We worship what we fear. If it’s God, that’s a good thing. He should be feared. He’s God. But my own faith journey has forced me to ask myself a question that may be helpful for you. Do you worship your next paycheck?
Think about this statement: “I don’t know where my next paycheck is coming from.” Does it strike fear into your soul? Pity? Or joy at the possibility of amazing opportunity?
I found myself making that statement to myself this week, because, candidly, there is no next paycheck. I have discovered what Shakespeare and most people would call “the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns….” Some of you — maybe all of you at some point — have been there before. In this period of sustained economic recession, you might be there now.
Consider the example of Paul, or Saul, as he was called at the time. God broke into his comfortable world on the road to Damascus. ”Saul, whoever or whatever you think you’re worshipping, it’s not me.”
In a moment, Paul lost everything he had known — everything he had devoted himself to worship — including his next paycheck. But what a story he was freed to tell! The kind of story that turns the world upside down. (Acts 22)
What’s my story?
I confess that the fear — dare I say worship – of the next paycheck kept me transfixed in awe for far too long. If you’ve seen the action flick Cowboys and Aliens, think of the hypnotic gaze on the face of the captives. You’ll get the idea (Don’t look at the light!). If not, think of one of those bug-zapping gizmos, and you’ll end up with the same mental image. The thought of losing the perceived security of that next paycheck mesmerized me into staying in the boat.
What has made this faith journey especially difficult is that I’ve only had three jobs in my nearly twenty-five years of being in the workforce. (Unless you count my paper route. Do they still have those anymore?) When I commit to a direction, I tend to stick with it. I suppose that bodes well for my new direction. But it does make for a rather uncomfortable place.
Walking away from that next paycheck has forced me to deal with my own fears and inner demons through those legendary dark nights of the soul. And it still continues now as I face that reality within a matter of days. But as Steven Pressfield says in Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work, reality and humility are two powerful forces. Gifts, really. When those two are present, all that is lacking is the will to move forward in answer to the call.
Walking by Faith
It’s one thing to say you will walk by faith when you’re pretty certain the next paycheck is coming. When you know it’s not, you come face-to-face with what you fear — and what you worship. You’re forced to choose.
No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. (Matthew 6:24)
It is in uncertainty that we can finally embrace the adventure to worship Him who is our true security:
Most of us will have no idea where we are going most of the time. And I know that is unsettling. But circumstantial uncertainty also goes by another name: Adventure. ~ Mark Batterson, Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God
What about you? If you didn’t care about your next paycheck, what would you be free to do? Listen closely to the answer you give to that question. Maybe it’s God speaking through the fog of the ordinary to call you to something extraordinary.
Now focus on a strategy for getting to that place where you no longer worship that next paycheck.
I’ll be here. Waiting.
Go ahead. Dream. We won’t tell. What would you be free to do if you no longer feared your next paycheck? Share your dreams with a comment here to inspire us all to grow.