Category Archives: Ethics

Taxes… Just as Aggravating Now as Long Ago

Many of us are frustrated or angry about the amount of money that our local, regional, or national governments demand in taxes. Given the exhaustive examples of how that tax money is wasted badly by the government or given away to others who are not working or paying taxes it is understandable why we would feel this way.

Do you know that Yeshua faced something similar during His earthly ministry? Let’s watch Jesus’ response when confronted by others to pay a tax (to the temple, not Caesar) from which He is actually exempt.

Matthew 17:24-27

      24When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?25He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?” 26When Peter said, “From strangers,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are exempt. 27“However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me.”

My first observation is that it appears the collectors of the temple tax wasted no time in coming to find new visitors and ask them to pay the tax.  There is no record here of a welcome or greeting of any kind but rather the focus is clearly on collecting their money. It seems those who collect other people’s money to spend as they see fit (e.g. tax collectors) have not changed much in thousands of years. Human nature is still human nature.

At this point it is worth noting that the temple tax was deemed a measure of atonement for sin. As Jesus was free from sin, He could have rightly refused to pay it. Additionally, Jesus makes the point that God does not tax Himself anymore than a King taxes himself and thus Jesus would again be exempt.  However, many would not understand or accept Jesus correct explanation of why He was exempt. It would cause them to stumble.

Similarly, we can sometimes make an argument that some of the taxes should not apply to us, or those who take in income in cash may rationalize that the government will waste it anyway and so they decide not to report their cash income. This is a typical human response for someone who is focused on what may be best for them or is just angry with the government waste.

However, Jesus was aware that refusing to pay the temple tax would stumble some and discourage them from following Him. The greater purpose directed Him to pay the tax even though He was exempt. Jesus was focused on a bigger picture than just the incremental tax payment.

How might this apply to us today? If we submit to Jesus, scripture commands us to proclaim Him publicly. If we proclaim Him publicly, but then give the appearance that we also break tax laws or worse, actually break tax laws… it could not only reflect badly on us personally, but on Jesus Christ whom we publicly represent. We may stumble people as they struggle to see what it means to live for Jesus Christ.

It is fine to be accurate in calculating tax payments and avoid paying the government too much. It may even be noble or helpful to actively campaign to lower the tax burden as it would help many.  However, we should avoid even the appearance of wrong doing in how we manage our finances in general, and our taxes specifically. Thus, we should pay what we owe by law.

When we decide whether or not to do something, each of us should take time to reflect… “Am I only considering how this affects me? or am I also considering how it may affect or stumble other believers or those who may be watching and deciding if following Jesus really does lead people to be different from others?”

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

If Anyone Is Not Willing To Work, Then He Is Not To Eat Either

Paul provided clear counsel in 2 Thessalonians 3 to address those who refuse to work and try to live in sloth off the hard work of others. If anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat either. God does not want us to be lazy and be a burden on others, even if they are willing to support us.

      6Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us. 7For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, 8nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; 9not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example. 10For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. 11For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. 12Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. 13But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.

      14If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. 15Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

Receiving and giving help in times of emergency or exceptional hardship for those who are genuinely trying to work and provide for themselves, to the extent they are able, is good. However,  it is wrong for people to live in sloth, burdening others indefinitely without being willing to work themselves.

This principle applies today for all those who are taking money from government. The government does not have its own money. It takes money from others who earned it on the basis of their own hard work… and it does so typically against their will. God never intended for people to be dependent on the government, but rather on God. When we filter help through the government, we even take away the premise of thankfulness and voluntary giving in God’s name. Instead people perceive it as their right to receive someone else’s money. It encourages them to continue as a dependent of “free” money. It discourages hard work and self sufficiency.

Work hard and earn your keep. Do not be a burden on others when you are able to work by choosing not to do so.

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit

Do You Serve Money or Does It Serve You?

We can learn a lot about someone’s character by observing them in times of grief or opportunity. In Genesis 23, we see the godly character of Abraham as he seeks to bury his wife, Sarah. He serves God rather than money. Money is a tool for him. We should learn from his example.

