Biblically Based Money Management Planning
Missonary to the Nation of Debt
As missionaries to a third world country, we would expect to go in and assess the present conditions. We would separate our emotions and objectively prioritize a needs assessment based on realistic economic conditions. So, what changes when we attempt to assess our own desperate conditions? We get possessive, defensive, emotional, and entangled with things we refuse to change. Separating ourselves from the personal perception of our own debts can help us more objectively evaluate the true status of our financial condition. Be honest. Is this or is it not an economic disaster zone? Would the President be calling in the Coast Guard because you are drowning in debt?
As a young Methodist minister’s daughter I grew up very passionate about being a missionary. Over the course of my young adult life I began a career in music and drifted far from that dream. One Sunday as my husband and I watched missionaries being called to the front of the church for Missions Sunday, I sighed, “Lord, I would have liked to have been a missionary for You.” To which the immediate response was, “You are. I made you a missionary to the Nation of Debt. You learned the language, the dress code, customs, currency, culture, agony and suffering of doing without, even the creative economics of being a single parent.” Suddenly, I saw it; growing up with very little due to medical debts, forced career changes for my parents, and a curse of lack and poverty, I had learned to think, act, spend, and shop with the same poverty mentality of victims to whom He had sent me. I believed that because of my love for music, I should seek a career in my strongest talent, piano. What I did not see until just recently, was that He was shaping a desire and passion in me to be a missionary to the financially oppressed. Discovering and following my passion to right the injustices of Debt, Lack, and Poverty propelled me into the tireless ministry of Debt Counseling and Elimination. Through the Godly principles set down in His Word, we can bring the body of Christ to Prosperity and Provision for the expanding of the Kingdom. God literally walked me through desperation using His Laws of Prosperity and Covenant Blessings. When I admitted my helpless state and purposed in my heart to obey His instructions, He brought me out with blessings pursuing and overtaking me. Before that could happen, I had to get painfully honest with my present condition and quit spending money I did not yet have!
Consider the severity of your financial condition according to stages. The more severe condition would be considered Survival. In Survival condition we would find the mere basic needs on Maslow’s Hierarchy being met: simple physiological needs for food, water, shelter, safety, transportation; emotional needs for love and belonging, little priority to self-esteem, and even less attention to self-actualization and service to others. The less critical condition would be those in Stagnation. This group would be surviving, but stuck-unable to get secure financial footing to actually climb ahead of their status. Their debt would always be at their heels, snagging every loose dollar, never allowing more than a break-even cash flow. The least concerned stage would be a very small group known as Significant. These not only have their basic needs met, they have no debt, and are actually able to provide large financial offerings of time and funding to assist those in need. They are operating in full development of their talents and skills and are able to teach and bring others up to a level of financial independence. Let’s journey the desert!
Three Lands of Existence
In describing levels of financial stability (or instability) Dr. Leroy Thompson, pastor and renowned speaker gave this analogy as a guest on the Believer’s Voice of Victory August 29th, 2000: (Used with permission of Reverend Thompson)
- Land of Not Enough, in which you are Justified for assistance or bankruptcy.
- Land of Just Enough, in which you are Satisfied; “Us four and no more!”
- Land of More than Enough, in which you are Glorified: ready and able to distribute to others!
Let’s examine each of these financial levels in light of God’s principles and expectations for believers.
Survival: Land of Not Enough Law of Perseverance
For those in the Survival stage, actually needing help to maintain shelter, food, or transportation, we will consider the Law of Perseverance, accent on “severe”. Matthew 7:7-10 tells us that Jesus taught us to keep on asking and you will receive. Keep seeking and you will find. Keep knocking and doors will open. The first thing to ask and seek should be Wisdom to properly use what God has already provided. Many people in survival are struggling to maintain spiritual, mental or emotional, and physical strength to persist. Just when they get enough to pay their bills, their health fails from stress or physical breakdown. These are most vulnerable and need the most compassion and follow through in prayer, counseling and assistance. Still, perseverance is critical and they must press toward the mark to become all that God has for them. Rescuing them, paying their way, “giving them fish without teaching them to fish” will only cripple them financially and create a co-dependent beggar. You see, faith opens the door to God’s promise for you; and patience keeps it open until that promise is fulfilled.
