Why do I agree to give a talk on finances? In this time of increasing global turmoil with intensive destructive forces at work, the hearts of people are being crushed under a greater sense of uncertainty and emptiness. Indeed, even a Christian feels lost at times. When I think of such big issue like life and death which hits upon every family and even every life without notice, my heart feels heavy and wordless.
The more I think of this subject of financial management, the more I realize it is not management practice that matters. What matters is the way we treat our lives. When people are dying like flies, or worse, what is the value of lives? Can a life be measured by monetary value? Why, indeed why do people who have gone through a great disaster choose to live on even when all their loved ones have died and all that they have established in life had vanished and there seems no foreseeable physical and emotional relief from their pains?
How does finance come in? Can money solve their problems? If so why did not money prevent such disasters? Why is there such great a disparity between the opulent rich and the poor living below poverty line? The matter is not management. It is value.
So I intend to talk about value when I talk about financial management.
The fact that you are reading this or listening to this talk means that you are not yet the opulent rich. This message is therefore for those who are still in want and still feel they lack.
When I asked my prayer partner what make people feel that they still lack, she thought that all should feel contented with what little they have (and have-not) and there is no such word as bare minimum. When I search my deepest soul, I realize that it is a matter of security craving. Different people look for different thing to fill their security vacuum. The thing may be love, friendship, companionship, sense of achievement, self-esteem, others’ respect and acceptance, physical comfort etc. Many think that a lot of these can be bought with money. That is why money becomes a prominent object of want.
The goal of a money talk is therefore to facilitate people to find ways to feel more secure.
So the focus of this talk should be on value.
What is your value in life? What is the life purpose of a Christian? An average Christian would know the answer easily. We live to glorify God, to fulfill God’s plan for us on earth. We believe that God has a good plan for each Christian. We believe He can help us to live and complete that plan. So why are we still lacking in security? Why do we still feel we lack?
When we see this life goal we realize that we are on a different track from the race track God has set for us. All those men and women of faith who had completed the race before us had run on another track, the track of faith. If we run on a wrong track we would never reach the same destination as they did. No amount of money and/or capable financial management could transfer us to that goal.
How do we know we are not on the right track? When we feel that we are in financial want.
How do we go back to the right track? Here are the seven steps: (7 Rs in brief)
1. Repent and renounce your past and present money mismanagement.
2. Be Reconciled with God in your value in life. A humble and contrite heart He will not overlook.
3. Renew your mind (not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you know what the good, acceptable and perfect will of God is).
4. Review: review and assess your current damaged situations, the ruined walls -your assets and liabilities, and ask God for an effective plan to address them.
5. Rebuild: ask God for fresh strategies, supplies and support to rebuild your new financial security.
6. Restore: ask God to restore with seven folds what the enemy had stolen from you.
7. Reap the harvest of your financial management. Continue on the right track of faith, led by the Holy Spirit.
There are three absolute conditions for successful implementation of the above steps:
1. You must be led by the Holy Spirit.
2. You must have faith.
3. You must focus on the author and finisher of faith: Jesus Christ Himself.
How to be led by the Holy Spirit?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you answers to the above seven steps.
Spend time in the presence of God. Worship Him in Spirit and in truth. Read His words. Wait for Him to speak to you (through His words, dreams and visions). In quietness and stillness wait upon Him. Attend prayer meetings where there is a strong presence of the Holy Spirit and consistent focus on Jesus and the love and grace of God. Have Holy Communion with other Christians with clear focus on Jesus (His shed blood and broken body on the cross and what they mean). Attend church where only the words of God (the full Gospel of Jesus Christ) are being preached (not man’s words or man’s philosophy). Attend church where the Gospel messages are being followed by signs and wonders (healing, deliverance and transformed lives).
Practice living the words of God and take a step of faith in the Spirit (practicing the gifts of the Holy Spirit; practice praying in the Spirit, speaking in tongues). Do not doubt or let the sin of unbelief cripple your spirit. Never grief the Holy Spirit by denying His power in you.
Only the Holy Spirit can convict us of sins, of self-righteousness and of judgment. Only the Holy Spirit can transform and renew our minds and reveal God’s will to us. Only the Holy Spirit can make and do all things (working together for our good). He is the sanctifier and edifier. He is the grace and blessing of God, comforter, helper, and finger of God. Read all scripture about the Holy Spirit.
Word of caution: do not think that you are led by the Holy Spirit in your rational mind. What you reason out may not be from Him. He works perfectly without your mental input. You cannot take credit for what He has done.
How to have faith?
Faith is given by God to every Christian, in the same measure and precious as the one given to the Apostles. Jesus said all you need is faith as small as a mustard seed. It is not how much or how big your faith is that counts. What works miracles is simple faith not off-set by unbelief. Faith is a substance and certainty in itself. Just have faith. Do not doubt. Remember: when you can see the obvious result you do not need faith! Read all scripture about faith and start practicing faith.
Why must one focus on Jesus?
Jesus is the one who has won the battle for us on the cross. He has redeemed us from sin and death. He has borne the curse (including the curse on Adam that he had to toil on the ground before he could eat of it) for us. Jesus is the only one entitled to every blessing from God. He is the only righteous one. Without His sacrificial blood we cannot have any access to God. There is no way any Christian can finish his race on the right track without looking to Jesus! Do not let others fool you into thinking that you only need to acknowledge Jesus once (on the occasion of receiving His salvation) and thereafter conveniently put him aside. He is our every blessing!
Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. “ He also warned that many would say they had done a lot of works and wonders in His name, but His answer for them on that day would be, “I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matt. 7:22-23)
One pastor challenged his congregation: “If you do not have a habit of seeking God and staying close to Him, what makes you think you will suddenly be ready one day when Jesus comes to take His own people with Him to heaven?” Think about that. The matter is far more serious than having a good financial report on earth.
Remember the story about a beggar called Lazarus who went to heaven and an unnamed rich man who ended down in hell? Jesus knew the beggar by name. But the rich man remained unknown as far as Jesus was concerned.
To stay close to Jesus and be known by Him is absolutely essential!