August 25, 2022

“The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get.”

Beyond prioritizing God and family in our finances, it must never be lost on us that we belong to God and so does everything we own. Every single dime is to be used in a way that honours God and adds value to us and our families. I believe as it was in the beginning in Genesis 1, we must embrace order. The separation of the water and dry land made productivity possible. Animals wouldn’t have survived in mud nor fishes in swamps. Proper planning of our finances to avoid spending beyond our means is a major part of stewarding God’s resources effectively.
Building wealth starts with the simple lesson of spending less than we earn. No one consumes more than he earns and still prosper. Apart from conditions of abject poverty, most times the desire to ‘keep up with the Joneses’, meet up with the expectations of others, and in worse circumstances, feed our greed, lead us to live above our means. Facing the reality of God’s word describing one who spends all his income as a fool, was bitter to swallow years ago and yet I realize today how foolish it truly is. How else are we to add value to money when it is expended? This was the difference between Jacob and Esau who was deemed a profane person in the Bible. Jacob was futuristic in his mindset and was willing to delay gratification in order to add value to his portage. Esau on the other hand, despised the birthright reserved for his future and traded it for portage that would provide him with instant gratification. The birthright was the right of the first born that gave him twice as much inheritance as younger siblings. With Jacob as his only brother (who was also his twin), it meant Esau was to take two thirds of their fathers estate while Jacob was to get one third. A role reversal resulted.
The above condition worsens when a person now borrows beyond their capacity to pay. Literally like Esau, when we borrow beyond our capacities, we mortgage the future to gratify the present. With loan Apps abundantly available and family and friends to call, goodwill, good names, networks and other opportunities that could bring much value in the future are squandered on the altar of momentary pressure and of greed at other times. No one has a business borrowing money that he cannot pay back with a practical and realistic commitment of a small percentage of his income. I usually advise a maximum of 20% of income to be focused on repayment when a loan is being proposed. If 20% of your income cannot pay it back within intended period, it is likely not going to be paid back in good time. If you are in the hole already and overwhelmed, commit 20% of your income to repayment with discipline and someday, you will be out of debt even if you might suffer disgrace, disdain, and other shame along the journey. Someday, you will breathe the air of freedom again. So, cut down on your expenses rather than imagine a magic will happen; save all you can and target them towards debt repayment and only then can God’s miracles bless your orderliness and take you out of debt.
The parable of Talents in Matthew 25 teaches us that the minimum investment of money is to put it to a savings account. We should always set some money aside for investment regardless of our pressures. Finances can grow if wisely invested in stocks, bonds, treasury bills, insurance, mutual funds, and of course, real estate. It requires financial intelligence for which we should study, receive counsel, and learn to commit to long term incremental deposits mainly. We must be weary of ‘get rich quick schemes.’ Desperation to get out of poverty and greed are two things that tend to make people get into trouble with such high yield investments. Truth be told, they never last. They crash after a while or are at best, fraudulent. High risk investors commit not more than 5% of their capital to such. However, the unlearned have gotten their fingers burnt in various financial pyramid systems, forex trading and other money doubling systems with outlandish claims.
The preponderance of betting Apps gives me lots of concern for young people. Promoted by the print, electronic and social media, the promise of sudden and certain wealth is a huge allurement for the undiscerning. Yes, occasionally, someone gets a lot of money and the possibility that it happens again keeps him returning to it till he loses what he gets. I have never known anyone who rose to long term wealth from gambling. A quick study of the Forbes rich list will reveal there are no gamblers there. A few who own casinos and gambling business will feign participation only to lure the fool deeper into it. To seek for sudden wealth is to eventually pierce the heart with many sorrows. Betting has reduced many of her preys to rags and made mockery of their dreams. It is no stewardship of God’s resources to spend money on betting and even lotteries.
God’s blessings are channeled through men as they exchange money for value added to their lives through the provisions of goods and services. Everyone one of us are endowed with gifts and talents that can make us answers to the needs of others who in turn reward us with their substance. Find ways to improve your ability to add value through training. Acquire extra skills and improve on the quality of your delivery. In addition, manage what God has given you patiently and wisely. God’s blessings do compound with time and become great. We live in a day and time when technology is changing the employment and business landscape. Identifying areas of needs that match our talents in the marketplace and acquiring skills will lead us to higher income. Managing the income through planned and budgeted spending, savings, and investments, will lead us to God’s greater blessings and the sense of fulfillment that we are stewarding his resources faithfully. As the parable of talents teach us, poor managers of resources like the one talent man are always losing their resources to the good managers like the ten-talent man.
I want to round up by appealing to sound resource managers who program God out of their expenditure. You will someday appear before the owner of the resources to answer for how you administered them. Would it all have been expended on yourself and your family or would you proudly show Him how you prioritized His priorities? Did you support evangelism especially through your local church? Did you care for the poor, the widows, orphans, and derelicts of the society? Did you prioritize family over vanities? Did you invest wisely, and did you expend in manners that honoured your maker and owner of all things?

“Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”

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