Spending Your Thousand Dollar Life

by ArabahJoy on March 28, 2011 in Faithfulness, Obedience, Servanthood

I step over a pile of green mucus the person in front of me hawked on the ground and board the bus. Body odors and foul air greet me, the stench of the unbrushed and unwashed.

I’m the only fair skinned one on this bus and I stick out like an alien with purple polka dots.

I’m traveling to a rural town called “Spirit Mountain” and when I arrive, I do sense the spirits, the long time resident ghosts that have kept this place in darkness.

I take light into the darkness.

I proclaim “Yesu” to giddy girls in dorms, to hardened taxi drivers who laugh cynically, to beach goers who can’t get past my white skin and pregnant belly.

Traveling home now, spent. Grimy and smelling myself. Aching back and blistered feet. But I’ve given my life to Jesus and I’ll spend it for Jesus and there is a glory in the work.

Five years later, I’m a virtual hermit, trapped on the 6th floor of an apartment building on the other side of the world with no car, no family, no outlet, not even a backyard…and 4 kids, 3 of them under 3 and in diapers.

This is not how I envisioned spending my life for Jesus.

Even the smells and the spit wads seem more glamorous than this.

That’s when I hear it, the story of the $1000 dollar life. Each of us have one, we are one. We have been assigned the highest value possible by our Maker.

And in our love for our Jesus, we want to lay our lives down on the altar, heave our $1000 dollar bill on the table and live the glorious sacrifice.

And God sees our offering and He’s pleased and He takes up our thousand dollar bill and He calls us aside and He says, “My precious one, you who I delight over and just can’t get enough of…this is what I want from you: I want you to take your thousand dollar bill to the bank and exchange it for $1000 in quarters.”

“This is what I want from you, dear one: I want your thousand dollars in quarters.”

Oh how I’ve balked at the insignificant sacrifices, those that press hard, that seem so trivial but cost so much, those that no one sees or cares about, those that seem to have no glory in them. The every day ones that fill the life of a mommy.

Yet this is how my Lord, my sweet Jesus wishes to receive my thousand dollar life. In quarters.

One meal, one hug, one diaper change, one bedtime story, one calm training session at a time.

Thus the choice of every homemaker: Will I willingly choose to hand Him my quarter, moment after moment after moment? Will I joyfully trust that I am storing up treasures in heaven as I slip those coins on the altar?

Will I entrust Him with the seemingly insignificant pennies worth of service? Can I offer even a simple penny up in praise for my Jesus?

Or will I insist on the “big” work?

I’ve given my life to Jesus and I’ll spend it for Jesus and there is glory in the work. Even if it’s in quarters.

Even if it’s in pennies.

Either way, here’s our thousand dollars, sweet Jesus. Sweet Jesus.

By Arabah Joy, Arabah


Arabah Joy and her family have served as missionaries to East Asia for the past ten years. She has been married to Jackson for the past eighteen years and they have four children, both adopted and biological. She has also authored a guide on how to increase energy and has recently released an eBook on living Complete in Christ. Mostly though, she is a broken woman redeemed. She writes about God's sufficiency to transform at Arabah .

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Dianne March 28, 2011

That’s was a beautiful article. A little off the subject, I’ve been thinking about how many ministry opportunities there are here in America. We don’t have to travel half way around the world to be missionaries (although I greatly admire those who do). We pray for “rural tribes” to be saved and yet there are people who knock at our front door who are every bit as lost and don’t believe our Jesus is God and the creator of the universe. So, I’ve been thinking lately about how to minister to them and have been thinking that instead of quarreling about words, I’m going to let them have their say and instead try to let my light shine through my life and some coffee and cookies.

Shirley March 28, 2011

Dianne, I like the way you think. There are those who are called for missions in foreign countries and those who are called to be missionaries in their own backyards. Whatever our lot in life is let us do it to bring honor and glory to our Lord. I think I will go bake some cookies and make some coffee. : )

Stephanie March 28, 2011

That is truly a beautiful idea.

Marleah March 28, 2011

Wow, I can’t even say how much appreciated hearing this today. Thank you!

Gina March 28, 2011

Wow! This really hit home for me! i’ve been struggling lately with the idea that being a mama of little ones is a ministry…I keep feeling guilty that I’m not doing more in sharing the Gospel and serving others because SO much time is spent home caring for and raising my babies. Thanks for the reminder that my role in their lives is very much an important ministry and not less important!

ladyscott March 28, 2011

Thank you for this article. I love the visual of the quarters, though I think it’s more accurately pennies for a mother of many children. 🙂

Dianne, it is true that we have a LOT of ministries in our home countries, but we must remember that missionaries are called, called by God to go where He wants them to go, whether it’s in our neighborhood or in some far away land. I love what you say about ministering and being lights to those who knock on our doors. We even have ministry opportunities in the every day doldrums such as grocery store check-out lines, be it allowing someone to go ahead of you with a smile, or turning around shameful magazine covers (not by wrinkling our noses and acting self-righteously, but in humbly disallowing such shame to be in front of our eyes. My grandmother has this attitude down pat. She is such a graceful inspiration.)

