July 20, 2012

Money Matters: Christian versus The Dollar Bills?

Few days ago, one of my closest friend suddenly said that she reads my blog often. Woah! Do you know how happy I am to hear that? I think she doesn't have any clue how her words affected me. Well, I'm happy to hear that there's actually somebody in this world who appreciates my writing *teehee.

And to top it off, she said she feels really encouraged and enlightened by my Christian-writings. Holy! Thanks Lord for giving me a pair of hands to type, a wonderful macbook pro that can last for 6 hours without battery, and a fresh brain to compose and craft Your words bits by bits. Thanks!

There's been too many things going on in my life lately. Too much to be mentioned altogether in one post so I think I'll just spread it later. Bit by bit.

As a starter, the most important lesson I've learnt these past 2 months is about money and God. You see, it's not money versus God. It's money and God. My church talked about money matters in the whole June and I've learnt a great deal out of it. You can see the sermon summary here.

So what exactly have I learnt? Let's keep it simple and witness my love proclamation toward bullet points.

Money is just a tool
It's either we earn money in our pockets and use it for our needs, or money trap us in their snare and cause us to be addicted to it. How do we know if we're the one using money or money is the one using us? Easiest way to know it is by checking our level of income and expense. Do they match? If not, why? Do you experience "peer pressure" to keep on spending and spending more than what you can afford? Do you tie your expense level to your self-identity? If you keep laying off more money than what you have, there's a fat chance that money is your boss.

Greed is unhealthy
I think the world has been glamourising the concept of "greed" so much that even some Christians can say that having a little greed is okay. Well, honestly, I don't think it's okay. The most obvious side effects of being a Christian is a direct access to free-flowing Godly peace, and this comes from a thankful heart which is the total opposite of greed. What's the expense of greed? A peace of mind, and the ability to enjoy money.

Rich Christians with clean businesses exist
They do. Really, I'm always amazed by the misconceptions surrounding Christians even till now. Hey we believe in God but that doesn't mean we're unable to learn and do businesses. Jesus teaches us to be as gentle as a dove and as smart as a snake. Well of course, deceiving clients, cheating about tax, bribing officials, ruining our competitors, and all the other illegal stuffs are absolutely wrong. But then again, there's always a difference between being smart and sneaky. Just like a thin line between confidence and pride. My point is, Christian entrepreneurs are just like any other businessmen. We'll have to make sure the businesses survive, but in a way that we can shine Christ's light in the marketplace.

Money = Financial resources for God's Kingdom
Building schools, houses, hospitals, and local businesses, providing scholarships or free schooling, sponsoring a poor family, helping disaster-stricken countries, funding research for incurable diseases, etc all these things require the greens. Real money, not leaves.

Entrepreneurship is a life calling
There are people who God places to handle managerial issues, to teach poor children, to heal diseases, to preach and evangelise, to build churches, to volunteer in third world countries, to etc etc and still there's so much more we can contribute to the Kingdom. There are people He allocates to provide the khaching for everything to happen. There's nothing special/exclusive about being a Christian entrepreneur. It's just one of the calling.

More money requires a stronger character
Character's related to self-identity, confidence, integrity, commitment, self-discipline, and responsibility. Do you identify yourself with your personal net worth? Is being rich your idea of having a meaningful life? Do you have disputes on money matter with a family member? To what extent will you sacrifice things to gain more money? Remember, not everybody can handle more $$$. If we grow richer without growing our character at the same time, money can ruin our lives.

Money come and go
In the wheel of life, happiness come and go and loved ones come and go. Money will also come and go - that's life. Similar to life seasons, business will have periods of economic boost and slump. Ever consider what'll happen if one day you lose every dollar that you have up to the last penny? Crisis happens. Failure happens. Many people resort to suicide or ruin their life to the deepest hole once they go bankrupt. Don't do that! The wheel will go up again for you as long as you keep trying keep believing and keep looking for opportunities. Don't give up!

All in all, I know so many believers who dwell in the business world and survive. They are great people whose exemplary lives have been such a blessing to everyone they've met in the marketplace as well as to their family and friends. I used to have so many quandaries about Christianity and money.. But thanks to God this June and July He opens my eyes and lets me understand more things.

Praise God!!!