      1Now Sarah lived one hundred and twenty-seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. 2Sarah died in Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan; and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. 3Then Abraham rose from before his dead, and spoke to the sons of Heth, saying, 4“I am a stranger and a sojourner among you; give me a burial site among you that I may bury my dead out of my sight.” 5The sons of Heth answered Abraham, saying to him, 6“Hear us, my lord, you are a mighty prince among us; bury your dead in the choicest of our graves; none of us will refuse you his grave for burying your dead.” 7So Abraham rose and bowed to the people of the land, the sons of Heth. 8And he spoke with them, saying, “If it is your wish for me to bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and approach Ephron the son of Zohar for me, 9that he may give me the cave of Machpelah which he owns, which is at the end of his field; for the full price let him give it to me in your presence for a burial site.” 10Now Ephron was sitting among the sons of Heth; and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the sons of Heth; even of all who went in at the gate of his city, saying, 11“No, my lord, hear me; I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. In the presence of the sons of my people I give it to you; bury your dead.” 12And Abraham bowed before the people of the land. 13He spoke to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, saying, “If you will only please listen to me; I will give the price of the field, accept it from me that I may bury my dead there.” 14Then Ephron answered Abraham, saying to him, 15“My lord, listen to me; a piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver, what is that between me and you? So bury your dead.” 16Abraham listened to Ephron; and Abraham weighed out for Ephron the silver which he had named in the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, commercial standard.

      17So Ephron’s field, which was in Machpelah, which faced Mamre, the field and cave which was in it, and all the trees which were in the field, that were within all the confines of its border, were deeded over 18to Abraham for a possession in the presence of the sons of Heth, before all who went in at the gate of his city. 19After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field at Machpelah facing Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 20So the field and the cave that is in it, were deeded over to Abraham for a burial site by the sons of Heth.

Reviewing Abraham’s actions at this difficult time reveals some important points to consider that can impact your finances:

  • The Hittites had great respect for Abraham even though He distinguished himself as a man who followed God and was a foreigner in their land. They worshipped other gods.
  • Abraham showed respect for the Hittites despite their different beliefs. This does not mean he agreed with them or participated in their false religion.
  • Abraham was not afraid to openly ask for help.
  • Abraham, though wealthy, was not greedy. He refused the opportunity to take advantage of the offer of receiving the land for free. He did not even haggle. Further, he avoided any possible appearance of wrong by conducting business in the open with witnesses.

As Christians, we can strive to follow Abraham’s example in dealing with non-Christians. For those who are not openly hostile and seeking to kill Christians, we can conduct business with them and show them proper respect. We treat them as someone God loves and someone whom we would love to reach with the good news of the gospel.  However, we do not hide our faith. We openly live so as to show that we follow and serve God. Our behavior and attitudes should differentiate us clearly from those who do not follow God.

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

A Father’s Wise Advice

The wisdom in Proverbs 6:1-15 is as relevant today as it was when it was written. Please read it slowly and thoughtfully. Avoid reading so fast you cannot dwell on the message contained here. Allow God to speak to you for your life and the lives of those you may be able to help.

Take great care in giving a pledge or guarantee on behalf of neighbors and strangers. Do not do so unless you can afford to lose that amount if something does not work out.

1My son, if you have become surety for your neighbor,
Have given a pledge for a stranger,

      2If you have been snared with the words of your mouth,
Have been caught with the words of your mouth,

3Do this then, my son, and deliver yourself;
Since you have come into the hand of your neighbor,
Go, humble yourself, and importune your neighbor.

4Give no sleep to your eyes,
Nor slumber to your eyelids;

5Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hunter’s hand
And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.

Be not lazy. Instead, be industrious, taking ownership for your own care and for that of others you are responsible for. Think ahead, well beyond the short -term daily provision but rather looking ahead to the future. It may seem far off now, but if you don’t prepare now, you will face crisis later.

6Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,

7Which, having no chief,
Officer or ruler,

8Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision in the harvest.

9How long will you lie down, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?

10“A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest”—

11Your poverty will come in like a vagabond
And your need like an armed man.

Do not devise evil for your own financial gain.

