Category Archives: Parables

Give A Man A Fish Or Teach Him How To Fish? How Do We Really Help The Poor?

Many in the world are united in the desire to use their limited resources to help those who are poor and less fortunate or just going through difficult times. Unfortunately, there seems much debate about how best to do so. Whether as an individual, family, community, church, or nation, we must ask ourselves the following question.

“How do we efficiently use limited resources to help as many as possible?”

Common sense and life experience should easily show us that if we simply give money away to everyone who asks without limit or boundary any individual or even a nation will quickly find themselves bankrupt. If you don’t agree… do an experiment with your own money or resources. Set aside a set amount you can afford to lose and offer it to anyone that asks in any amount they ask. You will not long have money to help people and in fact you likely did not help as many people as you could have if you were more disciplined and structured in your approach.

So then, how to proceed? Let us begin with the story of two fishing villages a long time ago.

In each village lived one man who knew how to fish and fish well. Both men prospered.

One day a hungry man came to the fisherman in the first village and asked for help. The fisherman wanted to help so he gave him a fish. The next day the hungry man came back and brought friends and the fisherman again gave them fish. “I can fish a little longer to help others”, he thought. The pattern continued for weeks, each day the crowd was bigger. Eventually the fisherman was discouraged. He could no longer catch enough fish to help everyone. Not only were people going hungry, but they were now angry with him also, shouting “You helped others, why will you not help us?!” Finally, the man was not able to even feed his own family on what he kept for himself and he left the village for another. The village now was left with many looking for free fish, but no one there to provide them.

In the second village, the story begins like the first. A hungry man came to him one day, asking for help. The fisherman gave the man a fish because he saw that he was very hungry. But before the hungry man left, the fisherman also offered that if he would return tomorrow, the fisherman would teach the hungry man how to fish on his own. The hungry man agreed. The fisherman challenged the hungry man that he would offer him lessons only for a short while and offer him free fish even shorter time than that. The hungry man thought this was more than fair… after all, the fisherman owed him nothing… and he was very eager to learn. He showed up early and stayed as late as the fisherman was willing to teach him. He paid close attention and asked good questions. He learned. At the end of the time both were good fishermen. By that time a crowd of others had made a practice to come by to watch. They, too, were hungry and wanted to learn how to fish. Now the two fishermen were able to teach more and when that class learned to fish their impact was even greater. Each new student not only received food to meet their needs for a short while, but then also learned how to provide for themselves and their families. At the end of each class, there were more who knew how to fish and were willing to teach others. The whole village learned to fish and provide for their families. Before long they even heard of a village down the river that was going hungry and a group of them started off to go teach those people how to fish.

Which fisherman truly helped the poor more effectively? The first did for awhile, but then his efforts collapsed. They were unsustainable. The second created capability within those in need to provide for themselves while meeting their immediate needs for a short while. The impact of the second was much more sustainable and changed lives.

Whether an individual, family, community, church, or nation… giving away free stuff without limitations and boundaries to all who ask for as long as they ask encourages sloth and laziness and in the end is unsustainable. At the very least, it does not multiply the impact of the help as effectively as teaching others to be able to provide for themselves and then teach yet more people how to do so.

The most significant example of the success of this strategy may actually surprise you. It started over two thousand years ago with a poor carpenter who had a very important message to share with the world. He helped many people, feeding the poor, healing the sick, and sharing His message with people. His ministry lasted only three years and yet it has global implications even today, over 2000 years later. That carpenter was Jesus Christ.

Jesus took time to help those in immediate need, and did so with great compassion. However, he ensured that he also invested time in teaching his 12 disciples how to learn and then teach others. Additionally, he spent even more dedicated time and invested more in three closest to him… Peter, James, and John. This method that Jesus used is called discipleship. He made disciples, or “learners” who then could go and teach others. It creates a wonderful multiplication effect that magnifies the impact of what you are trying to accomplish.

