Windows on Finance Part 5
Today I want to explore our beliefs around money. As I said in an earlier article, there is no Money 101 course where we get our beliefs around money from, rather it seems to come as a form of osmosis from our personal life experiences (often as children observing the financial experience of our parents) and our perceptions of our parents and friends attitudes and beliefs around money. Maybe it’s what we believe is “common knowledge” or “everyone knows is true.” Maybe our beliefs make sense in terms of our life experience.
A lot of us find words coming out of our mouths like “I can’t afford it,” “money doesn’t grow on trees,” “when I’m rich I’ll…” and the classic “I’d rather be poor and happy than rich and miserable” – like there aren’t any other possible alternatives.
These kinds of thoughts emanate from a poverty mindset. While people don’t like the bluntness of having it called a poverty mindset, they still go about not wanting to be tainted by “filthy riches” and can see poverty as a kind of state of holiness or moral high ground. In fact some people have gone so far as to take vows of poverty. Certainly, lack of money will keep you from the temptations riches can bring, but this just exposes you to the temptations of poverty which are just as real and debilitating.
The bible has some tips if you want to ensure yourself a life of poverty…
- Proverbs 11:24 There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty.
- Proverbs 13:18 Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, but he who regards reproof will be honoured.
- Proverbs 23:21 For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.
So for us to truly lay hold of God’s promises of poverty we need to practice being stingy, unteachable and indulging in drunkenness, gluttony and laziness. Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that these are not virtues we would be aspiring to as we strive to be more like Christ. Interestingly nowhere in the Bible does God ever bless anyone with poverty.
In fact in scripture poverty is always referred to as a curse!
Let me repeat that because it needs to sink in. The Bible only ever calls poverty a curse! So why would you want to live a cursed life? Jesus died to free us from curses not to enslave us to them. No where does God promise to reward people with poverty, it is just the opposite.
Now if you’re embracing poverty because you’re scared you’ll become materialistic if you are blessed with wealth, just give half of your incoming blessings away and you’ll be healed!
OK you say, I get poverty is a curse but I’m still not comfortable with getting “dirty filthy stinking rich” (notice how we’ve negatively languaged prosperity). So we move on to the next comfort zone, the provision mindset. This is based on teaching such as:
Phil 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
And it’s true that God does supply all our needs. But this isn’t Paul’s only take on finances. Let’s take a look at his life experience to see if he lived in provision or maybe something more. In fact let’s go all the way back to the previous verse where Paul says…
Phil 4:18 Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.
So Paul had all and abounded. He lived in an “abundance” that seems a little more prosperous than a provision mindset. Maybe this is just a verse out of context, let’s see what else he wrote. In 2 Corinthians 9 Paul is talking about an offering the Corinthians had promised for the Jews in Jerusalem. In the middle of that passage Paul breaks out with:
2 Cor 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, have an abundance for every good work.
This is a pretty powerful statement. Paul uses “all” or “every” five times in one verse. All grace abound to you, Always having, All sufficiency in All things, have an abundance for Every good work.
Again the abundance word. Paul was clearly well past provision in his mindset.
Here’s the thing, if we say “God will provide for my needs and no more”, how can we help others? We have no surplus to give away. This is in fact a very selfish mindset, it says “God’s going to look after me but you lot can go jump!”
Not only that, a provision mindset allows us to indulge in mediocrity. We have let ourselves off the hook of striving for greatness, of bettering ourselves so we can be the best us we can be. It allows us to sit in front of the tv/xbox or whatever night after night because we’ve done our bit and can sit back now. But our lives are also limited by our financial mindset. With a poverty/provision mindset we are scared to dream big dreams for God because they often require a lot of money and if the truth be told it’s usually the finances that are the part that scare us the most.
So a provision mindset is clearly not Christlike in attitude either and so we must reject this one too.
Whilst God does provide for us, His will is to go far beyond that into blessing and prosperity. This is the only position left open to us as we have had to reject the other possibilities of the poverty and provision mindsets.
More next time…
May God richly bless you,
This series is designed to build your faith in God as your Provider and to enable you to release His full abundance into your life. If you have a testimony of God’s provision as a result of applying the principles from this ministry please share it with us (and let us know if we can share it with others). If this article has helped you, please consider praying for me and this ministry. Thanks and God Bless, Richard BP.
This article is provided for educational and edificational purposes only. It does not constitute and is not a substitute for professional advice. If you require financial advice or assistance please contact a suitable professional advisor.