Future-Ready: Dollars and Sense
My son-in-law has no problem asking questions - good questions:
How Can We Wisely Position Ourselves for the Future when it comes to Finances?
This is an excellent question, especially because of the mixed financial report card coming out of the United States and other places. Two very important skills we should have in order to be future-ready involve:
1. Time Management;
2. Money Management.
Truth is that if you cannot handle time and money, it will also be a challenge to handle the most important issues that money cannot buy, like family, learning, faith and the future.
If we are going to be future-ready when it comes to finance, we need to harness the following mindset and skills:
Money Matters & Financial Freedom
No matter how ‘spiritual’ we want to be, we have to learn how to handle money. We are not to worship it but neither are we to mishandle, either. Jesus Christ spoke about money matters more than we realise. Our true spirituality can often be measured with by our attitude and actions with money. Luke 16:11 Jesus says: If you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust true riches? Your goal is not to be wealthy to cater to your greeds but to have ‘financial freedom’ to meet all your needs. This means you are able to pay your bills, care for your family, enjoy the future, without financial worries. Worse than a physical disease, financial worry is depressing and distressing. The alternative is financial freedom; but this does not happen by default, but by design.
Put God First
Many Godly people endorse the principle of tithing, which means giving one-tenth of your gross salary or increase to God. This practice was done by the favoured patriarchs in Genesis (Abraham and Jacob explicitly tithed), which long preceded the ‘Law of Moses.’ So it is not a legalistic issue; it is a faith issue, since that was the great legacy of the patriarchs, who were exceedingly prosperous.
Why tithe? It settles the ownership question - everything belongs to God. Truth is that everything belongs to God (Psalm 24:1), and that includes our money, to which we are mere stewards. Think about it - as long as it is ‘my money,’ you carry all the burdens and baggage that goes with it. This includes not having enough and worrying that what we do have will disappear. Proverbs tell us that money has wings and flies away (23:5); try watching that happen. I have heard of Christian multi-millionaires who, despite having lots of money in the bank, worry nightly that the money will soon disappear. That’s not financial freedom; it’s bondage! Owning the money means owning the worries.
For this reason, we tithe on our gross income, not the net. Why? Because if you tithe on the net, that means that the government took out its portion before God gets His. Then how can He be first in such a scenario? In reality, your gross income is your ‘real income,’ not what is left after taxes.
However, when you settle the issue that everything you have belongs to God, then God carries all the weights and burdens. You are free. Even if the money disappears, God has this wonderful ability to make it reappear. Those who tithe acknowledge divine ownership and they are freed from worry and fear. In the famous tithing passage of Malachi 3:8-12), the following blessings are promised:
1. Open Heaven: God promises to open the windows of heaven and pour out such a great blessing you will not have room to receive it. You cannot out-give the LORD. What ever you give to Him, He will return to you manifold (Luke 6:38 - Give and it shall be given).
2. Devourer in retreat: God also promises to rebuke the devourer for your sake. Whether it is a broken car, malfunction of appliances in the home, unexpected accident, God will either preserve you from these things or, if they come, He will deliver you.
3. Blessing: All those who practice tithing regularly attest to its blessed effects. I have never yet met a tither who regretted his or her practice. References include Genesis 14:20; 28:22;, Proverbs 3:9-10; Luke 11:42. If you think tithing is only an Old Testament practice, do you seriously think that God would want you to give less in the New Covenant than what He required in the Old? Through Jesus Christ God gave us His all for us, and He is only requiring a tenth in return. Give it a try. You only have your financial burdens to lose.
PART TWO, we will learn some other winning principles of money management.