Some days, it's time to give you a little x-ray vision into my life. Today is one of those days. My life right now is spent teaching piano and violin, running With a Joyful Noise music, writing, and occasionally doing photography or graphics designing. I enjoy it all very much, but then there are days…
If you've been in the self-employed business world for any length of time, you know that building a business isn't a bed of roses (or maybe it is -- because you see more thorns than blossoms ;) ). It takes a lot of work, sometimes with very little monetary gain.
And usually, money is the last thing I think about.
Until my computer basically crashes.
And my website needs to be renewed.
And a room needs to be finished for a piano studio.
And the price to print books increases.
And postal prices increase.
And, and, and…
The list goes on until even the smallest things ("What?! My phone bill is about to be raised $5?!") are catastrophic.
Then, the brain begins to work.
What can I do to get more followers?
How can I promote my music so more people notice it?
How can I convince people to buy my books?
I need to stop doing giveaways.
I need to spend more time on social media, being interactive.
Don't people even see my photography work anymore?
HELLO WORLD, I'M OUT HERE!!!!
Okay, so maybe the means aren't quite that desperate, but you get the picture. The temptation comes to stop viewing my businesses as ministry and instead view them primarily as a money maker (or the desire for them to actually make money).
I was recently reading a passage with which I'm very familiar (in fact, I have it memorized), but I suddenly noticed two verses that connect. You'll recognize the verses: "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness." (1 Timothy 6:10-11)
I acknowledge that 1 Timothy was written to a preacher, but as I read these verses, it suddenly struck me as a business owner/manager. My goal should never be money, but that which fades not away, because it is the desire to be rich that leads into a temptation and a snare (1 Timothy 6:9).
These verses beg me to evaluate my heart.
- Am I spending as much time pursuing righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness, as I am thinking about better ways to publicize my businesses and gain sales?
- Am I more concerned about the dollar sign attached to my product or whether it leads its consumers to these spiritual truths?
And as I evaluated, I realized some places where I had been tempted to go.
In writing, "genre" is pushed. Non-romantic, Biblically-solid historical fiction is not what's popular. Dystopian? Romance? Fan-fiction? Oh yeah.
In music, hymns are a dying thing. You've got to catch up to the rave of pop, soundtracks, and limited popular modern Christian songs of the day (note: some of these Christian songs are Biblically solid).
My reasoning for doing any of these would be one thing: they will likely get sales.
Which leads me to a third evaluation:
- Am I working to get sales… or to present truth?
Just a few seconds evaluating my heart, and I realize where I've slid.
I'm looking at money, not ministry.
I'm looking at popular, not prayer.
I'm looking at cash, not Christ.
And I am reminded of all of the lessons that God taught me these past years in my businesses: my eyes must -- at ALL times -- be fully fixed on Him.
In my entire life, He has provided for my EVERY need. When I need the money, it's there. When I need the work, it's there. And sometimes, He even goes a step further and gives me an extra-special blessing, something that I don't even need -- just because He's good like that.
Above and beyond that, God has blessed me more times than I can begin to count by the encouraging words of others. Hearts are being reached… and I'm worried about money?!
At the conclusion of this heart-searching and reminders, I am brought back to the place I needed to be the whole time: my knees. I can cast my every care upon Him, for He cares for me.
So my computer's basically dead.
My website needs renewal.
My piano studio needs to be finished.
Books are more expensive.
Postage is more expensive.
Sure, I have these cares. But am I thinking about these things which will one day fade away? Or am I looking at the things of God:
Because when it's all said and done, this is what God has promised me: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33, emphasis added)
So yeah, I can work double-time to promote my businesses, but it will be at the expense of my spiritual walk. What is really more important for me? What kind of blessings does God have in store for my businesses -- if only I will get my perspective right?
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What lessons has God been teaching you recently?