About the Author

Michelle Reyes, Ph.D., is an Indian American pastor’s wife, writer, and activist. She is also the Vice President of the Asian American Christian Collaborative and writes regularly on faith, culture, and justice. Michelle lives in Austin, TX with her husband and two kids. Follow her on IG @michelleamireyes.

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  1. Michelle,
    You are very gracious to those who ask such inane questions. I would have been tempted to say, “So I see you’ve never read a book on manners?!” So true that the world weighs what you do with a very different metric than God. I know one day you will receive a glorious crown and a “well done good and faithful servant.” Though I know that’s not why you do it – for accolades – your ministry is an outward action of a deep commitment and that is something that is sorely lacking these days. God bless you for the work you do. A mentor of mine once asked me, “If the ONLY thing you received in this world was your salvation, would you be content?” I had to ponder that for awhile. The children I work with in the Middle East…that is basically ALL they have and they are some of the most joyous people. Really our salvation and our relationship with the Lord is ENOUGH. Everything else is just icing on the cake. Your post was an excellent reminder of that Truth!!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Hi Bev, thanks for your encouragement! I didn’t know you work with kids in the Middle East. I’m sure our ministry journeys have a lot in common! And, yes, amen! The Lord is always enough. Keep on pressing on, sister.

      • All of us don’t need more BUT WE ALL NEED MORE COFFEE AND ALOT OF JESUS

  2. Jeremiah Burroughs said it better than I ever could:
    “Contentment comes, not so much by way of addition, as by way of subtraction.”
    Rather than adding to our possessions in hope that the pile will one day satisfy, biblical contentment carves down our desires until they equal what our loving heavenly Father chooses to provide. This is incomprehensible to our North American way of thinking and accumulating!
    Thank you for choosing the narrow road, found by few, but leading to blessing.

  3. ” Good question! Because we really didn’t want to….”
    (Smile)
    “Could you pass the mayo?”

    Do what you feel is right and surround yourselves with other who feel the same.
    Blessings x

    • Your comment made me smile. “Pass the mayo” 🙂 haha. You’re so right, though. We need to surround ourselves with godly men and women who have the gospel as their focus and who can keep pushing us/encouraging us in the midst of life’s trials and difficulties. I will be praying for that for all of us today!

  4. Funny that this came in my email this morning and I took the time to read it first thing. I had another devotional that spoke to worshipping with our money and I prayed that God would purify my heart and make the things of this world not as important as serving His kingdom. That I would give like the widow with her two kites – out of a clean and pure heart and not worry about whatever else.
    Thank you Michelle and thank you Lord for this blog. I know you are speaking to me Lord. I hear. Help me listen AND obey! I tend to just hear but not always good at obeying. So help me Holy Spirit, as you are my Counselor, my Teacher, my Guide.
    Many blessings.

  5. I truly agree with you on this. To find contentment in all that we do. I have always taught this to my kids that it’s not about how much you make that will make you happy, it’s about what will make you full of contentment that matters. We get so caught up with making more and having more in the life that we don’t realize we already have more than enough. Money is needed to survive but it’s a tool to help us get from here to there. I am not saying we shouldn’t want better and drop everything and live as if we are back in the 1800s but we should be good stewards of what we have. I have a job that I enjoy, a house to shelter me and a car that takes me where I need to go. I have more than most people in other countries and that makes me more rich than anything money can buy. Don’t let this world tells us what we we need to be happy. We are already full and rich with God and through Him will we learn He is enough! Thank you for sharing this!

    • Maylee, thank you for your perspective. You’re so right in that American Christians are so much wealthier than the rest of the world. Even most of us who are considered “poor” here in America are still richer than the poor in other countries. We have MUCH to be grateful for, and sometimes an outside perspective is just what we need to see past our own lives.

  6. All I can say is THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

    I am in the process of transitioning into full-time ministry and this post is affirmation and confirmation. The American way – hmm, or God’s way? God’s way is better. I understand what I am walking into and I believe that His plans for me are good. I believe that someone needs to see what a surrendered life looks like and a vessel readily available to be used by God. It is my prayer that I will remain steadfast, unmovable, always walking the grace and humility of God’s direction.

