Material Things Just Don’t Count
Ruth and Paul Lindholm could not have met under less ostentatious circumstances. Her father, being a traveling pastor, Ruth’s family did not have a lot of money. So Ruth spent four summers working as a hired hand for Paul’s mother on the family farm in Minnesota. It was not long before the two teenagers caught sight of one another.
“Paul and I used to feed the pigs behind the barn at night,” says Ruth. “That was our dating at first.”
Getting “her college man”
Nevertheless, when it came time for Ruth to go off to college in Kentucky, she decided that perhaps the young farm boy was not her ideal man. As Ruth puts it, she wanted one of those “fancy college men.” But she came to her senses after Paul continued to pursue her, and she and Paul were engaged and married following her first year of school.
It turns out Ruth got her college man after all, because shortly after they were married, Paul started to study business. After earning a four-year degree in two years, he landed his first banking job in a town of less than 2,000 people. Ruth laughs as she recalls Paul sharing the news, because he had taken the job without even telling her. He had also received job offers from several large companies, but he did not want to live in a big city.
Paul started out as a teller. Within two years, he was hired to manage another larger bank. Paul worked at the second bank for seventeen years. During that time, he developed a close relationship with the bank’s owner, so close that the old man promised Paul he could buy the bank after the owner died. However, when the old man’s will was read, it mentioned nothing of their agreement.
It’s only money…
This was a tremendously difficult time for the Lindholms. They knew they had to move on, but by doing so, they would lose a large sum of money invested in the bank. As was their practice, Ruth and Paul wasted no time looking to God for direction. Oddly enough, they got the distinct impression that they should not worry about the loss. A particular Bible verse that hit home to Ruth was 2 Chronicles 25:9. It describes a situation similar to the Lindholms’ where King Amaziah had to choose between losing a lot of money he had spent on mercenaries or following God. When he questioned the prophet who delivered the message to him, he was assured, “The Lord can give you much more than that.” That settled Paul and Ruth’s minds. They knew God would look out for them as well, so they left town in search of their next step.
At the time, two independently owned banks were for sale in Minnesota. One bank, located in the town of Clarkfield, Minnesota, was owned by a man who had inherited it from his father-in-law. He did not like banking, so he was all too happy to sell it to Paul.
Even though the Lindholms did not have a decent place to live for the first three years (they lived in a small schoolhouse at first), Paul’s bank flourished.
“This was in the midst of the farm crisis of the late 1970s and early 1980s, and banks were going down all around, but God showed Paul how to handle it,” Ruth says.
In time, the community also came to accept them.
The Lindholms live in Fergus Falls now, where they own a bank. Most of their family is also involved in the banking business. Looking back on her life, Ruth can point to many instances where God provided for her and Paul or bailed them out of situations when all seemed lost.
“We have had our tough times, but that has been good for us,” says Ruth. “I came from a poor background. We didn’t have anything, and I guess that was helpful in some ways. I realized that material things just don’t count. Being in God’s will is most important. Regardless of what you do, just follow God’s will.”
Surprising words coming from someone whose family’s life has revolved around managing money for the last fifty years. But perhaps that simply means we should heed them all the more.
Do you believe God can provide for your needs as well? If not, let Jesus show you how. If you don’t know Jesus, we encourage you to pray the following prayer:
Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of my life. Make me be the person You want me to be.