My wife and I sold our home of fifteen years in October. The last seven months of house hunting has been interesting to say the least. We found a beautiful home for a reasonable price in December and planned to close in March. As friends and family saw pictures of the home, we heard a recurring theme.
“This is happening because you’ve been faithful to the Lord all these years.”
This made us feel very awkward because we didn’t want to shoot these very kind people down, yet we felt the need to correct the comment. So, we would explain to these well-meaning brothers and sisters that God is very gracious and it has nothing to do with us.
Then, on the day before closing, the home appraised for $38,000 less than we offered. Ouch. No seller is going to budge that much. We ended up losing the home and over a thousand dollars in inspection fees, etc.
No worries, people said. God has something better for you.
After another appraisal issue with a second home (which thankfully didn’t end up losing us anything time), we came across our dream home at the end of April. The buzz spread among our friends and family once more. “You deserve this home. You’ve been so faithful.”
And then the building inspection turned up $35,000 in necessary repairs. Ouch again. This time we backed out.
Having lost three homes, we started to hear different, yet similar things.
“I don’t understand why God is letting this happen to you. You’ve been so faithful.”
Strangely, other people were more frustrated than we were. And their frustration went straight to the heavens.
This experience made me wonder how exactly most people relate to God. We say we believe in grace, but I’m not sure it’s relating to our everyday life. As I understand the nature of God as revealed in the Bible, He is a debtor to no man.
He doesn’t owe me and my wife a nice house – no matter how faithful we’ve been.
Does God bless obedience and honor faithfulness? Surely! But God chooses to give something to me out of His generosity, not because He owes me something, but because He wants to do something kind for me. And trying to relate to God in any other way will only result in a frustrating life.
As I spent some time dwelling on the nature of God’s grace and how we relate to Him, it obviously got me thinking about my book, which will be released sometime in the future with OakTara. Does God owe me a best-seller because I’ve worked hard? Does He owe me an agent because I’ve honed my craft, networked in the proper forums, and worked hard to build a platform?
God doesn’t owe me a single sale or the slightest bit of recognition.
And yet, it touches God’s heart when I work hard as an expression of my love for Him. So He places a high value on it.
What will that translate to? I can’t say yet. But I do know whatever the future holds, I want to keep working hard so I can hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” someday. That is the only reward worth working for.
If you’re struggling with your writing “success”, don’t grow frustrated with God. Learn more. Work harder. Write better. But understand those things don’t put God in debt to you.