Over and over again, I see an interesting phenomenon take place.
(Disclaimer: This post will step on some toes, so guard your heart. Make sure you read to the end, I’ll show you the right way to make the move.)
I’ll see a man, usually married with kids, (but not always) who is active in the local church. He usually serves the church in some capacity and will be involved in events when the church puts one on.
His wife has made friends and connections there, their kids have friends in the youth church, they’ve made connections with their leaders too. They play sports, and have extracurricular activities at their school.
In essence, the man and his family have built connections, friendships, even business partnerships. His family is thriving, healthy, and growing!
But then, that man is offered a promotion at work.
The promotion will require him to move to another city. The city is always larger than the one he is in now, and usually not too far away, 2-5 hours most of the time, and yes, the job pays much more than he makes currently.
“This is a dream come true, God has answered my prayer for increase!” He says.
Now most people, including myself, have a desire for financial increase, for growth and gain. There’s nothing wrong with that.
“I’ve been praying for a raise, and for favor, and we finally got it!” The man goes around praising God and telling his friends and family.
With this new raise and promotion he thinks, “I can get a bigger house, upgrade the cars, maybe put the kids in private school, have a little more wiggle room each month…” And hey, that’s exciting for sure.
Typically, the decision to make the move comes pretty quick. I mean, it’s a no brainer right? God has answered my prayer with this promotion!
On the outside, it does seem great! It does seem like this a huge blessing for him and his family.
But each time I see this happen, something bugs me on the inside. I want to rejoice with them, I really do, but something just doesn’t sit right in my spirit.
The FIRST thing I always ask someone when they decide to move is, where are you guys going to go to church?
The answer is always the same:
“Oh, we’ve checked out a couple of options, I’m sure we’ll find something.”
What happens “behind the scenes” when a person moves for money
In the natural, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that making this move is what is best for your family.
After all, more money, means more opportunity for your kids and family.
But I want you to realize that there are repercussions that occur on the spiritual side of things, or “behind the scenes,” whenever a major life decision is made with money as it’s main motive.
Picture your family as I described above; connected, growing, planted, and flourishing. They’ve built relationships with teachers, kids, other families. Your wife has family there, she has her set of girlfriends, perhaps she is excelling at her job, she serves at the church as well.
Now in order to move them to a new city, you are requiring that your family must disconnect from those relationships, be uprooted, and torn apart from the church, the family, the friends and the schools that have helped them get to where they are today.
You are now putting a demand on your family to “start over” so to speak, attempting to build new relationships, connections, and friendships. All of which are vital for a happy, healthy, satisfying life.
Now, of course this isn’t impossible. There are lots of people who do “just fine” in these situations. In 6 months or so they have some good pals, and they can always call to keep in touch with the major relationships from back home right?
Now, while that part of the transition can be tough, the MOST dangerous part of the situation is that your family is now without a church home.
You, the spiritual leader of the house, have put not only you, but your family, in a dangerous spot. You’ve made them “spiritually homeless.”
You are a spirit. At your core, your “spirit man” as we say, is the most vital part of you.
It IS you.
When you go on to be with the Lord, you leave your body here, and your spirit travels on up to heaven. The REAL you.
The truth we have to realize is that our spirit man has to be taken care of. When we are not being fed spiritually, you will start dying spiritually from the inside out.
You have to trust me on this. I’ve seen this happen over and over and over…
God has a plan to prosper you. (Jeremiah 29:11) that plan includes being planted at a local church.
God ALWAYS has a local church for each one of us to be involved in. Not just attend, but serve in, and get planted and rooted there.
The amazing life I get to live, came from being planted at the church God directed me to. My wife, all my friends, my church family, jobs, businesses, ministry opportunity…everything, because of the local church.
Psalm 92:13 says, “Those who are planted in the house of the Lord, will flourish in the courts of our God.”
When you are planted in God’s house, you’ll flourish. When you are uprooted, and you don’t get planted in God’s house. You will not flourish.
The opposite of flourishing, is dying.
Watching a person decay spiritually is a sad, sad thing. I’ve seen it more times than I care to count. It’s like watching a person who shines like the sun, become a gray, lukewarm zombie.
In most cases, here’s the scene once the family has moved to the new town
The husband got a promotion, so this means new and more responsibility.
He will often be at his new job for 10-12 hours a day, usually 6 days a week, at least for a few months while he gets his new position figured out.
This leaves the wife and kids at home alone for at least 10 hours a day, so they can try to set up the new house and get settled in.
The kids leave for school (where they don’t know anyone) and your wife is at the house, alone, from sun up to sun down.
She doesn’t have a job, she doesn’t have friends, and you haven’t “found a church” yet, so there’s no opportunity there either.
You’ll get to spend Sunday together as a family, in the morning you’ll try out a church nearby that looks like it has potential.
But you don’t really connect with anyone that day and the music wasn’t really your style.
Next week you try another. It’s pretty good, but still no one came up and connected with you.
You find yourself comparing all these churches to the one from back home, and they just can’t stack up.
After your third church, you just resolve that there’s nothing like your old church here.
You settle in to the one you can tolerate the easiest, and begin the lifestyle of coasting.
You went from serving at your church, planted, rooted, and flourishing, to a just a church attendee.
Just checking church off your list each week.
