How To Get Rich Quick

May 29, 2012 | 42 comments

Kayla is a 22-year-old college graduate. Just two weeks ago, she earned her degree, and she is already one of the richest women I know.

She’s sitting across the dining-room table from me after we clear the supper dishes. She is all these things: poised, articulate, smart, determined. She’s wearing a white dress, and runs her fingers through brown hair that cascades past her shoulders.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from a major university, and she’s got big plans, I tell you.

She’s going to be somebody — a very rich somebody.

Scratch that. She already is a rich somebody. 

“Rich” might be the wrong word for Kayla. A more fitting description: filthy rich.

Kayla is headed for dirt and filth and crazy love — a life of extravagant grace amidst abject poverty. She will spend her days this way: bending low to spy Jesus in the faces of shoeless children with dirty faces.

She reminds me of her Savior, who became poor so that we might become the spiritually rich. Kayla understands the value of her inheritance. She doesn’t invest it in the S&P 500. She is moving to Haiti.

“I’ve got a one-way ticket,” she tells me through a wide smile. She’s not a visitor. She’ll be living there, among the poorest of poor. She’s got a one-way ticket to a fortune. I suspect she’s leaving her newly minted college diploma at home on her bedroom dresser in Iowa.

For Kayla, home is wherever Jesus takes her. She is filthy rich in the possession of Christ, and she’s investing her earnings on God’s children.

I’ve told Kayla before that she reminds me of Katie Davis, a young woman who is mama to many children in Uganda. Katie wrote in her book these words: “I’m face to face with Jesus in the dirt.”

Yes, Katie and Kayla are both filthy rich.

Rich women use phrases like these:

“I’ll have enough.”

“God is faithful.”

“One day at a time.”

“I will follow.”

Kayla is resolute when she says those words. I get the feeling that this 22-year-old woman has more faith in her pinkie finger than I do in my whole body. She’s a Jesus Millionaire, with a small bank account. I want to be like her when I grow up.

I ask a lot of questions over the dinner table, and I listen to her stories. She retells a series of  “God-coincidences” — all of them leading to Haiti. She shares a string of ridiculously wonderful God-Things that happened at just the right time: a certain Haitian man who walked across a certain beach at a certain time. A certain sick baby at an orphanage. A certain group of children in a certain village who just “happened” to steal her heart.And now, all signs point to Go.

To God.

For all of us, the signs have been posted. They point us to a  calling, and to a God. Our life’s purpose is a life of purpose.

Not all signs point to Haiti, but if we’re paying attention, we’ll see the signs that point straight to God in our everyday lives.

Our lives are strings of stories that start with the words, “It just so happened.” But I don’t see always them, unless I’m paying attention. I miss the chance at seeing the miracle — and being the miracle — if I live life with tunnel vision.

The opposite of sight is not always blindness. Sometimes, the opposite of sight is idle indifference.

Madeline L’Engle once said, “Some things have to be believed to be seen.”

Kayla has seen. Because she has believed. No one would blame her if she stayed on American soil, took a nice paying job at a graphic-design company, and hung that nice new diploma on the wall of a cubicle.

But Kayla has seen. She knows how the rich really live. The “About” section on her Facebook page are these seven words: “We live by faith, not by sight.”

For Kayla, rich living is following her Savior
down a narrow path
that leads to Haiti.


Kayla and Haiti children



(Our friend Kayla leaves Wednesday morning for Haiti. Say a prayer for her? Visit her brand-new blog here; rice, beans & love.)


Have you come by to share you own God-incidence story? We all have those stories in our lives that start with the words, “It just so happened…”

I’m eager to read your stories in our growing community of people who are spying the work of Christ all around them. Grab a button below, add it to your post, then link up!

Oh … and this! God-Incidences on the radio. Click the link below to hear a short, 20-second snippet of a recent interview I had with a Life 96.5 .



God Incidences on Life 96.5





 We write in community every Wednesday about the God-Things that make you go, “Hmmm…”

Some call them coincidences. We call them God-incidences. And those goosebumps you get sometimes when you know the Holy Spirit is at work? Yep. They’re God-Bumps.

Want to join the chorus of words for our God? Pick either button above, attach it to your post, tell your story. Then, link up with the weekly post on the Getting Down With Jesus home page! 🙂



by | May 29, 2012 | 42 comments


  1. Michele-Lyn

    When I come to your place, I am not quite sure what the story will be, but I can be sure that God will speak to me through it. I have typed this comment, deleted, and re-typed is several times, because I am just not quite sure how to say, without sounding “cliche” … “I know God has led me here.” God is using your words and your life to shape mine. My eyes read from the screen and I after I am done and close out the window — your words linger long and continue to work on my soul.

