Pinpoint a moment in your past where you had to make a big decision. Write about that other alternate life that could have unfolded.
Marshall had been with the company for several years; nine years in fact. He had worked his way up the ladder, receiving several promotions and raises along the way. He was a valued part of the management team. His bosses often complimented him on his dependability and work ethic. They gave him high marks for this willingness to fill any spot or to help out anywhere and in any way he could.
Marshall was a loyal employee. He knew what his job required. He knew what his bosses and the company heads expected from him. Not only did he meet these responsibilities; but, time after time, he exceeded them.
His co-workers appreciated him too. There had been a couple of co-workers that were jealous of his seemingly easy rise up the corporate ladder. They would make derogatory comments about him behind his back; even to his bosses, trying to deflate the bubble.
Yet, overall, Marshall was a well-liked, well-accepted member of the company. For his part, Marshall wasn’t trying to do anything to gain extra favor with his bosses. He didn’t show up on time or lend a hand to get the attention of the higher-ups; no, he did it, because he felt that was only right. A strong, honest work ethic had been ingrained in Marshall since he was a boy.
Marshall was a devoted family man too. He had a wife and three young children; two boys and one girl. He and his wife had talked about trying for a fourth within the next year or two. He had always wanted a big family. He was an only child and he felt he had missed out early in life by not having a brother or sister or two.
He was also a deeply religious man. He and his family were Christians and attended a thriving non-denominational church in their town. He was involved in the children’s and men’s ministries. Every summer, he went on the annual mission trip to help with construction or backyard bible clubs.
On Thursday afternoon, Marshall was told Mr. Stevenson (his boss) wanted to have a meeting with him the next morning at 10:30. Marshall felt like the meeting was about a new opportunity the company had discussed for the past five or six months. They were creating a new position that promised to reap big benefits for the man or woman who landed it.
On Friday morning, Marshall met with Mr. Stevenson.
Marshall, come in, come in. How are you this morning, Mr. Stevenson asked?
I’m doing well sir. How are you, Marshall asked in return?
Oh, I’m fine Marshall. My golf game could use some work, but other than that I can’t complain.
Marshall sat in the large, over-stuffed brown leather chair in front of Mr. Stevenson’s desk. The two men carried on some small talk for a couple of minutes. Marshall’s curiosity about the nature of the meeting was growing as the time passed.
Well Marshall, let me get to why I called for this meeting this morning, Mr. Stevenson finally said. You know you are a valuable part of our company. You always receive high marks on your annual evaluation and you have proven yourself to be a great asset to our company.
Thank you, Marshall replied.
You know of the new position we have been discussing over the past few months, Mr. Stevenson continued, Well, the long and short of it is, I am recommending you for the position. If you’re interested in hearing more, we can cover a few of the general details now and get into the specifics next week.
Yes sir, I am interested in hearing more, Marshall said, And I would like to thank you for this opportunity.
Yes, well you’re welcome Marshall, Mr. Stevenson said as he lifted some papers from his desk. The long and short of it is this, your pay will be almost doubled from what it is now. Stock options and a few other investment opportunities will also be included.
As Marshall listened, he was trying to do the math in his head. He had no idea the opportunity would be this rewarding.
Mr. Stevenson continued, Now, the one major change would be that you will have to do more traveling than you have had to do before. This position will require frequent trips out of town and even possibly overseas a handful of times per year.
Marshall had not anticipated the travel being this extensive. Exactly how much traveling are we talking about sir, Marshall probed?
Well, Marshall, that’s hard to say, Mr. Stevenson responded, But, we have estimated it will be somewhere in the neighborhood of two-hundred and fifty to three-hundred days a year.
Wow, that much, Marshall said, almost subconsciously, Hmm, will the travel lessen as the position is established over the next couple of years?
No, we don’t anticipate it will, was Mr. Stevenson’s answer. We anticipate the travel will remain about the same for as long as we can forecast anyway.
Marshall immediately felt the conflict within. This was an amazing opportunity. The raise would be exactly what he and his wife had been praying for. They were doing okay financially, but with the prospect of a fourth baby and college funds and the rest, more money was something they were needing.
However, the amount of travel concerned him. He knew if he accepted the position he would be away from his family the majority of the year. He knew he would be less involved in his church and community.
You don’t have to give me your decision today, Mr. Stevenson assured him, take some time. Talk it over with your wife and think it over this weekend. Be ready to give me an answer on Monday afternoon around three or so.
Marshall stood and again thanked Mr. Stevenson for the opportunity and the time to consider it.
That afternoon Marshall drove home trying to sort through the offer. Part of him was telling him he would be crazy not to accept so gracious an offer. It would be crazy to turn down so much more money and the opportunity to invest and build up his savings.
Yet, another part of him cautioned him about the commitment of traveling and being away for such extended periods from his wife and young children. Also, the travel would all but remove him from his ministries at the church, which he loved and felt a special calling to do.
Marshall was torn. He wasn’t sure what to do. He knew many would have taken the position without hesitation. It’s all about the money after all, is what one co-worker always said. But, Marshall felt conflicted and confused.
That night and over the course of the weekend he and his wife discussed their options. They weighed the pros and cons. They considered all the ins and outs to the new position. It would be crazy to pass up such an opportunity. If he declined, he may never get another chance at a promotion in the company again.
Over the weekend, Marshall prayed and prayed. He prayed alone. He prayed with his wife. He took rides in his car, just so he could pray and seek God’s guidance in the decision.
God, I would be crazy to turn it down. I mean think of the extra money and savings. Think of the security for me and my family financially.
On Sunday, he asked his men’s group to pray for him and his family. He spoke with his pastor and requested his prayers.
Marshall knew which ever decision he made, it would impact his family.
On Monday, Marshall awoke and the indecisiveness of the weekend was gone. He knew what he had to do. He knew what he valued and what was ultimately important to him.
After meeting with Mr. Stevenson at three-o’clock he felt as though a weight had been lifted from this shoulders. He knew he had made the right decision. He called his wife after the meeting and told her how it had went.
Yes, it went fine, Marshall said in reply to his wife’s questions. The important thing is I know I made the right choice. God gave me such a peace about my decision, there was no doubt in my mind what I should do.
I love you too honey. And I’ll see you when I get home.