12A worthless person, a wicked man,
Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth,

13Who winks with his eyes, who signals with his feet,
Who points with his fingers;

14Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil,
Who spreads strife.

15Therefore his calamity will come suddenly;
Instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing.

Consider scripture from Proverbs as if it were advice from a wise, loving father… because it is just that.

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

Choose Your Own (Financial) Adventure – But Do So Wisely

I remember as a child reading a style of book that was called a “choose your own adventure” book. This style of kids’ book has a basic story line with several outcomes for each situation the characters encounter based on which choices you as the reader make for them. For example… if in the story the main character faces a choice to go into a cave or continue in the forest… the reader chooses and turns next to the page that continues the story based on that decision. The outcome is different based on the choice the reader makes.

The same is true in life. Yes, for each of us there are some preset assumptions for our adventure… who our parents are, where we are born, what value system we are taught, etc. However, we each have the opportunity to make choices for ourselves that influence the outcome of our personal story. This is true whether or not we choose to admit that we are making decisions that matter. Do we get up and find a job? Do we work hard? Do we show love to others? Do we obey God?

We make decisions every day. It is just that we at times overlook the importance of how even our seemingly daily, “small” decisions influence the outcome of our life.

I used to think it would be helpful to have a guide to help me choose wisely as each situation came up in those choose your own adventure books. What if I had a map that showed which choices led to success and which to destruction? Wouldn’t that be great! It would help me navigate to the best possible outcome for whatever story I was in.

While no one made a guide or map for the choose your own adventure books, God did in fact provide a guide for helping us in our everyday life decisions while we deal with other people and with God. Of course this includes managing our finances wisely!

While the Bible as a whole provides much value and insight here, Proverbs in particular comes to mind as providing lots of specific applications of wisdom for how we make our daily decisions. Many of the Proverbs are laid out in such a way as to contrast righteousness and wisdom to wickedness. We do well to study Proverbs consistently and apply it as God intended as the guide to help us navigate our lives to the best possible outcome.

Do not think of scripture as something old and out of date. Instead, think of it as part of an instruction manual that God has given you… yes you, specifically… for your life. Read it as if God meant for you to use it in making your daily decisions, because He did!

I always encourage you to click the link and read the whole scripture, but I have highlighted some verses in the article that have more applicability for finances specifically.

Proverbs 17

Contrast the Upright and the Wicked

      1Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it
Than a house full of feasting with strife.

2A servant who acts wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully, and will share in the inheritance among brothers.

5He who mocks the poor taunts his Maker; he who rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished

10A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.

12Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly.

18A man lacking in sense pledges and becomes guarantor in the presence of his neighbor.

23A wicked man receives a bribe from the bosom to pervert the ways of justice.

At first glance, perhaps some of these may not be clear in regards to finances. Take time to dwell on them. Verse 10 and 12 strike me of very applicable to those of us who may make mistakes with our finances from time to time. Someone who wishes to help us may rebuke our unwise choices and we should take care to keep pride at bay and remain humble enough to receive their correction, even if they don’t say it in the nicest way. We will be the benefactor of the message if we do. Similarly, let us not be the fool trapped in his own folly once we have made a poor decision on finances. Be willing to admit a mistake and get out of it, even if at a loss. This could apply to overextending our debt by buying too big a home or too expensive cars and doing so on debt instead of saving ahead. The interest could cost you dearly. It could apply to investing in stocks when we make a poor choice and have a losing position.

10A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.

12Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly.

Take time to really reflect on each of the verses in today’s article. Think of situations and decisions you are facing today in your life. Which verses in today’s reading is God putting on your heart to apply in your life to help you make the right decisions?

God may also show you through His word some examples of where you handled a situation well, even if the outcome was not what you wanted… thank Him for the encouragement!

Continue to study and apply the wisdom contained in Proverbs to specific issues in your life. Use the wisdom God provides to help your find the best outcome based on choices you make that  influence your own personal adventure in life!

