We have a friend in ministry who, when her parents found out she was going into college ministry, was forced to move out of their house and cut off from all financial support.
And that turned a giant spotlight onto the contrast with our families. I’m sure (as a parent now, I am beginning to understand more about this) it was by no means easy for our parents when we said “We’re going into ministry, which means we’ll be raising support, starting with all of your friends, to fund our salary and other expenses.”
For people in my parent’s generation, especially those outside of a certain stream of evangelicalism, raising support is nearly synonymous with “begging for money,” which puts us between a panhandler and a used-car salesman on the sleaze scale. On top of that, we were joining a parachurch organization, so that our parents wouldn’t even know how to accurately describe our job to their friends in less than a paragraph:
“He’s kind of like a preacher, without a church…”
But yet, through it all, we’ve been so blessed that they’ve not only given us the benefit of the doubt (and have likely bitten their tongue more often than not), they’ve been supportive, interested, and generous. We lived at home rent-free while we raised our initial support, we’ve almost never picked up our own check when we’ve gone out to eat with them, and they’ve even contributed to our ministry both financially and with investment of their time.
This is the Thankful Thursday post of all Thankful Thursday posts. It all comes back to our parents. It is literally impossible to quantify how thankful we are for them. They’re the ones who have loved us enough to call us out at times when they have disagreed, but have had the wisdom and discernment to know also when to allow us to learn things “the hard way.” We couldn’t have asked for a better mix.
So thanks Jesse, Debra, Roy, and Brenda. You’re the best. And I don’t even have to assume it.