“Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us!” – 1 Chronicles 29:14
Have you ever thrown yourself a pity party and you didn’t invite anyone except yourself? I did just that last month, but instead of being alone, the Lord took pity on me and showed up anyway. And I’m very grateful He did.
Forty days after my wife Barbara died on September 12, 2020, I started writing a book called Better with Every Breath: The Journey from Loss to Living Again. This book tells how I chose to express gratitude to God in the midst of a devastating loss. Because I’m not a well-known name in Christian circles, I self-published my book with HigherLife Publishing, the same company that published my first book, Taking Off My Comfortable Clothes. Friends and colleagues encouraged me to write even when I didn’t think I had it within me to do so. But nineteen days later I had a rough draft and in March, I received my copies from my publisher.
About the time my books arrived at my house, a couple whose wedding I did invited me to their home for dinner on Saturday evening. They asked if I would bring a copy of my book and play some boogie-woogie piano for grandma. Of course I said yes, (dinner was tomahawk rib eye and lobster tail!), and we had a wonderful time.
Three days later, I was alone in the back of Woods Lumber where I work during the week. As I was checking in some freight, I started my pity party.
“Lord,” I said, “I wonder if I did I do the right thing. This book cost me a lot of time and money. I know I’ve only had the books for less than a week, and it won’t release from Amazon for another two months, but did I do the right thing? Was it worth it?”
Not three seconds later, the man who invited me to dinner came into the back room at Woods Lumber looking for me. He’s a tall man from Texas and speaks with that wonderful, slow drawl. He looked at me through misty eyes and said, “I just wanted to thank you for coming to our house Saturday night and bringing you book. We’ve already read it and cried. And thank you for playing piano for grandma. I just wanted you to know I appreciate you and I consider you one of my best friends.” Then, with tears in his eyes, he shook my hand and left.
As I stood there a bit stunned and speechless, the Lord interrupted my pity party and spoke this to my heart: “Who are you to tell Me how I should spend My money?”
Now I was speechless twice.
The business world will tell us to always be aware of the ROI, the Return On Investment. The ROI measures the efficiency or profitability of an investment. If I invest X amount of dollars, will I get X+ in return? Will I get my money back and then some?
But God works from a completely different economic model than the one Wall Street uses, which I discovered in the back room at WoodsLumber. God was reminding me how He was leading me to invest His money in His people, for He was not looking for a monetary ROI, but a spiritual one.
I’m grateful the Lord has chosen to use my story to touch the lives of His people, and I’m glad King David reminds me that everything I have comes from God. Besides, isn’t it always easier to spend someone else’s money than it is to spend your own?
I’m so sorry for such a great loss. I follow your blog from years ago when I stumbled upon it when I had Googled the words “scriptures that bother me”. I don’t even remember why I did that. I do wish I could get a hold of both your books. I am sure they are a great source of encouragement as I have learned that it’s from our deepest pain that our greatest ministries come.
Thank you, Nicole. Both books can be found at Amazon or B&N. A printing glitch has them “temporarily out of stock,” but I hope to see that fixed soon. The book dealing with the death of my wife has already touched numerous lives, and I continue to feel not just privileged but humbled to be of service in God’s kingdom. Blessings.