It doesn’t feel great, but it’s not that bad. You’ll get used to it.
“Besides” you tell yourself, “We’re here to focus on my career, and right now that’s the most important thing…”
But What About the Money?!
You finally got your big promotion and now you make $100,000 a year!
Let’s break this down in a real world example shall we? Let’s look at this from a natural viewpoint:
Making 100k, your gross paycheck will be about $8,333.33 a month.
Your pay increase seems great, but depending on your situation, usually moves you into a higher tax bracket as well.
After taxes you’ll take home in the neighborhood of $5,636 a month.
But now, since you moved to a larger city, cost of living will be up a little bit from where you live now. To maintain your current lifestyle that you’re used to, you’ll have to spend a little bit more.
Since you got a bump in a pay, you’ll probably want to upgrade to a bigger house, and finally get the new cars you’ve been looking at.
Perhaps you spend $1,100 a month now on your mortgage or rent, to get the same size home, now you’ll pay about $1,600-$1,700. If you want to get a bigger house, let’s ballpark $2,000 a month. For a family of four, that’s a low estimate.
You’re in a bigger city now, which will often mean longer commutes and more traffic than you’re used to. The average commute time in a mid-size city is 28-31 minutes, one way. Quite often the amount you spend on gas money will nearly double.
So let’s take a look at what we got here:
New take home pay: $5,636
New Car 1: -$350
New Car 2: –$350
Full Coverage Car Insurance: -$170
Gas Money (average) -$320
That leaves you with about $2,446.
(Obviously I’ve left out a ton of other expenses that go with moving, and that doesn’t include utilities, HOA’s, food, entertainment, daycare etc…)
$2,446. Wow, break open the sparkling cider!
You uprooted and disconnected your family for a measly $2,400?! (Honestly, much less than that after your other expenses.)
Let me be real with you. You could’ve made an EXTRA $2,446 this month mowing lawns back at your old neighborhood.
It’s not worth it.
A great “life tip” from Jesus
Matthew 6:24 says “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be against the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions, or whatever is trusted in).
To me, the scenario above is a perfect example of “deceitful riches.” The riches from this new job lured you away from the place God had you and your family planted and flourishing.
1 Timothy 6:10 says “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (NKJV)
Those riches deceived you into thinking that you will be happier when you make more money, it deceived you into thinking that you have to move somewhere else to gain financial increase, the deceitful riches told you that there is more “opportunity” elsewhere. You literally can seek money, and “stray from the faith.”
You’ll quickly find that it was a lie, AND not only that, but you’ll also find out that at the end of the month, you keep just about as much money in this new job, as you did at your old job.
The Right Way to Do It
Okay, okay, now let me bring the balance to the situation. Hear me out.
I am NOT saying you have to stay your home church for the rest of your life.
There is a right way to move, because yes of course, the Lord will send you places. We are called to “go out into all the world and preach the gospel.” And for some, that does mean you will be moving cities, states, maybe even countries.
If you believe this is you, let me show you what I’ve observed over the years from close friends who I believe have done it the right way.
Whenever I’ve seen this transition happen smoothly and truly successfully, they always have this in common:
1. The person (or family) doesn’t move cities for a job, or a business opportunity, or “chasing the money” that’s in their industry. They move because they feel led to either start, or help grow a church or ministry.
Romans 10:14-15 says, “But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher?And how can they preach unless they are sent?…”
2. They receive counsel from the elders and/or pastor of the church. They discuss the situation, pray about it, they give it some time, it’s usually not a snap decision.
3. There will be an agreement, joy, and excitement to the decision. The spiritual elders and leaders, along with close spirit filled family and friends will all be in agreement with the decision. They will give confirmation that this is the right choice. We all serve the same God, and if we truly listen to the Holy Spirit, He will give all parties the same confirmation.
Once there is agreement and confirmation with your spiritual leaders and elders, they then “send” you, as mentioned in Romans 10:15.
4. Once in their new location, the main focus is on the ministry they moved for. They are there by the Lord’s leading, they were “sent” there with a mission. Their mission isn’t to make money, or get a new career, it’s to grow that church.
When this takes place, you will observe there is a supernatural grace on their situation. You will see financial supply and provision, jobs and opportunities come to them. They are on a mission given to them by the Lord, they have done things the right way, they’ve been “sent” and God will take care of them for that.
When you “work on assignment” God pays for it all.
I have seen many people prosper financially, when they kept their focus on the “mission.” They didn’t move chasing money, they moved chasing ministry, and the money turned and chased them.
The Bottom Line
Look, can God call someone to move away strictly for financial gain, or a business opportunity?
Maybe. But I’ve never seen it happen successfully.
Here’s the bottom line people: Get in the church that God has for you. Seek Him on where to go. Ask, “Lord, where do you need me? Which church do you want my family planted in?”
Get in that church, get planted, you’ll flourish, and the money, promotion, raises, and opportunity will come.
The church, your spiritual mission, your “assignment” comes first. THEN the money will flow to you.
You do not have to move for money. God will bring financial increase to you, wherever you are. Last year, God brought in $192,000 to us and we live in a small town in Oklahoma!
Just be obedient to His leading. Listen to Him, not money.
P.S. Did you notice that I didn’t exactly specify the exact 4 reasons you shouldn’t move for money? I noticed too, after I published the post 😉
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