Before I accepted my position at First Parish, my wife, Nora, and I met with a financial planner. We had recently adopted our sons and wanted to be sure that we were thinking carefully about our future and how we would provide for our family. Accepting the position at First Parish not only meant moving our family across the country from California to Maine, but also accepting a substantial pay cut. My starting salary at First Parish was less than my starting salary out of college 10 years earlier.
We were looking for reassurance from our financial planner and an understanding of our way forward. That’s not what we got. Instead, what he told us was – don’t move, don’t take the job. To say his assessment was upsetting is an understatement. I believed that responsible people, make responsible choices, and as a result they care for their family responsibly. The answer that came back from our financial planner was that making this move was irresponsible. I was devastated. I felt like I was choosing following my calling or caring for my family.
Nora and I had to make a choice – accept the “values” of financial planning as our guide or depart from what many would consider “good financial sense” and embrace a different set of values to frame our experiences – for me to allow a different set of values of what it meant to responsibly take care of our family.
This morning’s story about Jesus in the temple is dramatic. I can imagine it being a scene from an action movie. Jesus comes upon a scene where he becomes aware of an injustice.