Last Friday evening Nancy and I bumped into some friends at Costco. They were eating in the food court as we were heading out of the store, so we sat with them a while to catch up. One of the topics that came up was how the four of us are handling the decreased income that has resulted from circumstances and choices we made several years ago.
Both our friends and Nancy and I have deliberately chosen to accept a higher degree of financial vulnerability in exchange for increased flexibility in ministry. We are all grateful for the abundant opportunities to serve others that are currently available to us. However, none of us could confidently say how long we will be able to continue in our current mode due to financial uncertainties. As we look forward, we don’t know how we will meet our financial obligations.
Surprisingly, none of us expressed much concern.
It is not that we are irresponsible. Rather, we are experienced. Some quick math reveals that together the four of us total over a century of choosing ministry opportunities over financial progress in career decisions. Sometimes our decisions include greater financial security than at other times. The four of us coincidentally chose less financial security a couple years ago.
As we chatted, someone noted that at times we don’t actually know how we make it through a particularly difficult stretch. The rest of us chuckled in agreement. In fact, this happens often enough that the husband of the other couple has labeled it, “rubber money.” Rubber money is the money that seems to appear out of nowhere and covers current expenses in ways that were unexpected and often undocumentable.
This has occurred a number of times for Nancy and me. I maintain our personal finances. For decades, I have tracked every dollar that comes in and goes out. There are times when I project that we are going into debt, delaying payments, or something to make it through. Yet, we have never engaged in deficit spending. We have never been late with payments. Our credit score is high. I don’t know how that happens. My best explanation is that we made it with God-provided rubber money and I’m okay with that.
I’m grateful for God’s miraculous provision!