If Jesus had not focused his efforts through discipleship, but rather only spent all his time meeting the short term needs of the poor, the message would have been contained and died with him or at best with his closest followers.

We should take similar approach in our efforts to help people both physically and spiritually today. Help to meet the immediate needs, within established boundaries and guidelines that help ensure sustainability and teach and prepare those in need how to grow and develop skills to take care of themselves so they are not dependent forever on an individual… a church… or a nation’s government. When individuals are completely dependent on another in this way, they become like slaves or indentured servants rather than enjoying the fullness of freedom God intended for them.


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

The Ant And The Grasshopper – The Rest Of The Story

The environment and attitude in which we work and live, whether dictated by government, business, or within our own family, has a great influence on how we as a individuals and as a culture perform. It can help bring out the best in us or the worst.  We should consider this when selecting where we live and work and also when we have the opportunity to influence or guide the leadership of any of these institutions. We should seek first the kingdom of God and all else will fall into place. When we put our faith in the teachings of God and submit our lives to His principles we make the world a better place.

There is a well known, timeless fable of an ant and a grasshopper that goes something like this:

The fable concerns a grasshopper that spent the summer singing instead of working and saved nothing despite food being plentiful. He consumed everything he gathered with no thought of the future. The ant, on the other hand, worked hard and saved extra food to plan for winter. He made a plan and followed it rigorously, even when it looked like the grasshopper was having more fun while he was working hard.

Winter arrives and the grasshopper finds himself dying of hunger and begs the ant for food. The ant rebukes its idleness and tells it to dance the winter away now.

There are multiple versions of the fable, but the primary version ends with the ant basically letting the grasshopper die and casting even sarcastic words at him with no compassion. Most Christians would agree that the grasshopper was lazy and is now dealing with the consequences of his actions. However, the response of the ant also reveals that the ant does not reflect a Christian worldview, but a selfish one, content to gloat as the grasshopper dies.

There are many alternate endings we could explore, but I will limit myself to two in order to make a point. Both assume that the current ending has in itself a problem we would like to solve.

Alternate Ending 1: Government Must Solve the Problem, [continuing from where the fable left off above]

The other insects in the garden heard how rude the ant was to the grasshopper and came and took what the ant had and gave much of it to the grasshopper calling it “justice” and “equality”. The ant still had enough to get by… in fact he had the same amount as the grasshopper. Both survived winter, but in the following summer the ant, being clever, decided to disregard hard work and rely instead on the insects in charge to meet his needs when winter came by taking from others. When the next season came, there was no food because no one had worked hard and both the ant and the grasshopper died.

Alternate Ending 2: God Has Already Created A Solution, [continuing from where the original fable left off]

A praying mantis heard about the ant and the grasshopper and came to see the ant. He shared the gospel of Christ with the ant and the ant realized that he too made many mistakes, like the grasshopper, but his mistakes were different… like lack of compassion for others. The ant gave his life to Christ and then revised his plans. He learned that if he prepared well, worked hard, sacrificed, and saved… he would be in a position to give to help others. He did not need to be forced to give, but rather he wanted to give freely, as Christ had given so much to him.

The ant met with the grasshopper and shared his personal testimony with him. He then voluntarily gave the grasshopper some food to help him through the winter. Instead of giving half of what he had to the grasshopper, he gave only enough and also taught the grasshopper about hard work, planning, saving and stewarding preparations for the future. The grasshopper listened because he knew the ant cared for him.

When the next summer came around the grasshopper had learned much and because of the voluntary kindness of the ant in the name of Christ the grasshopper gave his life to Christ. They worked hard together and saved extra food in order to help others in the coming winter season. They planned well, worked hard, sacrificed and saved. When winter came they were able to help many insects.

Government taking from those who work hard to give to those who do not creates a dependence on the government. It does not really help those in need over the long term and it removes God from the equation making it a “right” or expectation for someone to receive something instead of them being grateful to God or His provision. When we voluntarily give in the name of God we show His grace and love and can lead many to Christ. But we truly help them when we teach them how to fish instead of giving them a place to come ask for a fish every day.

