A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his path ~ Proverbs 16:9
I have not accomplished many of the things I planned for my life. But that is just it. It used to be all about: Me. Years ago, I was looking to make my mark in the world but wasn’t too concerned with sharing my faith, living a Word-led life, or being in a project that may make a mark with the Gospel.
But this is not the only thing God has refocused. I’ll share a few more regarding my finances.
A Happy Home
My husband and I were, at one point, planning to purchase a home through means that I now believe Christians should avoid. This house was going to satisfy my wants. But God told me I didn’t need me to beg worldly lenders for money because He provides, so I left this in His hands. Thankfully, my husband didn’t want to get a house with loan debt either.
He planted something else in my heart. We’re working towards owning a few free and clear properties. We plan to lend a piece of our land to the Trinity Phix ministry. It can also be place to fellowship, have events, or retreats. Now, I don’t know when this will happen. I know it will take me longer to achieve certain goals, but this nurtures patience and builds endurance.
I also know that my value does not lie in a house or any possession I have–but in Christ. And as this battle boils within, God simmers the struggle with His Truth. Whatever my current shelter is, whether it’s a house, an apartment, a motel, car, RV, tent, cardboard box, or under His sun & moon, I’m at peace with that. I know that my true home is not on this earth. And no matter where I am, I have God, so I am always “home.”
Wise Saving & Investing?
In the world, you will find there are many ways to invest and/or save your money (Proverbs 6:6-8). You could simply get a traditional savings account, treasury notes, or opt-in to your employer’s retirement plan; you can invest in mutual funds, bonds, stocks, real estate or startups, etc. Of course, my financial plans and goals included some of this because this is what the world teaches. God stepped in and told me to be cautious and Biblically discerning while treading here. I should be picky about who I partner with to grow my seed money. 2 Corinthians 6:14 definitely fits here.
Consider banks and other lenders, for example. These secular businesses exploit the poor and deepen people’s debt (Proverbs 22:22-23). We should be merciful (Luke 6:36), but even if they weren’t like that, why would I partner with them in the business sense to grow my money? We should not yoke ourselves with unbelievers as mentioned above. Besides, followers of Christ should be involved with lending that seeks nothing in return (Luke 6:34-35)(Matthew 5: 42). I know some people like to cherry-pick old testament laws or twist scriptures (like Matthew 25:27) to justify lending at interest for business purposes. I understand why people do this. We must all admit that we are naturally greedy. People don’t want to miss out on any money, but the Bible doesn’t mold to us; it’s the opposite. Jesus said what he said plainly. It’s not confusing. Truth is, even if one wants to cancel out what Jesus said with Deuteronomy 23:20, when it comes to lenders, we know they lend to Christians at interest, which we see was prohibited for God followers in that very passage. So it’s still wrong to participate and profit off of that since you know that truth remains.
Let’s not even talk about what some lenders do with your money as you let it accumulate. Depending on your lifestyle, some things you might not be able to escape, like having a regular (non-interest bearing) checking account–though Islamic banks could be a better option as they do not operate like a typical bank. For example, they don’t lend at interest or invest in unethical industries; some Christians are beginning to put their money in these banks.
Just consider that there is a difference between using a service or buying something because you need it and actively partnering with a company and profiting off of what it does. For example, one may not yolk him or herself with a business by buying stock in the company but may buy an asset like property from the entity. No union there. You simply bought something for sale, and the transaction is done. Now, some people are even picker regarding who they buy from. I understand that; however, we do live in a flawed world. Sometimes, we have to buy food and other things from companies we don’t agree with, but we definitely know we should not partner with unbelievers in business.
A Few Things I do Now
My husband and I live debt-free lives and are location independent. We are slowly building financial wealth. Our goal is to live off a small percentage of our income; it is used for giving, saving, investing, and other basic expenses. We are increasing our knowledge to become more self-reliant. We try to make the few purchases we make count. We aim to not waste money on things that will quickly depreciate.
If we need clothes or shoes (which is rare), we usually buy secondhand high-end, vintage, or antique clothing made of natural materials (linen, wool, leather, fur, & silk). These are generally healthier than fake materials, even if the production process was not perfect as we try to stay away from used fast fashion. Every now and then, we go ahead and buy from an indie designer who uses natural, organic fabrics and dyes. Newly made clothing is said to have a higher vibration. Or we might sketch and design something and hire a freelance seamstress to bring our ideas to life if I can’t do it. We live simply yet luxuriously.
A chunk of items we buy should naturally appreciate or at least maintain value if we need to liquidate some assets–except for a few electronics.
And there are many interest-free ways to build wealth to help your family & those in need. Of course, some options could serve multiple purposes. As you filter through your choices with the Word, consider old and new methods to diversify a bit (Ecclesiastes 11:2):
> Certain real estate
> Gold, silver, copper (gold is pretty liquid)
> Fine wine
> Fine jewelry
> Vtg high-end designer clothing
> Fine gemstones/crystals
> Classic cars
> Learn to live well on less/w excess save + invest
> Build multiple financial streams
> Startups of fellow Christians u agree/own percentage of Co.
> Start your own business or buy one
> Keep some valuables in a buried, immovable safe
> Digital assets (buy websites, domains, cryptocurrency, etc)
> Other collectibles like art
You can even do stuff online, let it build up, & much more. You will have to do some work, research, and due diligence for most of the options above. But you can still come out okay without joining unbelievers or using interest. For example, if you bought 20 oz. of gold in 2001 for $5420, it’s worth $27,860 in 2019. Yes, you will have to shop around for a good price, but you’re still increasing your money regardless. Real estate is where many people build wealth, though we have to be discerning in this area as well. It is best to invest in what you know or seek out counsel. I know that many of these options are not too liquid, but my concern is doing what aligns with the Word, not doing what the world tells me is wise.
Just remember that if you are Christian, your faith lies in Jesus Christ; these are just things, which should be held loosely. We know that our treasure is not in temporal things (Matthew 6:19-21). So most importantly, we must give our time, gifts, & money to God. I don’t have much, but the time, gifts, things, & money God gives me, I share with others, the needy, and various ministries.
I was living in my little world thinking my financial plans & goals were Good. Thankfully, with Biblical reflection and study, I was able to gain clarity on this.
And, of course, God continues this filtering process as I am constantly evolving. And it is not always this beautiful experience that emits a pleasant fragrance in the air. Sometimes it stinks. It stinks because, sometimes, I just don’t like what the Bible says.
But I am letting go of my plans and goals, allowing what I learn in the Bible to work in me and guide me. I am truly thankful He has God-centered my self-centered plans.
We have many choices in life, but our choice can either honor God or not. I can admit that there were many times in my life that I was doing my own thing. But now, at least, I know I’m striving to do right.
I’m glad that even our self-willed plans are still His Plan as we’re constantly growing and make mistakes unknowingly. I just fear that, at times, some of us do not listen to what the Bible & the Holy Spirit says because it interferes with our goals & plans. And if you allow your flesh to guide you, then you are not serving God–but the enemy.