We may have the “mission” and “money” relationship backwards.
We implement mission and then we pray for the funding - for the money. Maybe we need to intentionally implement the money plans first and then pray for the mission?
What is knowable and rests on God’s principles more clearly than financial stewardship?
This extends to the areas of spending, saving, fundraising, business for mission, and investing. All of these money related areas are addressed both biblically, educationally, and by experience. We know how to do it but often we don’t exercise our stewardship muscle to follow the path to ministry or personal funding to support ministry. One reason for this is that this mentality takes intentionality, hard work and some serious focus. For another, it requires tough decision making, follow through, and both organizational and personal discipline. All things in seemingly short supply for many of our faith-based organizations.
We can dig a little deeper into this insight that we should manage money and listen to God’s instructions for our lives rather than manage ministry and pray for the money.
Providing for financial needs can be and often could be on autopilot in the sense that again, what to do is knowable and attainable, it simply comes down to execution. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t hard, but God has already provided for those activities that are being blessed and we need to follow the general path laid out in order to garner the resources so badly needed by all in legitimate ministry.
The path to resources is identifiable. God’s plans for our lives and ministry start from a zero base and extend to infinity. Surely, there are basic principles of daily living that are common to all of us and often we fall short and are thankful for God’s grace. I want to highlight the specific and unique calling that God prepares for us, his ability to strengthen and then uphold us in the tough times to accomplish what He’s laid before us.
The unique role that exists in every stage of our life is to put our shoulder to the wheel of building His Kingdom here on earth.
Let’s take the point of retirement as the beginning of one of those life stages. We know that there are three stages in retirement and that each stage has some different, yet identifiable, attributes. What you do when you are 65 is different than what you do at 95. What is knowable is that entering into the first stage of “Active Application” with the money issue satisfied, you have put a Future-Funded Ministry plan in place and now have the flexibility to respond to whatever God’s call for your next stage of life is.
We can notice two issues:
1. If you are not financially prepared, your options are more limited and your focus is on money, or the lack of it, not impacting people by listening and following God’s call on that stage of your life.
2. You have sufficient financial resources but don’t know what to do with all of your time. In many ways, this circumstance is even more difficult than the first. You are truly lost because you have not consciously participated in the process that God has been using to prepare you to minister for your lifetime.
Let’s view it this way - during the working years your job, growing family, outside interests, etc... gave meaning, purpose and focus to your life. Now you retire and there seems to be nothing to fill the void.
I recently was at a social dinner and the man sitting next to me was complaining. As he was former military, his financial needs in retirement were pretty minimal. He said, “I wish I had never retired. I’ve always had a sense of duty, meaning, and purpose in my life. Now I only have money and time”. When I asked him what he did, he replied, “Walk my two dogs who are the joy of my life, and help my grandson with this Cub Scout activities.” I asked, “Would you like to do more and do you think God has something specific in mind for you to accomplish before your die?” He said, “I don’t know.” He’d be a lot happier if he did.
No meaning in life and no purpose for life leaves a lifetime of reduced joy and little happiness.
In 1 Peter 2:8-9 it says,
Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another, love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous not returning evil for evil or insults for insults, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.
These are basics on how we are to be blessed. Live like Jesus and acknowledge his call on your life. Doing what you know needs to be done financially and then praying and listening to God’s call on the next stage of your life may be the way he intends us to live.
Us always asking Him to solve our monetary or financial problems must get a little wearisome when He’s shown us the basics on how to deal with them. They are available for all to see and do. What is unique and lives much more in the shadows is consistent engagement with His plan for our lives. We need to spend much more time and energy on that.
Stay with us as we continue on life’s and ministry journey, with Trusted Advice along The Way.
If this idea prompted some new or reflective thinking, pass it on to your network and comment as you are led.