    I am not sure when or how it was communicated that you had to be poor in order to serve God. I know there have been various messages about prosperity and poverty.

    Matthew 5:1-11
    Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.

    The Beatitudes
    He said:

    3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    4 Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
    5 Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
    6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
    7 Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
    8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
    9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
    10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for, in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

    You are a woman with an earned Ph.D. and being used by God is encouraging for those that struggle with accepting the call to disciple others.

    • Oh, praise God! I’m so excited for you as you are beginning full-time ministry. I pray that God will strengthen you and equip you for the road ahead. May you always keep your eyes fixed on him, and he truly will be enough. My husband and I always remind ourselves that we do ministry for an audience of one 🙂

  7. Michelle, these words hit home for me so much. Four years ago I left my career to be at home with my kids and work for my husband. It cut our income down drastically but the gain of investing in our family (and ministry) has paid dividends. I am saving this post as a clear reminder to me when the enemy tries to tell me it was a wrong choice. I know that our lives are better for it, regardless of what it’s done to the family budget. But the questions we get from friends or the people who no longer include us in their circles can be hard. Our children have had to learn two different lifestyles in their short lives, but it’s been the hardest on our oldest who is now 15. She just shared with me (just last week) that she is incredibly grateful I left the workforce and came home to invest more fully in their upbringing and to see me working alongside her dad. Her words were nothing short of a gift from God – reassurance that yes, living content, is enough, and anything beyond that is me chasing my own desires that are steeped in our culture. Praying blessings over your family today as you continue to spread His word.

    • Jennifer, thank you for sharing your story and inviting me into your life today. I praise God for how he’s working in you and your family, and that you feel at peace about your choice to stay home with your kids. My favorite book of the Bible is Ecclesiastes, and this book constantly reminds us that all God requires us in this life is to work hard, honor him and enjoy our time with our family and loved ones. The rich are rarely happy or content. Better to be a poor man who loves and is loved by his family then to enjoy the big feast all alone. I’m paraphrasing 🙂 So, enjoy your sweet children and know that God is pleased with you and your husband and will never cease to provide for your daily needs.

  8. Perhaps the verse to allow them to read would be I Timothy 6:3. Stay the course, you are reaching those who need you the most. Matthew 6:1 says, “Don’t do your good deeds publicly to be admired by others or you will lose the rewards from your father in heaven. When you give to some one in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do, blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity. I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, give your gifts in private and your father, who sees everything will reward you! Don’t do your good deeds publicly to be admired by others or you will lose the rewards from your father in heaven when you give some one in need don’t do as they hypocrites do blowing trumpets and synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity I tell you the truth they have received all the reward they will ever get but when you give to someone in need don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing keep your gifts in private and your father receives everything will reward you!

  9. I’ve said often that we follow a “prosperity gospel” without officially calling it that. It shows up in comments like this. In the ways we think that people who live in poverty by default don’t know Jesus. How successful ministry is determined by all that you mentioned above – which would mean that Jesus blew it.

    • Amen, Kim! We have a long and sad history of thinking that the poor (the homeless, the sick, the ones “not making it”) are somehow less moral, less godly and less successful than those who are rich. Christians are no different. We have to fight against this lie with every inch of our being. Also, very good perspective on Jesus’ life and ministry! I think that’s an excellent starting point in any discussion on this subject (I’m taking notes!).

  10. You are a hero! It’s refreshing to me to witness others willing to live without striving for more, more, more! I pray I’m modeling the same to my children. It takes intention to avoid being caught up in the swift current of our culture’s demand for riches.

    • Thank you, Missy! I hear you. Sometimes, I too wish that my kids could have “more” – more things, more experience in certain activities or access to certain places. But I also know that in NOT having everything, they are also learning the path of contentment, of being grateful for the little things and enjoying time with people more than they enjoy experiences and/or things. Keep pressing on momma! You are doing good work in the lives of your little ones.