Stagnation/Stability: Land of Just Enough Law of Responsibility
Perhaps more frustrating than never having enough, is having only enough. This person gets glimpses of successful dreams just before a tire blows, or the washing machine dies, or they get downsized. They watch their finances roller coaster up and down and never get to actually ride the dream. They probably live in neighborhoods with people who have resolved to just get by-at the price of debt and credit cards. Yet, they know they are bright enough, skilled enough, and have the creative energy it takes to push ahead. For these people there is a Law of Responsibility. They have the sense that they could rise to their level of giftedness. In Luke 12:48 Jesus reminded this person that to whom much is given, much is required. They should not blend into the mindset with those of less ability or aspiration. They should resist the temptation of the status quo and place demands on their flesh to produce, to develop their God-given abilities to succeed abundantly above and beyond all they can ask or think.
Another vital principle, which conflicts with stagnation, is the Law of Use. The more we bring to an experience, the freer we are to create. Submitting our talents, giftings and energies to the Lord permits Him to take them beyond the constrictions of paycheck to paycheck. Our new goal should be to establish a responsible spending plan based on how little we can spend and be satisfied, rather than how much we can spend and get by each month. That is a formula God can bless. Becoming a wise steward over a few talents will prove to God that He can trust us with growth and expansion.
Significance: Land of More than Enough! Law of Greatness
I Tim 6:18 -be rich in good works, liberal and generous of heart, ready to share.
At the level of Significance, a person has arrived, so to speak. They have little anxiety over expenses, (usually investments), less over debt, and are usually looking for ministries to which they can contribute. This Law of Greatness from Luke 22:26 encourages this person that those who would be the greatest should become a servant. This translates in various ways to selling what you have in excess, giving to the poor, choosing a life of self-denial, living a fasted life, all so that others receive the rewards of your labor. There is little, if any, reference to retirement in the Bible. That would suggest that most of us should work every day we are able. Once we are financially comfortable, work to bless others.
Setting Goals: Law of Fidelity
The better goal direction to follow would be through the Law of Fidelity. From Luke 16:10 Jesus teaches that if we are faithful with little, we will be faithful in much. The challenge then, would be to take inventory of even the very smallest blessings we currently have and begin sowing faithfully with the seed available. The opposite, of course, would result in not even being diligent with the few blessings and losing everything.
Compound Interest: Law of Use
The Law of Use, Matthew 25: 14-30, portrays the story of the Talents. If the slothful servant had at least invested his talent, he could have earned interest. His actions were not as bad as going into debt, but he did not put his talent in a position of growth and development. Debt is a master over the servant. Debt reverses the Law of Use and actually becomes Compound Interest in Reverse. Instead of the bank having to compound the interest of your money and add that increase to your balance, they get to charge you interest on your borrowed goods and add that increase to your debt.
Rule of 72:
The rule of 72 tells you the number of years it takes to double your money regardless of the interest rate. In reverse it also tells you the true costs for credit by the same rule.
Divide the number 72 by the annual interest rate. The resulting number tells you how many years it will take to double your money or how many years it takes for you to have paid twice as much as the purchase price of any item you bought with a credit card.
The key principal is that over time a small improvement in the interest rate for savings and the additional time for doubling will exponentially multiply your investment. That is why the banks are basically a business with a license to steal.
- Banks will take our savings money and pay a mere 3% interest,
- Then give us a loan (of our money) back via a credit card balance and charge us 18% interest.
- Now they have made 15% interest profit on money they didn’t even have to provide.
Compound interest is similar to a snowball rolling downhill, quickly getting larger with each turn. You can choose to run from the snowball and eventually get squashed (carrying balance on credit cards) or you work into position behind, pushing the snowball (investing your funds). In every financial transaction there is a master and a slave. Choose wisely.
Let’s do the math!
Notes: 72 Divided by % of Interest equals the # of years to double investment.
Example: 72 divided by 8% equals 9 years to double; $1000 would become $2000.