1 Way to change our Thinking is Money

 

Give praise to the Lord, O my soul; let not all his blessings go from your memory. … he contents you with good as long as you live. Ps 103:2.5b

Not that I want to express that there is only one single way to change our thinking, but one major one is money.

Money is important—even in the Kingdom

Money is a red flag in many churches. It is too easy to come across as “just wanting somebodies money”. Yet money is spoken of in the bible more than just frequently. Why so?

It will not surprise you to hear that God knows you in and out. He made you. He keeps you together. He loves you and wants to have a personal relationship with you. He really, really knows you.

Therefore he knows how important money is to us. Our economy, our life in the natural seemingly works through and with money. Money is what we spend quite some time for in our life—working to support ourselves. I think I do not have to say more about this—it is important. Even in the Kingdom of God.

Somebody will provide

When I was a child, my father had good jobs. He learned several new professions and always earned a good living. But nobody knew how much he earned. My mom got a monthly allowance to keep our household and family alive. But even she did not know how much money my dad made, nor how much was in the bank. But one thing I have to say: we never lacked anything. Good middle class. Several vacations a year—usually without my dad, as he hated things outside of his routine. My brother and I each had our own bedroom. We never learned about the value of money. Mom would always have what was necessary or even wanted.

Then my parents got divorced. And I was put in a boarding home.

I never knew that my brother and my mom sacrificed so much to allow for my education. No meat during the week when I was gone. Every penny was turned around at least twice before spending it. My brother wore my old clothes.

Yet I never knew. My mom had such a bad conscience about putting me into a catholic boarding home—and I knew how to play it so well—that I never lacked. I just spent what I thought was necessary. It did not help that I was surrounded by rich people’s sons and that the monks gave out loans they collected from the parents twice a year.

So I learned one thing about money: somebody will provide.

When I was married, I let my wife take care of the finances. And I did what I knew best: spend. True, at that time I provided most myself. I had a great job, and within the first 6 years working I more than doubled my monthly income.

Somebody has to steward

Some time into my marriage, I had accumulated quite some debt. I was not aware of the amount, and the bank manager—a good friend and member of our church—was embarrassed to tell us. I had not looked at the bank papers but thrown them away carelessly, thus my wife was unaware of this. It was a mess.

When my wife needed some money from this savings account, she finally found out and had the account closed. Coming home she told me—and I erupted. I hit her hard—physically—and she left our home. It took a while to reconcile. But it brought about so much good. I just wished I had learned another way.

My wife refused to do the books any longer, and I had to step up. At that time I studied math at the university, so numbers were not the problem. It was all about interest, faithfulness, and stewarding.

From that time on we changed our minds and started a journey. We learned about godly principles—we had given our tithe so far, but we had only understood parts of God’s ways with finances.

One thing I had a great foundation in: somebody will provide. I just had to learn that it is always God that provides. Not my mom, not my wife, not even myself.

God gives us abilities and possibilities to work. And he provides in many other ways as well.

God always provides

One could think that from then on our journey was smooth sailing.

Not really.

My wife opened first one, then another flower shop. My elder son had a terrible accident. All that led us deeply into debt again. The former debt was cute in comparison. We lost one flower shop, and later closed the other one. But through all this, God provided.

We learned to trust. Trust when bills came in. Trust even when the phrase “there is still some month left at the end of the money” had a special meaning, as there was no money left as soon as the salary hit the bank.

We learned to trust God in all of that, and he brought us through.

Several times in the following years I was unemployed. But God provided. And he always gave me another job—sometimes it took a while. And he had other ways too: unemployment insurance, unexpected gifts, you name it.

In a country of renters, we had our own house. Provided miraculously, this kept our living costs low and manageable. And when we moved because we needed to live closer to the church for availability, we sold the house for a great price. Finally paying off all of our debt.

God provided through circumstances as well. After our son’s accident, we had invested a lot of time, including all of my vacations for eight years. We had lost a flower shop, as my wife could not be there herself, and had accumulated great cost paying wages. We got it all back. Just when the moneys from selling the house were about used up.

And when my mom decided to leave this earth, she left a little inheritance. God can use terrible things for good.

It is my part to be a good steward

But all this only works because I have learned to be a good steward. I have learned to look back and trust God based on the things he has done in the past. If he came through in my past situations, and he does not change, who am I to worry? I have no right to think that he will fail this time.

But God has principles. I also have no right to think that he will come through if I steal or if I am unfaithful.

Tithing and giving has become a source of trust and way of life for us. Prove me if I will not open the flood gates of heaven if you tithe, God says. Give, and I will give to you. Pressed down, shaken together, running over. Thirty, sixty, hundred fold.

My life is proof for this. Nobody tells me otherwise. God is faithful.

God’s faithfulness helped change my thinking. But I had to let it happen, even take active part in the change.

True riches

Now tell me why all this should be limited to money? Did not God say that, if we are faithful with money, he would give us true riches?

What, do you think, could that be?

Or do you have any other questions about godly management of money?

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Categorized as Kingdom

By Ralph Rickenbach

Accompanyist | Writer | Son of God — ideation | learner | deliberative | intellection | futuristic — I am a Gallup certified CliftonStrengths coach and a Spiral Dynamics practitioner.