Thursday, November 3, 2016

Open Honesty: About the "Money" Issue

 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?

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?

- - - -
What lessons has God been teaching you recently?


Faith Blum said...

Well said, Amanda. Thank you for sharing. I totally understand where you are coming from and pray you are able to get everything worked out.

Jewels said...

What a great and re-focusing post! Praise the Lord that He is showing and reminding you of these things just when you need it. He's so good in that way!
I've been learning about living in light of who God is--discovering through His word who He actually says He is, and living my life in light of that. The vast majority of us Christians have our own idea of God and who He is, but our idea of Him is usually minute--a tiny version of what He makes known through His word. We tend to adjust our idea of God to fit what we please and then dictate what He's supposed to do-God, you're not being just! You need to help me right now! The problem is that we are making God who we want Him to be and are not looking at Him for who He is. He overflows the limits of our imagination. There is SOOOO much to Him that is beyond our comprehension. So, He is teaching me to look at Him for who He is--adjusting my own idea of Him to fit what He says about Himself. I've got a lot to learn!

I pray that the LORD will provide for and bless you as you choose to follow Him and His leading <3
Jewels <3'

Amanda Tero said...

Thanks, Faith! <3

Amanda Tero said...

Jewels - wow, great points about that! It's very true. We have created a God of our imagination that we like to serve. Sounds like a very productive time in God's Word! And to think -- we'll never fully be able to grasp WHO God is while in these mortal bodies!!

Grace Palmer said...

Oh, I understand about dead computers and money being tight. It is tough, but God will give us what we really need.

By the way, books that don't have any romance or language are my favorite. Especially if they are Biblically solid..... historical fiction makes it even better. :):)<3

Olivia said...

Wow, wow! You hit the truth spot on :)) It is so easy to get caught up in money, rather than the true goal of our endeavors. Even if we aren't making the money we need for certain areas in our lives, God is a God of provision!

Amanda Tero said...

@ Grace - that is so very true about God providing exactly what we NEED. Now, almost a month later, I'm looking back at how God has provided and it's amazing! He's so good!!! I have been able to buy that laptop AND renew my website AND gotten most of my Christmas shopping done... and I still have sufficient funds for needs. :)
Aw, thanks for the encouragement! I personally like those books best too... but it's great to hear of others out there!

@ Olivia - Amen! :) Easily "caught up" is so true!!

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