Biblically Based Money Management Planning
Exodus from Debt Valley, Step 1
Psalm 105:37 “He (God) brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person (weak, without force or effectiveness) among their tribes.”
1. Earn all you can: Take a Talent Inventory
The first step in your exit plan should be Earn All You Can according to the Law of Responsibility. We are responsible as believers to rise to the level of our giftedness, that is, be a good steward of the giftings and talents God has bestowed on us.
Honestly examine and answer these questions:
- Are you passionate about your work? What drives your passion? (Motive?)
- Do you work “as unto the Lord?”
- Are you “under-employed” for your experience and talents?
- Are you willing to take on more work “for a season”? (Avocation or Hobby)
Let’s consider Elijah’s Seven Steps to Prosperity for the widow from II Kings 4:1.
1 Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Eli’sha, “Your servant my husband is dead; and you know that your servant feared the LORD, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” 2 And Eli’sha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house, except a jar of oil.” 3 Then he said, “Go outside, borrow vessels of all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. 4 Then go in, and shut the door upon yourself and your sons, and pour into all these vessels; and when one is full, set it aside.” 5 So she went from him and shut the door upon herself and her sons; and as she poured they brought the vessels to her. 6 When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another.” Then the oil stopped flowing. 7 She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”
Step 1: Go Elijah instructs the widow to go abroad, leave her established comfort zone and passionately intrude on others. Her willingness would have accomplished little without her obedience. The desperacy of her condition was the motivation behind her actions. Also, she made this a family project. Her sons went with her to help: their incentive? To stay out of slavery!
Step 2: Borrow empty vessels?not a few Elijah knew that God would fill every vessel. Just as God gifts us with abilities and talents, He fills us with the Oil of His Anointing to make our tasks easy. Many of us have yet to identify our talents, passions, or calling because we are focusing on how little money, time, or energy (oil) is left. We consider our current condition and fail to see where God wants to take us. The average person will choose to stay in a very miserable state because they are familiar with their circumstances. Had the widow been too uncomfortable or embarrassed to borrow vessels from her neighbors, her sons would have gone to slavery and she would have starved. The thought of borrowing vessels is not the same as borrowing money. She simply needed a container to hold the blessing until she sold the oil. Ideally, she could return the vessels in better condition than she borrowed them.
Step 3: Shut the Door The underlying message here is to Shut-out all unbelievers, scoffers, mockers, who would tell her that “No way are you going to have enough oil to fill all those vessels!” Just as Jesus put everyone but believers out of Jairus’ house and shut the door, we must know when to take God’s instruction into our inner court of faith and obedience and shut the door. Under such desperate conditions, these people did not have the luxury of wondering if, or why, or how God could change their circumstances. He simply had to provide. The outcome was a life or death issue.
Step 4: Pour the Oil After gathering her materials, pouring the oil could be compared to our actual day at work. Imagine the acceleration of her pouring the oil, filling vessel after vessel as her sons ran to bring another, and another. The thoughts, first of escaping debt, slavery, and death; then daring to think of what she would do with the excess oil and money after paying her debt! Perhaps the best part of this story is that she was so busy pouring the oil that she never took time to look inside the original pot to see how much was left before she would run dry. How often do we get caught up calculating how long until lunch?..How many days we have until vacation?? How many years until retirement? When my staff starts wondering around the office gathering orders for lunch, asking how much longer until they can clock out, I always comment that I must be over-staffed. With so much time to think about not working, they have too much time on their hands. If we answered the questions at the top of this chapter correctly, the day should fly!
The anointing on the Oil on our gifts and talents should:
- Keep our time and work flowing with ease
- Provide a smooth momentum to our day
- Provide the Oil of Joy to combat any spirits of heaviness
Her first time she gave any thought to the origin of the flow was when her sons had no more vessels and the Oil stayed (stopped). If we picture her wide-eyed, looking around the house to see if they were mistaken; if there was anything else she could use as a vessel; we can imagine her light dismay that they hadn’t been more persistent in gathering so few vessels. Sad to consider, but many times we ask the Lord for provision and are so amazed at His results that we are repentant that we didn’t ask bigger! At some point, we need to recognize that our request is not going to deplete God’s supply.
Step 5: Sell the Oil Elijah’s command to sell the oil suggests that he sent her out to work. A single parent has a special anointing to raise their children, manage their household, and work some type of job-or two-or more. What were the alternatives had she not gone to work at gathering vessels, pouring oil, selling the oil? She and her sons would have been slave to her creditors. Today, we might contrast this to a parent, healthy and bright enough to produce an income for themselves and their children, but sitting back complaining how unfair life has been to them; how abused they have been; how they were left to “do it all” on their own. Not only do they resign themselves to a life of poverty and lack; they become a destructive role model for their children in manipulating others with pity and sympathy. Often, their conversation centers on trying to get handouts, getting others to pay their responsibilities, and trying to appear worse off than others do in their situation. Not only do they underachieve; they teach their children a beggar mentality. So, we have generations of healthy, bright people under-educated, under-employed, under-privileged, under-productive. Sadly enough, many of these people are in church, blaming God for their misfortune. We need to review the parable of the man who was given one talent and did nothing with it. The Lord was very displeased with his example and even took the only talent he had and gave it to the productive servant. — Use it or lose it!
Step 6: Pay the Debts To simplify these steps to walking out of debt we simply need to Work all we can, Pay our bills, Spend less than we earn! The widow took the money she made from selling the oil and went to her creditors and paid her debts. Like anyone else, she probably had stumbled into debt from her life circumstances, perhaps her husband’s death. Most believers do not purposely go into debt. Satan imposes the oppression of debt through challenges to our health, marriage, or career. We react and make unwise, sometimes ungodly decisions regarding our finances. After serious prayer and fasting, God brings provision to us to pay our debts. Our responsibility is to quickly use those funds to pay the debt.
Notice the widow did not take the money from her sales, pay the MINIMUM payment, and run to the mall for the latest sales! Or run to the local auto dealer to buy a new car! Or browse through the furniture store to find a great NO PAYMENTS! NO INTEREST FOR A YEAR! LIVING ROOM SUITE! Her integrity and obedience to repay her creditors released God’s blessings to flow continually.
Step 7: Live Isaiah 1:19 exhorts us, “If ye be willing and obedient ye shall eat the good of the land.”
Because of her willing, obedient spirit, God brought this widow out of her bondage with silver and gold, and she ate the good of the land. Now, let’s consider another point. Elijah told her to LIVE on the rest?not retire! Certainly, Elijah did not expect to come back that way next year and have her emptying her last vessel of oil again! She got a revelation of diligence for building their new business strategies to gain and increase wealth. He expected her to support herself and sons until they were old enough to carry on the Widow & Sons Oil Business.
According to the Law of Responsibility, she rose to her level of giftedness and walked in provision rather than poverty. Initially, her work was driven by the passion to survive. Quickly, however, she switched to a passion to succeed and taste the good things of life. In contrast, someone who wants a quick fix, “rescue me today and I’ll never overspend again,” will never graduate from the survival stage. These principles will only work for those who have committed to be honest and diligent with themselves and the Lord.