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Monday, March 18 , 2019, 11:26 pm | Fair 53º


Jim Langley: The Price of Paradise

More than 30 years ago, my wife and I had the wonderful opportunity to relocate to beautiful Santa Barbara.

In order to make the move, I was required by my employer to go through a number of hoops to qualify for the transfer and promotion into sales management. We had to first sell our home in Upland and purchase a new residence in the local area.

The management opportunity required my meeting a significant sales quota and passing several demanding company training requirements over a three-month period. Amazingly, all those demands were met prior to the year end when the position needed to be filled.

Through the whole process we saw God’s hand at work and we were certain that He wanted us to make this pivotal move. Yes, there was a price to live in paradise!

That management position only lasted for four years. Fortunately, during that period we were able to establish ourselves in our new community and we haven’t looked back since.

We know this is where God wanted us to land and it’s a joy being in His will. This is where we adopted our daughter a few years after the move, and we’ve experienced substantial blessings over the years.

Unfortunately, being hospitalized with double pneumonia when our little girl was just learning to walk followed by a few years of marginal sales performance led to our having to sell our personal residence at a loss. In time we had to also file for bankruptcy. Yet, through it all, with the help of friends and family, the Lord got us through those tough times.

There’s a price for everything and a consequence for our decisions. In business dealings we must pay a price that may be more than simply financial risks.

Often, there are long hours and time away from family as we often must travel substantial distances to reach our lofty business goals. Placing business priorities before the needs of the family unfortunately can lead to failed relationships.

It’s quite easy to get our priorities out of balance when we’re focused on making money and providing for our loved ones. Our motives can easily backfire if not assessed periodically. Having close friends who will be there to let you know when you’re out of balance can certainly save the day and the consequences of bad business decisions.

God’s Word has much to say on this topic of how we are to do business. King Solomon describes the futility of it all in Ecclesiastes 4:8: “There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. ‘For whom am I toiling’ He asked, ‘and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?’ This too is meaningless — a miserable business.”

Great wisdom and perspective can be found in this verse. Even if this man had a son or daughter to inherit his business, what good would that be if he lost the love of his family? You don’t need to answer that rhetorical question, but we’d all be wise to consider the price of our business affairs.

The price we pay for worldly success is nothing compared to the price our Lord paid for us on the cross. We also must consider the price paid by those who went before Him in prophesying His coming to save us from our sin. Interestingly, what we receive in return is a ticket to Paradise! Do you have your ticket punched yet?

We all have a ticket waiting, but we must pick it up in order to enter Heaven. You may feel unworthy nor wish to humbly come to God’s throne to receive the ticket. You may also dislike that one of the thieves on the cross was told in Luke 23:43, “Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.’”

My family loves living in Santa Barbara and it certainly appears for now that our Lord wants us to remain right where we are. However, we all look forward to one day being with our Savior and Lord in His Heavenly Paradise, and we thank Him for the ultimate price He paid for all mankind!

Passages to Ponder

» Matthew 27:41-44

» Mark 15:32

» Luke 23:39-43

» 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11

» Hebrews 12:1-2

» 1 John 4:9-10

— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. He can be contacted at [email protected] for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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