As much as I have tried to ignore money, it influences everything. When I have enough, my life feels like a crisp autumn day filled with sunshine. When I lack money, it feels like I'm hit by a cold front hammering down from Canada's Hudson Bay.
For most of my twenty-two years in ministry, my personal finances have been difficult, sometimes desperately so. In my first year as pastor in Chicago, my income was around $14,000. Over the next eight years the church gradually increased my salary. When I left it was around $25,000. Throughout this time my wife did not work.
Our possessions reflected our situation. In Chicago we drove a 1974 rusting Chevy Malibu. The rubber door seals had decayed, and when it rained, several inches of water collected in the floor well of the rear seats. In the trunk I stuffed newspapers in the rusted-out tire wells to keep water and debris out.
We lived in a second-floor, two-bedroom apartment. When the wind blew from the south, the astringent fumes from one factory ...1