Does your financial plan and stewardship prepare you to give to those in need in the name of Christ? Or will you instead have just enough for yourself?


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 .

The Way of a Fool Is Right In His Own Eyes

We should be careful to listen to God’s advice. Those who wish to become wise, who love knowledge, must accept discipline and correction… must recognize that others may have more wisdom in some areas than ourselves. That is how we learn and get better.

Proverbs 12:1 and 15

1Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
But he who hates reproof is stupid.

 15The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.

If you are not humble enough to acknowledge that others may have wise input worthy to consider, that you may have made or be making mistakes than you will continue to make mistakes.

Be humble. Seek wisdom. Accept correction from God and from others. Learn from it. Grow in wisdom.

These fundamentals apply to all aspects of life… and certainly to all aspects of managing your finances. There are great examples of public organizations or private advisors that can help. Most people even have others around them that may have good input.

For a few examples, please visit our resources section of our website.


Our mission is to help you. We provide the Resources section of to help provide you with greater depth of resources by referring you to high quality organizations that have a lot of great content or provide a financial service (e.g. broker for investments).

We do not get paid by these organizations for referrals. We do not “compete” with these institutions, but rather see ourselves as part of the body of Christ in connecting you with helpful resources they already provide.

If there are resources you would like to recommend or give us feedback on, please send us information from the Contact Us page.


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

A Wise Man Will Hear and Increase in Learning

Who among us believes it foolish to seek wise counsel from those who have experienced the same things in life that we now face? Not me. Quite the contrary, I value advice from others who have already experienced the challenges I face. We must carefully discern who is providing wise counsel and who is providing only loud opinions… but once we do we can feast on the wisdom they share and seek to apply it to our lives.

Scripture tells us that Solomon received a gift of great wisdom from God. He used it to lead God’s people and govern a prosperous nation.  People came from near and far to hear his wisdom.

1 Kings 4:29    29Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore. 30Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. 31For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations. 32He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. 33He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that grows on the wall; he spoke also of animals and birds and creeping things and fish. 34Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

We have it available to us in the book of Proverbs in the Bible. How much easier for us to learn from him than even those of his own time! What good reason would we have to avoid reading what Solomon wrote and considering how to apply it in our lives? It is free and we can test what he says for ourselves.

Proverbs 1:1-7

The Usefulness of Proverbs

      1The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:

      2To know wisdom and instruction,
To discern the sayings of understanding,

      3To receive instruction in wise behavior,
Righteousness, justice and equity;

      4To give prudence to the naive,
To the youth knowledge and discretion,

      5A wise man will hear and increase in learning,
And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,

      6To understand a proverb and a figure,
The words of the wise and their riddles.

      7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Solomon covers a lot of ground for how to improve our life in interacting with other people and with God. Much of it applies specifically to finances as well. To begin with we should recognize that to become wise, in any area, we must first admit we do not have all the answers and we can learn from others. If we stubbornly believe we already have all the answers than we will get no wiser because we will reject or not listen to the wisdom others share with us. If we admit we have more to learn and we seek wise counsel we will increase in learning.

   5A wise man will hear and increase in learning,
And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,

Two more fundamental building block for a solid foundation on growing in wisdom are captured in verse 7.

      7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Honoring and obeying God is not just “something we do”, like going to church or praying or doing a Bible Study. Obeying God is “a way of doing everything”. Respecting, loving, and yes fearing God is the beginning of knowledge. From this foundation we can gain much wisdom.

Finally, we must admit that those who despise wisdom and instruction are quite plainly fools. Those who refuse wise counsel will remain fools. Let us strive to not be that fool, but instead remain humble enough to listen thoughtfully to advice from God, plainly available in scripture, and to advice from others whom we discern as having credible wisdom. That is how we grow wiser… and wiser… all the days of our lives.

Challenge yourself… are you listening to and considering God’s advice? the advice of others?


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

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.


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