A Tale of Two Trees


By Courtney Lindberg, Director of Innovation, ArborBrook Consultants

Mark grew up wanting to be an artist and indeed he became one—a graphic designer for a newspaper. Then one day not too many years ago, as the newspaper industry continued to decline, Mark was delivered the unfortunate news that cuts needed to be made and he no longer had a position.

This isn’t a scenario any of us ever want to be in and we all respond differently. But as time passed, Mark sought the Lord for direction. An answer arrived one morning as he awoke and he had a knowing that he could not understand – that he was to go into nursing.
There was no doubt in his mind. He just knew, as if the answer was a resolute truth that had been downloaded overnight. It was simply there, where it hadn’t been before, without question.

Those closest to him argued against the idea, and assured him that he did not want to go into nursing, go back to school at this point in life. But to Mark, it was not an idea, not something to be deliberated. It was the truth. The only decision for him was if he was going to follow said truth, or not.

The question of financing this journey soon came to the forefront. Had he asked an average advisor where to go for funding, the vast majority would have suggested against withdrawing from his retirement account. Especially in light of his age and current unemployment. However, it doesn’t take very much reading in the New Testament to see that Jesus’ view of money was often contradictory from what we would think. Mark used his retirement and when it was all said and done two years later, he had just enough, almost to the dollar.

It was unfortunate the circumstances that brought me, my wife and child into the hospital that weekend, but having been on the receiving end of Mark’s calling, I can assure you that he was made for this. It is one thing to see someone good at their job; it is another entirely to see someone called to it. And that difference is measured in heart, from his, to ours. It’s one of those things you realize in the wake of calamity; how important some things truly are, how important so many things really aren’t.

Our situations and lives are unique to each of us and like commandments and callings, there are some that apply to us all; do not murder, do not steal, and then there are some that are designed specifically for us individually, like to go and become a nurse, or leave the land of your father, or stand up to a Pharoah, or build an ark.

There are, of course, good financial principles to follow, but as we believe and why our clients have chosen to work with us, is if we rely completely on the knowledge in this world and do not consult that great Spirit beyond this world, we settle for much less than what could be. We, in essence, choose the Tree of Knowledge over the Tree of Life. As I recall, that didn’t work out too well.

Mark could have chosen to view his retirement account, his money, as the goal, making decisions for his life around it. Instead, he viewed the calling as the goal and used money as a tool to achieve it. He looked beyond the money into something greater.

My hope for you is that you will Go Beyond Money, too.