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

A Light to Guide My Path

We have probably all experienced a time when we are in true darkness. Perhaps camping in the woods on a very cloudy night? Maybe just in our house when the power goes out at night or we wake up at night and walk around the house without turning lights on so as not to disturb our family. Sometimes we can start to remember our way around if it is familiar circumstances… but how well do we do when there are unexpected obstacles (e.g. toys left out in pathways, etc.) or imagine if someone rearranged all the furniture! Usually we will not do well. We will trip or fall or gather bumps and bruises. It is really hard to get around without being able to see where we are going… to recognize clearly what are the obstacles that could hurt us and which is the safe path to travel.

That is why God has given us the Bible! What a glorious gift to His people to have His written instruction book for life. If we choose to use it, it serves to light up our path so we can safely find the right path for living and avoid the traps and obstacles that could hurt us.

Psalm 119:105

105Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.

Proverbs in particular serves to provide timeless wisdom for us in how we should deal with our fellow man and also with God whether or not we are focused on finances or more broadly at life in general. It reminds us of what is good and what is bad. Remember, true goodness is that which is identified by God as right, not that which is identified by man as right. Man often gets it wrong. That is why God wrote it down!

Read Proverbs often, and not as if you are trying to win a race for reading quickly but rather pausing and considering how each verse is relevant not only in life today, but specifically how it may apply to your life. Then allow yourself the humility to admit where you are wrong and work to change your behavior and attitude. Those who are too proud to admit they are wrong, never get the benefit of learning to do better.

Proverbs 16

Contrast the Upright and the Wicked

       1The plans of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.

      2All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight,
But the LORD weighs the motives.

      3Commit your works to the LORD
And your plans will be established.

      4The LORD has made everything for its own purpose,
Even the wicked for the day of evil.

      5Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD;
Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.

      6By lovingkindness and truth iniquity is atoned for,
And by the fear of the LORD one keeps away from evil.

      7When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD,
He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

      8Better is a little with righteousness
Than great income with injustice.

      9The mind of man plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps.

      10A divine decision is in the lips of the king;
His mouth should not err in judgment.

      11A just balance and scales belong to the LORD;
All the weights of the bag are His concern.

      12It is an abomination for kings to commit wicked acts,
For a throne is established on righteousness.

      13Righteous lips are the delight of kings,
And he who speaks right is loved.

      14The fury of a king is like messengers of death,
But a wise man will appease it.

      15In the light of a king’s face is life,
And his favor is like a cloud with the spring rain.

      16How much better it is to get wisdom than gold!
And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.

      17The highway of the upright is to depart from evil;
He who watches his way preserves his life.

      18Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before stumbling.

      19It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly
Than to divide the spoil with the proud.

      20He who gives attention to the word will find good,
And blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.

      21The wise in heart will be called understanding,
And sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.

      22Understanding is a fountain of life to one who has it,
But the discipline of fools is folly.

      23The heart of the wise instructs his mouth
And adds persuasiveness to his lips.

      24Pleasant words are a honeycomb,
Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

      25There is a way which seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.

      26A worker’s appetite works for him,
For his hunger urges him on.

      27A worthless man digs up evil,
While his words are like scorching fire.

      28A perverse man spreads strife,
And a slanderer separates intimate friends.

      29A man of violence entices his neighbor
And leads him in a way that is not good.

      30He who winks his eyes does so to devise perverse things;
He who compresses his lips brings evil to pass.

      31A gray head is a crown of glory;
It is found in the way of righteousness.

      32He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.

      33The lot is cast into the lap,
But its every decision is from the LORD.

Many like to believe they are in control of their own life, but we are not in control of our lives. We can influence our path and choose how we react to the unexpected. Truly, the most impactful thing we can do is to submit to God and seek to follow His instructions for how to live our lives. We can seek relationship with Him, obey Him, and then trust in Him even through the tough times.

I recognize I have not focused this article on what is specific to finances, but if you read the scripture carefully, it speaks volumes in regards to how we work hard to earn money, treat people while we earn money, submit to God as priority over our money, recognize God’s sovereignty over our situations, etc. There is much to harvest and all we must do is humble ourselves in submission to the Lord and seek His wisdom and then seek His help to apply it in our lives.

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

How Is Financial Planning Like the Super Bowl?