    My heart is arrested… God has arrested it. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing yourself with us.

    • dukeslee

      Michele-Lyn … It is so good to be in community with you, and to encourage one another. God is so kind and loving, and He connects us in ways that astound me. You’ve encouraged me and blessed me tonight.

      Kayla is an amazing young woman, isn’t she? It will be fun to see how God uses her in Haiti.

  2. Diana Trautwein

    I tell you, Jennifer Lee-this younger generation is impressing the socks right off me! Thanks for sharing this beautiful story of obedience and joy. (Your link to her blog isn’t working at this moment – it takes me to your ‘are you lost’ page.)

    • dukeslee

      Thanks for the tip, Diana! I’ll fix that. 🙂

  3. Dea

    Thanks for telling us about this “rich girl” and for the link. I am asking God to write Kayla’s name on my heart so I can be one of her prayer warriors.

    I agree with Diana about the young missional generation!

    My friend Alli just graduated from graduate program that has educated her as a reading specialist. She leaves in two weeks to teach in Rwanda for two years. I don’t think she is 22 years old yet!! She knows what she’s in for…it won’t be easy. She prayed God would send her. He said, “Yes.”

    • dukeslee


      God bless you. I’m not at all surprised that you’ve asked God to write Kayla’s name on your heart. You are such a prayer warrior, with a big heart for Haiti! (And for the Lord’s work around the globe.)

      Thank you for sharing about Alli. Praying for her now.

  4. Christina

    I want to be a “Jesus millionaire.” I love her heart of faith, being willing to walk blind with Jesus leading the way. Thanks for sharing, looking forward to reading her blog. Blessings!

  5. Susan

    Hi Jennifer,

    I’m not sure how many hops I’ve made to find your site, but it was worth it for this precious post. I’ve got college kids who’ll be finishing up soon, and I’d surely die from joy if they had the faith and God-confidence of Kayla.

    So happy I found you — Blessings to you today!!

    • dukeslee

      Susan! What joy to have you here. I’m glad you were persistent in making your way here.

      I, too, pray that my children will have the God-confidence to seek their calling — even if it doesn’t make worldly sense.

  6. Rhonda Beckman

    What a beautiful story you have written about Kayla. She is my niece who has a very special place in my heart. God Bless her and all of the work she will do in Haiti. Can’t wait to hear all of her stories. Thank you for your beautiful words about a beautiful young lady.

    • dukeslee

      Rhonda …

      It’s a treat to have you here in the comment box. You have a lovely niece. Do you have plans to visit her in Haiti? … I did have the opportunity to spend the week with Renae in March, and plan to return someday, God-willing.

  7. r.ellott

    Jennifer…what a treasure you has…God has. and I love katie davis…I got to hear here speak(she is from where I live)…and her book…I don’t think I have ever heard a more humble person speaking from a “platform”. (ps. I think I am getting ready to hear another humble servant…ann in a couple of weeks).
    Nothing brings joy to a parents heart than to see their children following hard after God 1JN 1:4.
    Blessings as you prepare to release her to follow God’s heart.
    Oh…I love the grad. pic. did you do that effect?

    • dukeslee

      I would love to hear Katie speak. What an inspiration she is.

      And you get to see Ann? … Voskamp, I presume? Where will Ann be speaking? She’s a delight, a dear friend and is not only engaging and kind — but really fun and funny! Have a blessed time. No doubt, Ann will have a terrific message to share.

      The photo effect: It’s called focal soften on… It was a total overuse of the effect in this case, but I didn’t know how else to make Kayla stand out in the photo. I had considered a big arrow, but that didn’t seem quite right. 🙂

      • r.ellott

        Yes…so mature beyond her years…I am not sure I have ever seen and heard anything like her… and I have seen a heard alot:)
        Yes Ann voskamp is coming to Tennessee…I have a feeling it will be much like listening to katie.

        I love the effect…I could totally tell which on is your daughter…

  8. Joe Pote

    What an amazing story God is unfolding in Kayla’s life.

    Yes, Kayla is rich beyond measure!

    …and so are you, Jennifer!

    • dukeslee

      Yep. … She’s investing in all the right things.

      Thanks for being here, Joe, and supporting and encouraging Kayla with your words in this place.

  9. Deidra

    Filthy rich! I love that.

