Twenty years ago, I wrestled with the penetrating questions in Bob Buford’s book, Half Time, that ask: “What is in your box? Money or Jesus Christ? What will be the mainspring for the rest of your life?”
I wrestled in the solitude of Nantucket Island, my favorite place on earth, and a place we have called our summer home since renting a very modest two-bedroom cottage for a week in 1972. This summer, we will sell our home on Nantucket that I purchased for my wife Kathie in 1999, in part to thank her for traveling around the world with me for 56 years now. Close friends have suggested I share our decision to sell our family treasure, and explain how it supports the decision I made 20 years ago to put Jesus Christ in my box. I hope shining a light on our decision-making process will help those wrestling with what to put in their box, or sensing that their box might be under attack.
First, know that by putting Jesus in your box, you don’t stop living or enjoying the blessings the Lord has planned for you. The last 20 years have been great for us, as I have transitioned from owning a business to chairing the Jericho Partnership. God is good! Nevertheless, aging/maturing or family growth or career do bring challenges. I believe we must prayerfully protect our box-decision to keep Jesus first by always considering the following:
- “We Are in It Together” is a must-consideration when making key decisions – as a couple or family – that affect more than the box-holder. Yes, I can envision myself fishing in Nantucket for the next 20 years, but I must recognize that having two homes is a major burden for Kathie and, ultimately, a potential risk to Jesus being first in my life and hers. Decision: “We must sell one of our homes.”
- “We Must Be Able to Worship, Serve and Fellowship” if we are to keep Jesus first in our lives. Although we attend a wonderful church in Nantucket, our church is the Church of Danbury; the many congregations we have come to know and love for their Christ-centeredness, friendship, love and diverse styles of worship. Serving with them throughout Danbury is a distinct privilege that would take another lifetime to duplicate. Decision: “We must sell our home in Nantucket.”
- “We Must Store Our Treasure in Heaven (Matt 19:21)” and so we must put Jesus first in our financial decisions by supporting our local Church, God’s work in Danbury through the Jericho Partnership, and His work around the world through world mission agencies. While we’ll ensure that our grandchildren are well-educated, we’re not planning to put their box-decisions for Christ at risk through excessive parental generosity. Decision: “We must provide generous gifts for the Lord’s work now and upon our passing.”
Putting Jesus Christ in your box is the most important decision you’ll ever make. It is an opportunity to DO something about the faith that you may already have.
In His service,
Bill Beattie, Chairman