The Super Bowl is considered by many to be one of the most important sporting events in the world each year. Many from around the world tune in to watch it even if “their team” did not make it to the final game. Much time and preparation is spent certainly by the teams in preparing for the game, but even by many spectators and fans around the world as they prepare parties and tailgating and other such events to watch the game.

Many people spend more time preparing for, watching, and then talking about the Super Bowl then they actually spend preparing their personal financial strategies. One could spend a little time reflecting on which will ultimately be more important for each of us… but we quickly conclude that perhaps we should spend a little more time planning our finances, even if we have to wait until the big game is over and behind us.

Financial planning may not sound like much fun, so let’s try to make it a bit more interesting. In some ways it is like preparing for the Super Bowl.  Without good planning and execution, you will never win. “Luck” or “winging it” is just not good enough to carry you to victory. Proper preparation for a Super Bowl victory begins before the season every starts.

Start with the end in mind. Teams don’t just show up in training camp with the intent to “play football”… if they do, they do not win very much. They must define success and goals along the way to evaluate their performance in moving toward that success. Winning teams come into the season planning to play for the Super Bowl rings! They don’t just plan to play catch and throw and suddenly find themselves in the Super Bowl. There is short term sacrifice for long term success.

Similarly, for our financial planning you must define what success looks like for you. Define your personal goals and steward progress toward them. Think big! Do not limit yourself to simply having money for earthly things, but also to store up treasure in heaven. How you view your success will strongly influence how you play the game!

Define your goals… define success.

  • Matthew 6:20-21 20“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
  • 2 Corinthians 9:7 –  7Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
  • Proverbs 22:9 –   9He who is generous will be blessed, For he gives some of his food to the poor.

Steward your progress toward those goals and make adjustments when called for. If something is not working as you expected, do not be afraid to consider making “in game” adjustments to your game plan.

  • In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus teaches us through the parable of the talents that a good steward periodically checks on the effectiveness of his efforts and makes adjustments according to their performance.

With every game there are rules. If you do not know the rules and play by them, you will likely not do well on the field. Penalties for failing to follow the rules can ruin your game. In finances, as with most of life’s challenges, God has laid out the rules for us in the Bible. Know what God says about how we should treat others and how we should conduct our earthly affairs. It is also true that man has added some rules, called laws, as well. We should heed both sets of rules.

  • Proverbs 22:11A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold.
  • Proverbs 22:55Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; He who guards himself will be far from them.
  • Ecclesiastes 12:13-1413The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

Plan carefully and seek wise counsel. Do you ever see a winning Super Bowl coach who did not have a staff of assistant coaches… advisors? The head coach makes the final decisions, but the good ones listen to the advice of others and weigh carefully in their decisions the counsel of others.  Surround yourself with bad counselors and you will fail.

  • Proverbs 22:3 – 3The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, But the naive go on, and are punished for it.
  • Proverbs 15:2222Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed.
  • Proverbs 14:15 –   15The naive believes everything, But the sensible man considers his steps.

To win at any level, you should carefully evaluate your gear… your tools. In football, you need the right shoes, gloves, helmet, pads, ball, etc. In financial planning, the tools you use (or don’t) are also important. They can be of great help or set you up to underperform your abilities. We recommend you visit our Resources section of our website to find some organizations we recommend that provide helpful tools to assist you in “elevating your game”… to be more effective and successful in planning and managing your finances.

It is important to focus on fundamentals to excel. No team will win the Super Bowl on trick plays and misdirection if they do not also have strong foundation in executing the fundamentals well.

Super Bowl Champions do not start with trick plays and 80 yard touchdown plays as their foundational strategy and neither should you in your financial planning.  Avoid greed… assuming you can win with a few big plays… a few high risk investments that are “sure to pay out”. You may want to put a few in as diversification, but don’t put yourself in a position to win or lose solely on “making the big play” over and over again. To those who love money, they will never have enough. Money is a tool to serve God and to support yourself and your family. The draw to “get rich quick” brings much risk.

  • 1 Timothy 6:10 –  10For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
  • Ecclesiastes 5:1010He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity.

