I grew up in a poor area of California in the Bay Area, and we didn’t have much. My Dad sold equipment to car mechanics all over Richmond, Oakland, and San Francisco, and we lived a simple life. We didn’t go to the dentist; I didn’t even know what the word orthodontist meant. Our car was a 12-year-old rusty station wagon, and our house carpet was the same color and even older. But every Sunday, at the start of each church service, regardless of our financial situation that week, I saw my Dad take out his checkbook, write a number (it usually had a couple of zeros), he’d drop it in the offering plate, and then worship with his hands lifted high. One of his favorite songs was Jehovah-Jireh, “My Provider; his grace is sufficient for me.” [yes, it was the 80s] Well, that was my Dad, every Sunday that I can remember.
Today, my family and I are fortunate in that all our needs and more are met. I started Parkside Pediatrics in 2006, and with the success that followed, my Dad’s worshipful, open-hand, sacrificial giving to Jehovah-Jireh, his provider, has always stuck with me. My wife, three kids, and I have been blessed by a wonderful church family here at Fellowship Greenville, where we have worshiped for over 19 years. In that time, we’ve been grateful to be a small part of His work at FG over the years. And each time we’ve joined God where He’s working, the spiritual growth we’ve experienced as a family has been so special it’s hard to put into words. Now, I wish I could tell you that it has come naturally and been super easy each time—open hands, just like my Dad. But it hasn’t been. You’d think the more successful we’ve been, the easier it would be to worship through sacrificial giving, hands open wide, but the irony has been that the more I have, the more I feel like I have to control it.
"For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."
The truth is, we all know we’re not in control. The ultimate irony is that the more I try to control money, the more it controls me. When I go from those open hands to fear-triggered, closed fists—it’s actually much more anxiety-provoking and emotionally stressful. However, with open hands, I’ve experienced some of my greatest spiritual growth and freedom from stress over money. It has been through times like these of wrestling with my heart and getting my hands open that have been the sweetest and most joy-filled ever. On a side note, I don’t know what it is with my amazing wife, but her hands are always open. And the way we decide what to give is the two of us pray separately for a few days, and we each come back to the table with a number. Not a “can we afford to do” number, but “what would truly be sacrificial worship?” And the fun thing is, our numbers are usually pretty close—ok, hers is almost always higher—but it’s close and it’s fun to see how God works in our hearts.
Our company’s name is “Tribe513” (sounds like a cult—I know), but it’s actually based on Galatians 5:13, where Paul says we’ve been given this amazing freedom in Christ but don’t waste it just on yourself, use it to love and serve others. And for me, that’s become my meaning in life. For me, there’s no more significant calling than to join God in what He’s doing and to love others the way God has loved me. To provide the way he has always provided for me. He’s truly been my Jehovah-Jireh. Truthfully, I’m not a super smart guy. It was a miracle I got into medical school, let alone became a pediatrician—totally God’s grace. And just as God has provided for so many of you, he has always been my provider, too, and why would I not respond in the same way?