A while back, a friend invited me to join him in a business opportunity to, in his words, “become financially independent.” He had seen me developing financial partners for my work with InterVarsity, relying on the generosity of others for my family’s wellbeing. I think that, in his mind, asking other people for money was a risky and insecure way of making a living.

He’s right.

My work with the Emerging Scholars Network depends on other people sharing ESN’s vision for our nation’s colleges and universities.  It requires me to trust that God will lead me to the right people, and that my (often frustrating) work in contacting people, setting appointments, and making “asks” will be rewarded.  There is no certainty, except the ever-present certainty of God’s promises.

In contrast, many other jobs seem secure.  They have a steady income stream, a proven business model, contractual or governmental guarantees, well-funded pensions…

It’s all an illusion.  Independence is an illusion.  All of us are dependent on God, for both our daily needs and our eternal ones.  An economic downturn, a tragic accident, a sudden scandal – sometimes, just plain bad luck – can demolish our dreams, and our dreams of financial independence will be gone like vapor.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.  (James 4:13-17)

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