Thursday, April 10, 2008

Help From The Pastor About The Extra Job

Below is an email my Pastor sent me about the extra job decision I am processing through. He was going to comment on my last post but asked me permission first beforehand. I appreciated his email so much that I asked him if I could feature it in a post instead and he agreed.

Pastor Porter knows me very well. When he sees me perseverating he inserts himself into the process with great effectiveness and always helps me clarify what's most important.

The email:

Pat, I am interested and a bit concerned. Does anyone know how many people after going through FPU get a part-time job to fix the debt issues?

Also, when I ask about sacrifice issues, I try to ask is this a sacrifice for me with little collateral damage to others? Or is there great collateral damage for others? If there is great collateral damage then, of course, it is not mainly my sacrifice, others are sacrificing, and thus, those others need to be completely on board with sacrifice.

I suppose another way to look at it is which is the greater responsibility: to be out of debt as quickly as possible or to love your wife? These are not mutually exclusive, of course, but by investigating this biblically, the Bible talks about the woes and dangers, and also at times the necessity of debt, and paying it off, while also specifically commanding you as a husband to love your wife and instruct your children in the discipline of the Lord. Is getting a part-time job loving your wife and Lord? Possibly. Are you being enslaved by the Ramsey command to get rid of debt as quickly as possible? Possibly.

Wisdom, is indeed called for here. I will be praying for you.

I love you, man.

Porter's words are very helpful because:
  1. They point to the freedom that is in Christ. I am free in Christ to choose with wisdom what I think is honoring to the Lord. This does not mean the decision is easier. It just clearly points out that even this decision means something more than just making more money. This fact lifts me out of the perseverating very quickly - it gets me out of my own head.
  2. The freedom in Christ then points me to the grace that Christ gives me every minute moving forward.
  3. They point out an idol of the heart. In everything there is an idol to war against. The war is in the heart and it is about the choice to turn something good into an ultimate thing. The extra job, the extra money, the quicker debt snowball payoff - good things. But, as Porter reminded me in another side conversation I had with him following the email, "The goal is not to be a Ramsey success story, but to be faithful to our Lord."
I place loving my wife and raising my children ahead of an extra job that will require too much sacrifice for us all. My wife and I have been walking through this decision together. She has expressed to me that something where I could work 10 hours a week or less is doable and worth it.

Have I decided yet? Closer but not yet. There is an opportunity for work right now. But, I want to first review again what the extra job will look like as in: When will I fit in the extra hours in? What will be the standard schedule I can communicate to my family? What defines success? How will I deal with my already waning energy levels? I've already addressed these issues but I am feeling little confidence in my answers.

Isn't this painful? To read about the process of a very slow decision maker?


Swampy-Rah said...

Porter is The Man!

-V- said...

I would describe reading about the process more as 'hopeful', (rather than painful). I see His body at work beautifully here...

football freak said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
football freak said...

I agree with V...and Swampy.

I was the one who deleted the switched me to being Caleb instead of coffeegirl. Huh.

Anyway..this is not Football freak, but Coffeegirl.

pat s said...


Haven't you tried once in your life to actually be a football freak?