Let’s talk more about your Offense (e.g. earning money) . Offense wins games. Your offensive stars:

  •  Hard work and a great attitude are a formidable pair. Develop a skill and work hard to generate income.
    • Colossians 3:2323Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,
    • Proverbs 6:9-11 – 9How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? 10“A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest”— 11Your poverty will come in like a vagabond And your need like an armed man.
  • Invest your financial resources for growth. Don’t stuff your mattress with cash in hopes of avoiding risk.
    • Matthew 25:14-30 – Jesus teaches us through the parable of the talents. Click the link to read the scripture.
    • Ecclesiastes 11:1 –   1Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days.
  • Diversify investments to manage risks.
    • Ecclesiastes 11:22Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth.

Finally… Defense wins championships! No one can win unless they can stop the other team from scoring. Similarly, no one can earn enough money to win the game if they spend like drunken sailors. Just consider government spending, which almost always outpaces essentially unlimited income from taxes – it is never enough to satisfy those in government. Defense requires discipline.

  • Control spending.  Set a budget that matches your income and stick to it in order to control spending. This budget should include short term “monthly expenses” but also saving ahead for long term expenses like a house, university education, future medical expenses, retirement, and contingency funds for the unknown.
  • Control debt. Carefully consider any debt before committing.
    • Proverbs 22:77The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.
    • Romans 13:8 –  8Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
  • Save money. Save for known expenses and for unknown. Save for today, and save to have money to invest tomorrow.
    • Proverbs 6:6-8 –  6Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, 7Which, having no chief, Officer or ruler, 8Prepares her food in the summer And gathers her provision in the harvest.

Perhaps with a little less fanfare, do not forget Special Teams. They may not affect every down, but they can make the difference in a win or a loss. Prepare for long term expenses such as buying a car, paying off a house, paying for college education, preparing for retirement. To be successful, you must prepare for these things in advance… you can not wait until the special teams is on the field to start planning !

One last piece of advice for your game plan in financial planning… even with the best game plan, you can’t win if you don’t start playing the game! Don’t wait for the “perfect” time to get started.

Ecclesiastes 11:44He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap.

(If you are too worried about the clouds and winds to start preparing the fields and planting the crops… waiting for perfect conditions… you will not have a harvest. The perfect time never comes. Look only for a good or appropriate time to get started.)

Hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you prefer a “non-football” version, please review our Guiding Framework.

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

Wealth Gained Through Righteous Effort Should Not Be Condemned

Using God’s gift of wisdom to achieve wealth and financial gain is not wrong, if done in a righteous way in which you plan and invest wisely, avoid deceit and trickery, and live according to God’s commands. Joseph was a man who was faithful to God throughout his life in good times and in bad. God blessed him with the ability to interpret dreams and then God used that gift to place Joseph in a significant leadership role as governor over all of Egypt. Through Joseph, God blessed the descendants of Israel (formerly known as Jacob) and he also blessed Pharaoh, making him very wealthy and protecting his people from famine.

Genesis 47:1-27

Jacob’s Family Settles in Goshen

      1Then Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, and said, “My father and my brothers and their flocks and their herds and all that they have, have come out of the land of Canaan; and behold, they are in the land of Goshen.” 2He took five men from among his brothers and presented them to Pharaoh. 3Then Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” So they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, both we and our fathers.” 4They said to Pharaoh, “We have come to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. Now, therefore, please let your servants live in the land of Goshen.” 5Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. 6“The land of Egypt is at your disposal; settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land, let them live in the land of Goshen; and if you know any capable men among them, then put them in charge of my livestock.”

      7Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and presented him to Pharaoh; and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many years have you lived?” 9So Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning.” 10And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from his presence. 11So Joseph settled his father and his brothers and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had ordered. 12Joseph provided his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food, according to their little ones.

      13Now there was no food in all the land, because the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine. 14Joseph gathered all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan for the grain which they bought, and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. 15When the money was all spent in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, “Give us food, for why should we die in your presence? For our money is gone.” 16Then Joseph said, “Give up your livestock, and I will give you food for your livestock, since your money is gone.” 17So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses and the flocks and the herds and the donkeys; and he fed them with food in exchange for all their livestock that year. 18When that year was ended, they came to him the next year and said to him, “We will not hide from my lord that our money is all spent, and the cattle are my lord’s. There is nothing left for my lord except our bodies and our lands. 19“Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we and our land will be slaves to Pharaoh. So give us seed, that we may live and not die, and that the land may not be desolate.”