Anyhow, way off track. Once again, lovely article!

Becky March 28, 2011

Thank you so much for this. Very insightful and timely 🙂 Blessings!

Far Above Rubies March 28, 2011

Thank you for the article. It is a timely reminder to many of us.

I learned this lesson many years ago and have been completely content and fulfilled in my home. And when the Lord provides outside opportunities to minister – it comes in very simple forms that often leave a large impact. Praise Him who is faithful.

Cassidy March 28, 2011

Ohhh how I pray to do the same. Beautiful analogy.
Smiles, Cass

Angela @ Homegrown Mom March 28, 2011


Kara March 28, 2011

Loved this post…
My favorite sentence:
“Yet this is how my Lord, my sweet Jesus wishes to receive my thousand dollar life.
In quarters.”
This has been a morning of passing out quarters…thank you for reminding me of their true value.

Amy Doeun March 28, 2011

It seriously is so easy to forget, even in telling people about the amazing things we are learning about how to be content at home. Over the years I feel the Lord leading we to this place of contentment at home and the fundamental importance of it in raising our children for the Lord. But people are begin to ask me questions about how I do it with 4 children, etc. pretty soon it is easy to lose focus. The Lord’s way is really the only way. Thank you for a great reminder.

Arabah Joy March 28, 2011

Ladies, thanks for the great thoughts here. Just a note on the ministry thing… after my youngest 3 all came along in 23 months, I was pretty home bound (still am 🙂 ) and asked the Lord for a way to keep reaching out and serving others. He gave me one simple idea, which will be my post for next month 🙂

Blessings, sisters.

Gary March 28, 2011

Love it!! Thank you

Amanda A Sweet Life Rocks March 28, 2011

Fantastic post!

Sarah March 28, 2011

THANK YOU! for sharing! I needed the visual to drive the point home that $1000 is $1000 whether it is in bills or coins! 😀

MaDonna March 29, 2011

Thanks for a great reminder. I love this post for lots of reasons, but the main one is that it doesn’t matter what country we live in, we all struggle with “giving out quarters.” I think motherhood isn’t always what we dreamed it would be, even when countless people tell the facts. The cold hard facts. So, we get down on ourselves because of the question that haunts us, “What am I really doing for the Lord?” Usually the answer is, “Just changing diapers. Or picking up the home for the 5th (or more) time today. Or…or…or… That’s why this analogy is so great! God loves the $1000 dollars, no matter how you give it to him. He just wants us to give of ourselves to bring him glory.
So, thanks for reminding me that I do have something to give, I just need to look for those opportunities! Great article!

Prudence Promise March 29, 2011

What a good post! THANK YOU! I needed that!

Christin March 29, 2011

Oh my, this is just beautiful!!! Your writing captures me so much! I am so glad you are here! 🙂 Thank you, thank you for that encouragement–for that perspective. One that I need SO, SO much.

Jessica March 29, 2011

Beautiful post! I REALLY needed this reminder!

Charity March 29, 2011

(tears) So beautiful!

Farmer's Wyfe (Pumpkin Pie Painter) March 30, 2011

What a wonderful way to straighten my perspective. Thank you sooo much for this!! So very true, and convicting!

Journey11 April 1, 2011

Thank you for this wonderful reminder of the value of being faithful in the little things. God knows what those little things will add up to, even if we can’t see it from our perspective. This post has been such an encouragement to me as a wife and mother. Thank you! 🙂

Leah April 14, 2011

Very encouraging. Great analogy for Mums.. but could apply to life in general for anyone. We are so busy trying to do the ‘big’ things that we forget the small moments, when added up, mean a life time of ministry.

Brenda May 3, 2011

Thank you so very much for speaking the voice of truth and being a light. You probably have no idea how many people you have touched. There is so many women out there that do not have anyone to talk to and share there heart with and what they are going through. I wanted to tell you about a company that I am a part of. I only wish that I would have found it 10 years ago when I was in the Exact same situation as yourself. So really and truly…I can relate to you. I am apart of Compass..it is a Christian company that has something for every woman. It is a business/ministry to help women create the life of their dreams..whatever that may look like to each person. It has been a life saver for me…especially when maybe you cannot get out or you don’t have much time in a day for yourself. It is also a place where you can encourage one another. We are looking for dynamic woman such as yourself. I would love to talk with you further. If you are at all interested please feel free to email me: mylifecompass.bhilderman@gmail.com or check out my website: http://www.mylifecompass.com/bhilderman
Thank you Arabah you have blessed me and made my day!!!

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