Look friends, I’m the kind of guy who thinks that making money is actually a noble pursuit. Maybe it’s the capitalist in me, but I look into the future and see opportunity coming. Not just to make money. But yes, to make money. I believe the days ahead will be better than the days I’ve yet seen, and that my children and their children will have more, not less, opportunity to lead and create and multiply than I have. When I look forward, I see dollar signs, okay?
But I just have to tell you: my hope for my financial future is NOT in finance.
Just a couple of years ago, my wife and I took our hard-earned money and invested (heavily) in a privately funded movie that never made its money back. Not even close. It looked like a good investment at the time, but it wasn’t. It’s been a total stinkball and laid our investment stores low. Right around that same time, we (and our friends, and our family) invested (heavily) in oil wells in East Texas. Everything looked so promising, so above board. But then the CEO stole all our money and the outfit went belly up. Another huge packet of investment money down the drain.
What the fuss. We are Jesus-loving people who only want to be faithful with our money. We felt these opportunities were God-ordained (Quick aside: just because they failed doesn’t mean that God didn’t send them) and that we were being great stewards by putting our money into these projects. And in spite of those angelic intentions, and the wholesome trust we put into these people to multiply our capital, we got a big mudpie right on the kisser for it.
So what do we do now? Maybe it’s time to take our losses, lick our wounds, and buy bonds from here on out. No more crazy dreaming, no silly buying equity in a risky prospect. Maybe it’s time to get conservative and thinking smaller. Maybe.
As John Piper wonderfully emphasizes in this quick Bible study, being a financial steward (which is the intentional placement of money that doesn’t belong to you, in hopes of a good return) is an integral part of trusting God, not in opposition to trusting him. So when I consider the future, I can either focus on my losses from the past (which, if nothing else, have certainly made me a sharper, wiser investor!) or consider my hope going forward. As a follower of Christ, I will choose the latter.
I can be bold in the way that I give, aggressive in my investing, and dream big for my generations, because at the end of the day, I’m powerless to do any of those things, anyway. Deuteronomy 8 (one of my favorite gratitude passages and something we read as a family every Thanksgiving) tells us that God Alone gives us the ability to make money, and his promise of provision is what I hang my hat on every day, every week, and every year. That means that:
- Financial gains of any kind will be the result firstly of His generosity, not my efforts.
- His loving-kindness is our starting point when we think of any profitability or prosperity, not our acumen and savvy.
- His faithfulness is our hope going forward, not an ever-expanding balance sheet.
- God is the wellspring out of which flows courage for the days ahead; not my talents, multi-generational vision, or even all the good godly knowledge that the Scripture provides. He alone is my rock, upon whom I place all my trust.
As 1 Timothy 1:17 definitively commands, “As for the rich in this present world (That’s you! That’s me!), instruct them not to be conceited and arrogant, nor to set their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly and ceaselessly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”
This command is for people who are rich! And what should their relationship to their riches be? To not trust in it. Moreover, they should set their hope in God, Who (get this) abundantly gives us all we need and more. He gives to us for our enjoyment! How good is this Father of ours? How outrageously does He love? How extravagant are His gifts?
Again, I am for financial prosperity. I do not think that being wealthy is a sin. If it is, we’re all in trouble, as is Father Abraham. Moreover, my reading of Scripture tells me that God wants us to be people who not only multiply their finances, but who use them to build strong families, communities, and cities. I believe this so strongly that I and a couple of my friends have created a blog to discuss just that. He wants us to care for the poor, the orphan, the widow, the fatherless, the foreigner, the refugee, and to find those without hope in the world and show them a better way. A truth. A life. A strong financial base isn’t just a luxury; it’s a necessity to do many of the things God calls us to.
But how will I move forward? In fear (which would be tied to my shortcomings) or in faith (which would be tied to God’s eternal qualities)?
It has to be faith. In Him, first. Then, in the possibility of prosperity by His guiding hand.