Result of the Famine

      20So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for every Egyptian sold his field, because the famine was severe upon them. Thus the land became Pharaoh’s. 21As for the people, he removed them to the cities from one end of Egypt’s border to the other. 22Only the land of the priests he did not buy, for the priests had an allotment from Pharaoh, and they lived off the allotment which Pharaoh gave them. Therefore, they did not sell their land. 23Then Joseph said to the people, “Behold, I have today bought you and your land for Pharaoh; now, here is seed for you, and you may sow the land. 24“At the harvest you shall give a fifth to Pharaoh, and four-fifths shall be your own for seed of the field and for your food and for those of your households and as food for your little ones.” 25So they said, “You have saved our lives! Let us find favor in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s slaves.” 26Joseph made it a statute concerning the land of Egypt valid to this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth; only the land of the priests did not become Pharaoh’s.

      27Now Israel lived in the land of Egypt, in Goshen, and they acquired property in it and were fruitful and became very numerous.

Many will complain that Joseph took advantage of the people by taking all they own for Pharaoh. This view just simply does not stand up to careful scrutiny. The people were thankful to Joseph for feeding them and keeping them from death. Further, once Joseph had gained everything for Pharaoh, he allowed the people to work the land and keep the large majority of what they grew. Even though Pharaoh “owned” it all, Pharaoh only collected 20% or 1/5. This is incredibly fair… I can hardly resist comparing this to what we consider a “free” nation of the United States of America today, in which the government takes higher personal and corporate income tax than Pharaoh did! At least Pharaoh owned what he collected income from.

Joseph used the gifts God gave him in a righteous manner to glorify God, support God’s people, and even to fulfill the duties of the position under Pharaoh that God had placed him in and to do so very effectively… and he became wealthy along the way.

Wealth should not be despised, but rather only unrighteous behaviors and attitudes should be despised and rebuked. Wealth developed by righteous people is often used to glorify God and help His people. We should be thankful to God and give Him the glory and avoid resenting His servants who become wealthy. Perhaps we should even try to learn from those who gain wealth righteously rather than condemn them.

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

God’s Word Provides Warnings and Advice We Should Heed

Our Father loves us dearly. He has provided us with His word to guide us, His Spirit to fill us and help us, and the death of His Son to make a way to forgive us. Let us never take that for granted, being complacent in our own way of living according to the ways of the world. The world if sinful and not righteous. Let us take His fatherly advice and change how we are living to be more like He instructs for us in financial matters and in all aspects of our life.

Proverbs contains insight we should watch out for and apply in our lives. Its insight is timeless and speaks to our conduct in pursuit of financial matters and wealth and integrity and many other such considerations.

Proverbs 19

On Life and Conduct

1Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity
Than he who is perverse in speech and is a fool.

2Also it is not good for a person to be without knowledge,
And he who hurries his footsteps errs.

3The foolishness of man ruins his way,
And his heart rages against the LORD.

4Wealth adds many friends,
But a poor man is separated from his friend.

5A false witness will not go unpunished,
And he who tells lies will not escape.

6Many will seek the favor of a generous man,
And every man is a friend to him who gives gifts.

7All the brothers of a poor man hate him;
How much more do his friends abandon him!
He pursues them with words, but they are gone.

8He who gets wisdom loves his own soul;
He who keeps understanding will find good.

9A false witness will not go unpunished,
And he who tells lies will perish.

10Luxury is not fitting for a fool;
Much less for a slave to rule over princes.

11A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger,
And it is his glory to overlook a transgression.

12The king’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion,
But his favor is like dew on the grass.

13A foolish son is destruction to his father,
And the contentions of a wife are a constant dripping.

14House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers,
But a prudent wife is from the LORD.

15Laziness casts into a deep sleep,
And an idle man will suffer hunger.

16He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul,
But he who is careless of conduct will die.