    Yes. I’m thinking of Kayla as I pack up five years of corporate America in a cubicle of my own. Looking forward to what lies ahead…

    • dukeslee

      Wow, Deidra. We need to talk, friend. I’m VERY eager to hear what God has been speaking into your heart lately.

      You’re a Jesus millionaire, by the way.

      Love you.

  10. JoAnne Potter

    Filthy rich in Christ. Liking that a lot. Makes me think: in Him, is there any other kind? Thanks.

    • dukeslee

      I think you’re absolutely right, JoAnne. Christ is the only King the world has ever known who has stooped so low to save sinners — wretches like me.

      Thanks for being here.

  11. kendal

    missionary stories….love. and i love to see god at work in young people. thank you for sharing this today:)

  12. Paula

    What a wonderful story! I love to hear about others who want to be like Jesus. Who have a heart for serving others. It just makes my heart swell with excitement and joy to know others have the same heart for service. I long to be on the other side of Haiti.. with our own calling to the Dominican Republic. I’m so excited to see the Lord work through this mission trip. Praying for Kayla as she stoops down to look Jesus in the face through those people.

  13. Monica Sharman

    Ah, a spiritual tycoon?
    I’m feeling a rush of gold.

  14. Alicia

    I read Katie’s book on spring break and wanted to move to the red dirt and grow old and rich there 🙂 I’d love to meet Kayla. I have an eight year old who dreams of being a missionary who “loves orphans all day long.” Thanks for sharing Kayla’s inspiring story!

  15. Shaunie Friday

    You (and Kayla) have given a whole new dimension to the phrase “filty rich!” Looking forward to following her story! For each of us, wherever our story with God leads us, we can be just as obedient as this inspiring young woman!

  16. Laura

    Faith of young people can humble and inspire us. Kayla is rich. I love your perspective and that you didn’t squash her with cautionary words and wrinkled eyebrows of concern. What a blessing that must have been for her.

  17. Laurie Collett

    There are no coincidences with God! He knows all, and works all things together for good for those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose. Thanks for the great post and link-up!
    God bless,

  18. Nina

    Thanks a lot for this inspiring story, and for what you made of it. I’ll try to pay more attention to the signs…

  19. Lyla Lindquist

    Jesus millionaire.

    Listen to you. (One of my favorite things to do.)

  20. Alecia

    Wow! So impressed with someone of her age having that kind of faith maturity and dedicating her life to Christ! Truly amazing.

  21. Gina {Seamless}

    I have followed Katie’s blog for awhile now and every time I read, I walk away changed. To see one so completely surrendered to Jesus is beautiful beyond words. Thank you for introducing us to Kayla. I look forward to following the story Jesus is telling with her life. It’s so nice to meet you.

  22. Theresa@HeavenlyGlimpses

    What an amazing woman. Love that confidence in Christ. I don’t know what that feels like at 22. It took me a lot longer to get where I am. Thank you for sharing this inspiring story!

  23. Angie Vik

    I enjoyed reading about Kayla’s trip to Haiti. She is my daughter Kiah’s age and played against Kiah in sports over the years. So neat to see that God got hold of Kayla’s heart and she’s being obedient to His leading.

  24. Kath

    Thanks for sharing Kayla’s story. I’m praying for her in this adventure. I love how it is all part of God’s work in her journey and that we can all find that to point to our purpose, if we look and listen carefully.

  25. Cathy

    Thanks for the opportunity to link up! I’m new here and will be back to read more of your lovely blog! 🙂

  26. David Rupert

    It’s a Wonderful Life — all over again. Give it away.
    What a great example for people of her age — and mine

  27. Lori

    WOW, just….wow. There are no words, when I compare to some kids I know, I want to follow this story! Lori

  28. Jamie

    I wanted to be like Kayla when I graduated, but I got confused, my parents were not supportive, and I didn’t walk her path. Now I am married with kids, and not a day goes by when I don’t wonder when, if ever, I will get to experience the kind of treasure that she will experience. Despite that mistake, I serve an awesome forgiving God, and I have a different story. 🙂

  29. ~ linda

    I am so glad I came by tonight. Such encouraging words I read. Kayla truly is RICH and His. I thank you for linking us up with her website. I just love the picture of the group of boys walking, pushing behind her. Just so endearing. No wonder she is back there. God has a calling for her, indeed.
    loving you, ~ linda

  30. laura

    Jennifer, I so loved hearing your voice. You are such a blessing, my friend. Love to you. Your heart shines so bright.


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