Money

A Brief Economics Lesson 

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Economics is defined, by dictionary.com, as the science that deals with the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services, or the material welfare of humankind. 

Another way of defining economics is that it is the effective use of scarce resources.  I believe and know that, although some resources may be scarce, the money needed to purchase these resources is not in short supply. 

Money & Success

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It is my belief that any program of success would be incomplete without a discussion about money and finances or more commonly referred to, as economics.  I am not including this principle because money is a measure of success, but because if we learn to manage and use our money correctly, we can do so much good with it for ourselves, the people in our lives and the world around us.  

God Is Not Against Us Being Wealthy 

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“I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields–and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.’clxvii 

I want to point out that God is not against you attaining wealth. If you make sacrifices and give, he will provide you with a hundred-fold return. You don’t have to wait until you get to heaven for that hundred-fold return either. The hundred-fold return is “in this present age.” You must realize that a hundred-fold return on this earth is a very small reward compared to what you get when you arrive in heaven. That is, eternal life. 

Within this scripture, right along with your blessing, Jesus mentions that persecution comes along with your reward. There are many people who become jealous when their friends, family and neighbors attain success. They see others becoming successful as their failure. They may even criticize you for obtaining the very things that they themselves want. 

Are you responsible enough to be blessed? Blessed people always stir up controversy. They tend to offend those who choose to live in mediocrity. Remember, to him whom much is given, much is required. There is a huge responsibility for those people God chooses to become leaders and builders of faith. Hard work and faith will always lead to success. Success will always lead to controversy and criticism. 

Remember this on your journey: “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”clxviii 

“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”clxix  

As I have established, the pursuit of money at all costs is evil. I have seen the scenario played out so many times. A young family just starting out discovers that they want so many more things than what their current income can support. The husband starts working harder and the wife starts working harder. They see less and less of each other and the kids. This is where the family begins to disintegrate. 

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The truth is, all that they must do is stop chasing the money and ask God for their needs and wants. Of course, they need to ask in a spirit of total faith. They also need to pursue the things of God, rather than the things of the world. These things that are worth pursuing are righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Jesus said that if you seek God, “all these things shall be added unto you.”clxx 

I spent my early 20’s fresh out of college working 15 hours a day, “chasing the money.” I always believed in God, but I had the belief that only by working so much would I ever achieve financial success; nothing could be further from the truth. God will take care of you. God will give you all things. He does this when he knows that you are truly seeking Him; not seeking Him just to gain wealth. You must seek the giver, not the gift. Would you want a friend or family member who is more interested in what you can give him or her more than they are in loving you? God feels the same way. 

If you know all of this, why is money such a touchy subject and why do you worry so much about it?  I believe it is because you trade your time for some amount of money per hour or week or year. 

God Bless

Michael at R2W

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Trusting God 

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We don’t make money because we are smart or have more ability than someone else.  We make money because God knows that we need it to function in this world.  He provides and we are meant to do certain things with that provision.  We are trusted to make good decisions and when we do, we are given more.  “But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your forefathers, as it is today.”clxvi  

One of the most harmful traits someone can possess is over reliance on other people.   Being overly reliant on other’s kindness or generosity makes you extremely vulnerable.  I believe that God wants everybody, including you, to be God reliant.  He hasn’t given your ability to produce wealth to someone else such as a long lost relative or a friend who just won the lottery.  You don’t have to wait for unlikely events like these to occur.  You can produce wealth today.   

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When the Israelites became Egypt’s slaves for 400 years, they had nothing to call their own.  Everything they received came from the “generosity” of their masters.  They couldn’t improve their lot in life.  All their initiative and self-reliance was taken away from them.  God however didn’t want them to be reliant on others or even self-reliant; he wanted them to be God-reliant, so he led them into the wilderness. Sometimes we are led into our own wilderness so that we can become God-reliant. 

The freedom from over-reliance on others is a great feeling.  It means that you can now follow God’s plan for your finances without fearing what other people think or say.  I am not saying to reject other people’s help or generosity.  Just don’t depend on it.  Depend on the promises of God. 

God Bless

Michael at R2W

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Weathering Storms 

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The question isn’t will I encounter financial storms in my life?  The question is what do I do when I encounter financial storms?  They will come.  You need to be ready or else you are setting yourself up for disaster.  “Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor.”clx   Take the time now, to prepare, so that when the storms come, you will be ready.  By keeping the following information in mind, you will be able to overcome difficulties and even come out stronger. 

Being Content 

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I am sure many of you have looked out at your neighbor’s house in envy.  There may even have been times when you have gotten jealous at the luxury car that your friend or co-worker drives.  When you see these nice possessions of others, many times you begin to imagine the pleasure and satisfaction that must come from owning these luxury items.  When this happens, you must remember, as hard as it is in the moment that, “contentment makes poor men rich.  Discontent makes rich men poor.”clii  So how do you maintain contentment in a world that is so focused on material possessions?  I have found several things that help. 

Material Wants 

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It is okay for you to have nice things in your life.  In fact, it is important for you to have nice things.  Whether it is a car or a house or any type of luxury item, if you are living correctly then you will have these things.  Treat yourself to the things in life that you want.  Remember though do not use credit.  If you use wisdom and practice stewardship, you will be able to get nice things without credit.   

Wise  Money Decisions 

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It is important for you to begin taking responsibility for your current situation.  You need to start making wise decisions with your money rather than foolish one’s.  For an example of what wise decisions will produce in your life I like to point out the story of the talents in the Bible.cxliii  We all know it, but few of us have actually thought about the decisions made by the three servants and how they apply in our lives.  Basically, the two servants who made wise decisions with the money entrusted to them were given more, while the servant who made a foolish decision was stripped of all he had.  As Dave Ramsey so bluntly puts it, “If you sow stupid, you reap desperate and broke.”cxliv   There are certain things you can begin doing, right now, to help you start making wise decisions with your money immediately and therefore begin reaping the good that comes with these decisions. 

Eliminating Debt 

Living in debt has become a way of life for many people.  In doing this, we have become slaves.  Proverbs 22:7 clearly says, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”cxxxvi  Many people today have been fooled by complex marketing strategies created by today’s mega corporations.  We have been fooled into thinking that debt is an acceptable way of life.  We have been taught that the way to success and prosperity is through the use of loans or credit cards.  In fact, many of the advertisements of today make you believe that you are somehow more important or sophisticated if you have their credit card or loan.  It doesn’t have to be this way.   

Disciplined Saving & Investing 

It’s time to tackle a very troubling habit that we as a society engage in.  It causes us much uncertainty and

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sometimes a great deal of stress.  I am talking about a lack of savings and investing.  “If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as getting.”cxxxii 

The instant gratification that we get from buying “stuff” causes us to fall far short of any savings or investing that we need to live a successful life.  Let’s first look at the facts:  As a society we actually have a negative saving rate.  That means we spend more than we make.  I did some research and found the following information.  In Japan, people on average save 27% of their income.  Here in the United States, that amount is actually negative.  Our average net worth is around negative nine thousand dollars.