  11. I go to a Salvation Church and we don’t have that many in it But we are very rich in the teachng we get in Gods word. We have from lovely Salvation Army Officer and sometimes his wife also. It not about the crowd The world today and too many Christians want the latest mobiles latest ipads or latest cars if they have the money or big houses. You can’t take it with you when you leave this world. Some Christian and non Christians are not happy until they have these things in life. I am so happy to have roof over my head to have a bed to sleep in so is my Husband and both of us to be saved. Plus he is so thank full to have a job to go too every day. When you look at people in our world today sleep on streets who don’t have food etc. We came into the world with nothing and we will go out with nothing. We shoud be content for when we have all that God gives us. Me and my Husband tithe the first tenth of all the money we earn to God before taxes to our Church. As we know and it scriptural. It says in Phil 4 verse 19. My God shall supply all our needs according to his riches in Glory. So he does. He never never lets us down. As it was God who gave us the strength to earn that money. So we give are right to give some of it back to him. We give even to him work to help thoes in need in our places in the world. You guys are doing a brilliant work. You might not get your reward on this earth. But you will get in in Glory when your time up on earth. Remember you are not doing it on to man you are doing it on to Jesus. One day you will get your reward for doing that. No matter what people on this earth say too you. Don’t listen to them. God has a big big smile on his face at the kindness you guys have for the work you do. In his time he will reward you. Even thow you might say at times is this worth it. Yes it is say too yourselves. God is smiling down on you. Thank you for being so kind to theses people and being the hands and feet of Jesus to them. If they are not saved. Through your kindness they could get saved. Excellent reading Love Dawn xxx

    • Hi Dawn! Thank you for these encouraging words. I say, yes! And Amen! God promises that he will clothe us and feed us like the flowers in the field and the birds in the air. He does NOT say we will have a certain square footage or a certain name brand or grocery budget…He certainly doesn’t promise organic or white picket fences or Starbucks coffees or Orange Theory gym memberships or…fill in the blank. Christ satisfies more than all these things. Even Jesus in the desert knew that choosing right was greater than choosing bread. Like you said, we need to start being more grateful just for having a roof over our head. Thanks for this!

  12. Thank you for sharing. Been personally struggling with contentment in Christ and why to keep pressing on in serving. God Bless, dear sister.

  13. Amen, Sister!

    Psalm 16:5-6

    Love from your neighbor just a little south in San Antonio 🙂 ,
    Kellylynn

    • Thank you, Kellylynn! Grateful for your encouragement and the Bible verse. Very cool that you are in SA! If you ever visit Austin, come visit us at our church in East Austin (Hope Community Church) 🙂

  14. Thank you for these encouraging words today. Just like the reader above I too have been struggling with contentment in Christ by wanting to live a complete life of comfort where my wants take priority over my needs while feeling that I cannot be a witness for Christ unless I have a certain lifestyle to prove myself. You are a wonderful example; may God bless you, your husband and beautiful children.

    • Thank you, Sharah-Ann, for your honesty and for inviting us into your life. Being content with little is HARD, especially in America. We naturally compete in everything and looking at each others picture-perfect IG accounts and Pinterest profiles does not help. Here’s a crazy truth: God does not want us to be happy. He wants us to be holy. Holiness means stripping away everything that hinders us from keeping our eyes on Christ. May that encourage you as you continue to reflect and pray over what areas of your life may need to change. Let people see Christ, not our comforts. Praying for you today, sister.

  15. God bless you and your husband! Don’t listen to negative people! My son & his wife wanted to be missionaries for the Southern Baptist Convention & they required them to graduate from college, work in their line of work for two years & both be 25 years old. They had excellent jobs; but the same week, my DIL was 25, they were accepted. They gave away or sold almost everything within two weeks & went to the training center & were sent as missionaries to Africa. The comments made were awful & some family members never had anything to do with them the whole 15 years they were missionaries. They were where God wanted them to be & were used by Him. So I understand where you are coming from. May you continue to listen to God & He gives you His peace that truly passes all understanding! GOD LOVES YOU!

    • Oh, Frances, my heart hurts to hear the story of your son and daughter-in-law. I hear stories like this far too often (and have personally experienced similar comments too). When did making six figures become more important than winning people to Christ? American Christians have their priorities all wrong. I’m grateful for the work they are doing (or did) in Africa, and I know God is pleased with them. They have their priorities right! Next time you see them, please give them a big hug from me!

