If I Were a Rich Man...

Lord who made the lion and the lamb,
You decreed I should be what I am.
Would it spoil some vast eternal plan?
If I were a wealthy man.

- Teyve the Milkman

The quote above is from the song "If I were a Rich Man" from the musical "Fiddler on the Roof".

Fiddler on the Roof is the story of a hard working milkman named Teyve, and his life with his wife and five daughters (Five children.. As in a "Father of Five". I can connect with Teyve on some level). It is set in czarist Russian in or around the 1900's. If you are a dad, and you have not seen this movie. Do so. It's one of my all time favorites, as is the musical soundtrack.

While I can not completely understand all of Teyve's struggles, I can associate with what I view as his "overall plight", that being a desperate attempt to continue living his life. A life without trials, without tribulations, and without turmoil. As God presents Teyve a problem, he struggles to solve, adapt, or come to terms with it. As soon as God's first hurdle is dealt with, along comes another one for Teyve.

On an unrelated note, and for the record; (assuming you are familiar with the story) I have the most difficult time accepting Teyve's decision in dealing with Chava. I can understand a strong devotion to one's faith, and clinging to traditions - but Chava is his daughter.... My heart aches for both Teyve, and Chava....

What does Fiddler on the roof, and "If I were a Rich Man" have to do with your life FOF?

Well, as many of you have read over the past two weeks, I put in an extra 84 hours last pay period. That's 84 hours above and beyond my regular 80 hours. 84 hours of overtime! I was expecting to see a paycheck that would cause my bank manager to wonder who I robbed, and that would (at least for one "two-week period") make ME feel as if I were a rich man...

Like Teyve, I too have recently asked God if it would spoil a vast eternal plan, if I were to (even for a brief moment) be a wealthy man.

You see, yesterday I received a call from the mechanic working on my car. He told me that the repair job was complete, but also told me that (and here comes the Teyve "Fiddler on the Roof" moment....) the repair did not solve the problem. The bad valve box (while bad and needing to be replaced), resulted in some internal damage that caused the ultimate failure of the transmission. The entire transmission needed to be rebuilt...


Voila... Gone before I even had my hands on it... I did not even get a chance to cash it all out in "ones", make a huge pile of it on the floor, and roll around the pile in a perverse sort of greed induced hysteria (cough, cough.... Not that I actually considered doing such a bizarre thing... cough, cough)

But, being the "glass is half full" sort of fella I am, I will turn the table, and relish the fact that although I will have no money left over when it's all said and done... I will not have had to pull from savings (aka, the kids tuition), or fill up a credit card with the repair.

Unbeknownst to me, I have been provided a means in which to get this otherwise overwhelming repair done with little "pain" in our day to day budget, and so I will be thankful for that. It is a matter of faith for me. I truly believe that in many ways (this being one of them) the Lord helps his own in their times of need.

So, when I lament about my lost "fortune", I will be looking around to see all that I have (a wonderful wife, loving happy children, good friends, food, shelter, and a few other amenities to make the journey a little bit easier... What more can I ask for.

I truly AM a "rich" man!


  1. Just wait until you are walking #'s 4 and 5 down the isle and hear the song "Sunrise Sunset" playing later on in the ceremony! You will feel a connection to Teyve like NEVER before! Sorry to hear about the car man, I have the same situation with the Grand Am, I will know how much I WILL be taking from savings after tomorrow!

  2. I know how you feel. The Lord truly blesses us, but so often just enough to get by. It would have been emotionally easier to know about the car before the extra money, but that's not how life works. I am getting so that I start to worry, ok wonder?, when I get a small increase. What problem is coming that this blessing is for?

    I love Tevye. I want to learn to truly converse with the Lord as he does. I too often merely say my prayers. Tevya shares his heart with total faith that the Lord hears and understands even though he may not always (or even usually) answer as one might hope.

    You are a rich man because you recognize your blessings. And then you share that wealth with others.

  3. Barbara...

    I have always had an interest in (and respect for) Religious beliefs throughout the world (I took voluntary "World Religion" classes in both High School, and College...).

    Your blog, and another blog I read, have peaked my curiosity surrounding your religion of choice. I have been trying to educate myself with the workings of your Faith.

    As a practicing Catholic - I find weekly worship a pretty structured format. It's memorized prayers, full of routine and ritual. Stand, pray, sit, listen, stand, sing, kneel, etc..

    On many levels, I do enjoy this type of worship - yet on the other hand, I have been able to find myself (like Teyve) able to converse with God. In fact, I would say that my personal prayer time consists more of "talking" with God than formal prayers - and often when I am alone... I am talking out loud.

    I hope that I have not come across offensive here.. That is not my intention at all.. I respect all people's religious choices, and have always been accepting of others. I just wanted to share a little bit of my faith based experience, while acknowledging yours as well.

  4. Wow, that's totally how I view my relationship with God. I talk, I wait and listen for an answer. It's been that way all my life. I may not get the answer in the same way all the time, but I always get an answer when I listen. Listening is the key, of course. I don't always keep still and open.

    I was going to say there are no coincidences. It's sad that your extra hours went directly into your car, but, like you said, the money was there when it would have had to come out of another fund. We are blessed, aren't we? I firmly believe that nothing happens to me that doesn't benefit me, even if it seems hard. God never gives us more than we can handle if we turn to Him.

    If you want a shockingly unstructured format for weekly worship (compared to, say, a Catholic mass) you should check out one of our chapels. Everyone's welcome anytime. I remember praying when I was a missionary and we had an investigator to church who had never been before that someone wouldn't stand up and say something totally crazy, especially on the first Sunday of the month when any person can get up to the pulpit and bear testimony.

    And I am also not sure why you thought you might be offensive. There is absolutely nothing offensive in one person sharing his genuine faith with another. I was gratified to read it. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I know that often times people come across as "MY faith is better than YOUR faith", or "Your faith is not the REAL faith", or "there is something wrong with your faith" - and I just wanted to make sure that I was NOT making it sound that way...

    As I have read up on some of the history of your Faith, I can see that it has (over the years) been treated with what I would consider a lack of respect - or even worse.

    I was just trying to be "uber-careful" to be respectful, and not IN ANY WAY offend anyone about their religious heritage.

    Glad to know that I did not come across that way! Thanks Eva!

  6. I looks like your glass isn't only half full. It's overflowing. You are correct, wealth isn't only measured in dollars.

  7. Great outlook. I was thinking the same thing before you said it. No, you don't have the extra capital that you were hoping, but you didn't get the devastating blow of the bill without a means to pay it without suffering. God's plan is working out for you.

  8. You know, the spoilsport in me would point out that God would put family before work and then, If you believe my pastor, all ya got's ta do is pray and God will take care of all your needs...

    Yeah, I quit putting all my eggs in that basket a long time ago. I'm more a believer in the, "If you love God and do all things for his Glory, then he'll take care of you."

    The "how" of the taking care of part, I believe, is open to all manner of discussion.

    But you're blessed, even if after a long night of calls, you don't feel like it.

    And now...MLI calls for me to put him to bed and while I'd love nothing more than to not move from my current position, I too must remember how blessed I am and go tuck him in.
    Good Night!

  9. Re: your comment on my comment

    People of my faith tend to view religious tolerance with utmost respect, considering what religious intolerance has done to so many people, people of my faith definitely included. And you can call me "Mormon" cause it doesn't bother me in the least.


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