17One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD,
And He will repay him for his good deed.

18Discipline your son while there is hope,
And do not desire his death.

19A man of great anger will bear the penalty,
For if you rescue him, you will only have to do it again.

20Listen to counsel and accept discipline,
That you may be wise the rest of your days.

21Many plans are in a man’s heart,
But the counsel of the LORD will stand.

22What is desirable in a man is his kindness,
And it is better to be a poor man than a liar.

23The fear of the LORD leads to life,
So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.

24The sluggard buries his hand in the dish,
But will not even bring it back to his mouth.

25Strike a scoffer and the naive may become shrewd,
But reprove one who has understanding and he will gain knowledge.

26He who assaults his father and drives his mother away
Is a shameful and disgraceful son.

27Cease listening, my son, to discipline,
And you will stray from the words of knowledge.

28A rascally witness makes a mockery of justice,
And the mouth of the wicked spreads iniquity.

29Judgments are prepared for scoffers,
And blows for the back of fools.

Take time and dwell on each verse. Which one or two strike you the most as relevant in your life. Pray the Lord helps you to deal with this area of your life and continue your transformation to be more like Him!

Do not misunderstand the point about poverty and riches relating to “friends”. It is a warning that if you are rich, many will claim to be your friend and try to use you. The poor know who truly are their friends and brothers. They stick with them even when there is nothing in it for them.

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way and use it for His glory rather than your own. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .

Fatherly Advice from God

Our Father loves us dearly. He has provided us with His word to guide us, His Spirit to fill us and help us, and the death of His son to make a way to forgive us. Let us never take that for granted, being complacent in our own way of living according to the ways of the world. The world if sinful and not righteous. Let us take His fatherly advice and change how we are living to be more like He instructs for us.

Proverbs 19

On Life and Conduct

       1Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity
Than he who is perverse in speech and is a fool.

2Also it is not good for a person to be without knowledge,
And he who hurries his footsteps errs.

3The foolishness of man ruins his way,
And his heart rages against the LORD.

4Wealth adds many friends,
But a poor man is separated from his friend.

5A false witness will not go unpunished,
And he who tells lies will not escape.

6Many will seek the favor of a generous man,
And every man is a friend to him who gives gifts.

7All the brothers of a poor man hate him;
How much more do his friends abandon him!
He pursues them with words, but they are gone.

8He who gets wisdom loves his own soul;
He who keeps understanding will find good.

9A false witness will not go unpunished,
And he who tells lies will perish.

10Luxury is not fitting for a fool;
Much less for a slave to rule over princes.

11A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger,
And it is his glory to overlook a transgression.

12The king’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion,
But his favor is like dew on the grass.

13A foolish son is destruction to his father,
And the contentions of a wife are a constant dripping.

14House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers,
But a prudent wife is from the LORD.

15Laziness casts into a deep sleep,
And an idle man will suffer hunger.

16He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul,
But he who is careless of conduct will die.

17One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD,
And He will repay him for his good deed.

18Discipline your son while there is hope,
And do not desire his death.

19A man of great anger will bear the penalty,
For if you rescue him, you will only have to do it again.

20Listen to counsel and accept discipline,
That you may be wise the rest of your days.

21Many plans are in a man’s heart,
But the counsel of the LORD will stand.

22What is desirable in a man is his kindness,
And it is better to be a poor man than a liar.

23The fear of the LORD leads to life,
So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.

24The sluggard buries his hand in the dish,
But will not even bring it back to his mouth.

25Strike a scoffer and the naive may become shrewd,
But reprove one who has understanding and he will gain knowledge.

26He who assaults his father and drives his mother away
Is a shameful and disgraceful son.

27Cease listening, my son, to discipline,
And you will stray from the words of knowledge.

28A rascally witness makes a mockery of justice,
And the mouth of the wicked spreads iniquity.

29Judgments are prepared for scoffers,
And blows for the back of fools.

Take time and dwell on each verse. Which one or two strike you the most as relevant in your life. Pray the Lord helps you to deal with this area of your life and continue your transformation to be more like Him!

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Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way and use it for His glory rather than your own. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .