the One whom I strive to point others to.
Then I hear it! It is the voice that whispers I can have great gain from the thing I love doing, if only I would allow it. If only I would commit to a small prostitution of the Word for my personal gain. I sit with a friend who tells me I have had over 1 million impressions on Facebook. I jokingly say "Can you get me a dollar from each impression?" and we laugh. But in my mind I wrestle with the knowledge that that kind of money is probably a very real possibility. If only I would pursue it, which my heart rebukes me back to the true desire for which I speak of Him. SO others may know Him and His amazing love. How could I ever "sell out?"
Then, today, I read this from 1 Timothy 6:
3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
How Sweet of The Good Shepherd to remind me of what my true gain is in all this. It is the sweetness of knowing Him and enjoying His constant presence with me as I travel through a world that screams at me to look away from Him. Are there days and times I fail and focus more on the waves surrounding me like Peter, certainly! However, He is ever present, and constantly showing me that through the times of abundance and the times of scarcity, He is right beside me in them all.
After all, He is my Shepherd, I need nothing more!