I will never forget the day in March 2014 when my husband came home from work and proclaimed he had good news. Since he started his business around the same time as the BP Gulf oil spill (2010) he was eligible for a handsome sum of money. A lawyer friend had contacted him and was going thru his firms financials to submit a claim. I just looked at Matthew and said “Oh so the reason your firm didn’t make a lot of money the first year was because of the oil spill.?” He looked at me and said “no.” I then responded, “Well then thats not your money.” He paused and I watched to see his response. “You are right. I wont take it.” to which I responded “Good, I can stay married to you now.” You see, in my mind I would not be equally yoked in my marriage if my husband was a thief. I was relieved that Matthew passed the test of character. By the way the amount was estimated to be $460,000. dollars. Yes – thats half a million dollars we declined. The next morning Matthew sent this email to his lawyer friend:

I want to first start by thanking you for your suggestions and looking out for me in the most sincerest way.  I would also like your office to calculate any and all hours spent to date on this and please bill me.  I have ran into a bit of a moral roadblock.  I have been so busy with this city park that this past evening was the first time I had the chance to talk to my wife about this.  

In summary, I am probably entitled to a settlement from the enormous brick wall we hit in the economy with my prior architectural firm PKStudios, where I was the “K”.  When I left there in the last part of 2009 to start my own firm, I had modest expectations to do business in Old Naples and focus on houses and commercial projects under my area of expertise.  Since then, our firm popularity exploded and that is why we had such a revenue difference between 2010 and now.  In good faith, I don’t see how I could justify any of the income difference to be of the fault of the oil spill.  I was simply starting from scratch and was at the right place, with the right talent, selling the right product at the right time.  I also had the backing of right standing which I contribute to my success.

As you probably know, Trista is an ordained minister and often teaches on living life in the right way.  With this, we have taken a family approach to try to live life at the highest possible standard and gaining from something like this when not internally justified does not meet our vision.

I hope you understand where we are coming from and I also hope you know this has absolutely nothing to do with you or your business.  You are highly respected and I know you do everything you can to look after your client’s best interest.  I also like you very much as a friend and you will be the first that I call for any business related law services I require.   With us and this particular situation, it is just something we would struggle with.


Matthew Kragh, AIA, NCARB

I was never so proud of him as in that moment. Thus, my email response to him when was this:

God will honor you for operating with integrity -with more blessings in our lifetime than this settlement would of ever gotten you. 
You passed the test. 
I’m proud to be your wife!!!! – Trista Sue

I was so proud that Matthew passed the test, I even sent the email to my mentor, Dr Myles Munroe. Here was his response:

Dear Trista, (Matthew),
It is a breathe of fresh air and exceptional inspiration to read Matthew’s letter and to see the integrity and Character it manifests. I am so proud of him and know that because he took such a high stand in the arena of business the Lord will open BIG DOORS in the next three month!!  Get Ready! I personally want to give Matt my highest respect. You both make me proud associated with you and to see the ethical and moral foundations you are laying for Maverick. “He has great parents”! 
God bless you both and I love you also.

In His Kingdom service,
Myles Munroe

What I noticed in Dr Munroe’s email was he shifted to the next generation. Most people don’t understand that our decisions do effect the generations to follow.

I’ve have religious people say “Oh, that was God blessing you.” or “I would of taken the money.” Thats deceitful. Those gray areas can get you in a lot of trouble down the road. Clearly God was testing us. It was all a set up to see if He could trust us with more. Herein lies another key principle: When you are faithful in the little things, than God can trust you and knows you will be faithful with more. (Luke 16:10)

I just recently found out that a few of Matthews friends did submit start-up business claims with that same lawyer friend and were all denied. Therefore as it turned out, we wouldn’t of received a settlement anyways, but now our intentions are proven to be clean before God.

Regarding the 3 month time frame Dr. Munroe referred to in his email response, Matthew did receive a large job to develop with an entire island in the Caribbean. He said it was enough work to last him 20 years. He said it was enough work to last him until our baby son, Maverick went to college! Imagine that – getting a contract so large it will be supplying you with 20 years worth of work! Now thats Kingdom.

(At the time of this writing (2021) we have 7 regional offices that cannot even handle the work load. Matthew’s firm (MHK) is extremely successful.)
If we would of taken the $460,000 then that is all we would have and one day it would run out. Since we did not claim what did not rightfully belong to us, then God blessed us with 100x’s more wealth than that $460,000 would of ever given us.

That same year I passed a $100,000 test. I declined money that was rightfully due to me through the hotel, however the way it was presented to me would of been under the table. Therefore, I had no choice but to decline.

Even Jesus himself was tested. Regarding His baptism, the authority sanctions your gift, but you still can’t be trusted. Therefore immediately Jesus was lead by the Holy Spirit to the desert to be tested. Even God had to test his own son. When He is satisfied with your testing, then God gives to you without measure. Never trust anyone who hasn’t passed the test or been tested. You are promoted in the Kingdom by testing. Do not become a proverb for people to talk about.

If God is going to use you greatly you must pass the same 3 tests that Jesus passed.

1st test is appetites of the flesh: this includes food, drink, drugs and sex.
2nd test is for desire for fame, instant success
3rd test is desire for power

You keep going through problems because you didn’t pass the test. Don’t be tempted by the long-cuts, which are disguised as short-cuts. My recommendation is to always stay in right-standing with His government and pass the test the first time and God can entrust you with more.

This is an excerpt from Trista Sue Kragh’s book Figure It Out which can be found on
The School of Influence for Agents of Change is an e-course is available for anyone looking to pinpoint their purpose and document their life vision. Decide to live an intentional, fulfilling life by serve your gift to your generation.