      • Thanks Michelle! Praise God that David & Tami are only two hours away now! He is Youth Pastor at their church plus he works with college students at the Baptist Campus Ministries at UF. No, he does not make much money; but he loves what he does & says that is where God wants him to be. Tami is a PA in a doctor office. They are coming home on Sat for a visit so I will give them your hug :o) I used to read my kids the story about “The Little Engine That Could” so that is how I think of you & your husband making a difference by thinking you can! God bless yo’all!

    • Frances, I totally understand what you are saying. My hubby’s cousin was a pastor of a church and when he and his wife with 4 young kids decided to leave everything and become missionary in China, most of the congregation could not understand why. They both had great jobs, a house and were on their way to what the American dream was all about but they heard God’s calling on them. They pursued what He wanted for them. They are still missionaries and could not be happier. Three of their kids had graduated from college and are pursuing mission work and I know they could not be who they are without listening to this calling. We are so proud of them and the continued work they are still doing. Following His plan even when others do not understand is the right thing to do. Praying for your son and daughter in law as they serve our Awesome God and may they be the light for those who need the love of Christ…

  16. I’m so sad to hear that people serving Christ and Yahweh can be so rude . you have served and loved serving by the sounds of it , we never answer to those who come at us with judgement and ignorance. they simply don’t deserve a answer. Being christian doesn’t mean we take rudeness from ” fellow christians “, it means we do what we are called to do whether people get it or not. stay strong and don’t bother with these things people are asking. shake it off and continue in your ministry. some hold great value in cash / income / riches above anything so just recognize that and be proud you’re not one of them.

  17. Michelle,

    Thank you for your service!! People in ministry are unique & have a deeper love for Christ & His people. This world says do more, have more, bigger is better. God turns that thinking upside down. I remember sitting in my apartment years ago thinking “oh if I had house with garage, & other things then I would be happy.” I quickly realized that is only “stuff” that will rust & fade away. Since that time I have grown exponentially as a Christian. I care more about people & their well being than having stuff. For me vacations are mostly a waste of money. I couldn’t care less about the latest greatest whatever. Helping people gives me satisfaction far more than stuff ever could. One day I was visiting my dad at the assisted living. It was lunch time & he was sitting in the middle with a man on either side of the table. He had tremors that made it hard to feed himself. I offered & he allowed me to feed him. The man on the right said “you will get jewels in your crown for this”. It made me feel good to know I was able to help my dad, especially since I had recently quit a full time job to be there for him. Now I assist in “Feed the multitude” -where we serve meals to less fortunate-usually once a month. If there are casseroles or any food left over I take one to my in-laws who have multiple health issues including cancer. Also get some food for my elderly neighbor living alone. Nothing delights me more than this. Thank you again for your service & for teaching your children how to love & serve God.

    Blessings 🙂

  18. This post reminds of that Truth that says that “Though he was rich, for your sakes He became poor, that through His poverty, we might become rich.” Not necessarily referring to material riches that American Christianity might think. My name has two meanings: “God’s grace” and “wealthy.” In our natural sense, according to American Christianity I am poor, but maybe in God’s economy I’m considered “rich”?:) I was saved when I was 8 years old and blessed to have grown up in the church. But it’s so easy to compare my life to my family…they’re taking these vacations, etc. Not saying they’re wrong it’s just easy for me to forget to be thankful for the essentials and want all the”extras.” 🙂 Lord help us to be thankful and content with what we have. Thank you Ms. Michelle for writing this.

  19. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is so frustrating sometimes when we are asked questions like this. Not too long ago I was in a conversation with a coworker about the purpose of our efforts at work. She said she is working to “please the office manager because she is doing the performance reviews with her”. I had to pause for a moment and said a quick quiet prayer asking for words of wisdom on how to respond. And sure enough, her question came right there: Why are you putting all the effort into your job? She knows that I am a follower of Jesus Christ and is usually very tolerant in our conversations. I don’t hide my belief or my faith, but I am very considerate of the people around me to not throw it into their face. I felt prompted to say: “you know what, I am grateful to God for having this job and that’s whom my glory goes to, it goes to God.” She strongly disagreed with me on that but it does not affect our work relationship…and that is what I really appreciate.
    Jesus really is all we need…everything else comes with it. That makes me being very content with what I have, just enough to meet my needs and to give to others in need.

    Thanks for all the encouraging comments.

    Bless you all,
    Vera (from Canada)