When My Heart Is Right, My Money Gets Right

Photo by Thomas Hawk

Photo by Thomas Hawk

Do Versus Believe

I think many people believe that if they DO right things with money that their money will be right. If they and their spouse can get on the same page with their money, then they will enjoy peace in this area of money. If they can have a working family budget, then they will gain a sense of control with their money. If they can just get out of debt and stay out of debt, they will enjoy financial freedom. If they can get their retirement fully funded, then they will have financial security in the future.

While all of these concrete actions with money are certainly helpful, what people (especially Christians) BELIEVE about money will impact them in an even greater way, long-term.

Here are three areas where Christians struggle to get their heart right regarding money.

3 Areas Of Financial Belief For The Christian

First Area: Ownership. Psalm 24:1-2 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.”

Scripture is crystal clear that God owns everything.

But, Christians struggle with this ownership issue. The world’s money system tells us that we are in charge of our stuff. It’s really easy to forget that God has called us to be managers of what He has given us and not the owners.

When we fully understand that God is the owner of ALL things and we are simply the managers of what He has given us to manage, then we start making different, better decisions with HIS money. We don’t have such a tight-fisted stranglehold on money because we comprehend that it’s not our money to begin with. We can live our lives with open, generous hands when it comes to His money. We start making decisions based on what we believe God wants to do with His money through us as His servants.

Second Area: Contentment. Philippians 4:12-13 says, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

The world’s money system tells us that we should be unhappy and dissatisfied with what we currently have. We need to go out and buy us some newer and better stuff. We will be helping the national economy if we go out and spend more. It’s a win-win situation all around.

What is contentment, exactly? Contentment is simply being satisfied in our current state. It doesn’t mean that we can’t or shouldn’t have goals or ambitions. But, what it does mean is that we can relax and be satisfied with what God has given to us today in regard to our finances. As a Christian, our ultimate source of satisfaction should be in Christ, not in our stuff.

Third Area: Purpose. Matthew 6:31-33 says, “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

The world’s money system tells us that we need to chase after our basic needs with our money before anything else – stuff to eat and stuff to wear.

God flips this philosophy around and tells us that as His children, He will meet our needs in abundance. We don’t need to be concerned with the basic necessities of this life. He will take care of us. God wants our primary concern to be expanding His Kingdom with His financial resources above all else.

Questions: Many people believe that if they DO right things with money that their money will be right. And, while this is certainly helpful, what they BELIEVE about money will impact them in an even greater way. What do you believe about money in these three areas of ownership, contentment, and purpose? Do your actions with money line up with your beliefs?

5 Awesome Books That Have Radically Changed My Life And Made Me More Productive

Photo by Sam Fam

Photo by Sam Fam

A Great Book Can Change Your Life

Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve been inspired by numerous authors, books, and the entire writing process. Guess that’s one of the reasons I became a blogger. I like analyzing stuff and then getting my thoughts out of my head and onto the computer screen.

The best books by the best authors are able to inspire a different level of thinking and living. They are able to get you to re-examine previously held beliefs and then take massive change in a new direction.

The following list of five books are ones that contain five big concepts that I think about on a daily basis. They have re-shaped my life and literally molded me into a better person (in my opinion). If you’ve never read these books, then I would highly encourage you to check them out!

5 Books That Have Impacted Me

1. Financial Peace [affiliate link] by Dave Ramsey. This is one of the first books that really altered my life in a number of ways. I remember walking into a bookstore around 2004-2005 and running across this bluish-green book by some guy named Dave Ramsey. He completely changed my views on money and the manner in which it should be wisely handled. As a result of reading Financial Peace, I will never again view debt the same way as I did in the past. I will never again be able to return to the old patterns of mismanaged personal finances. Thanks, Dave, for your wisdom and experience in this vitally important area of our lives. My life will never be the same as a result.

2.The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People [affiliate link] by Stephen Covey. The big takeaway from this book that has stuck with me over the years is the concept of 4-quadrant living. The four quadrants include:

  • Quadrant 1: Urgent and Important Activities. These could include emergencies, putting out fires, and tight work deadlines.
  • Quadrant 2: Not Urgent but Important Activities. These could include exercise, planning, writing, meditation, recreation, and relationship building.
  • Quadrant 3: Urgent But Not Important Activities. These could include some calls, some emails, some meetings, and popular activities.
  • Quadrant 4: Not Urgent and Not Important Activities. These could include trivia, busy work, some calls, and some email.

So, the takeaway from Covey and 4-quadrant living that I contemplate on a daily basis is this: hang out in Quadrant 2 as much as you possibly can, especially during the peak performance hours of your day. I attempt to structure my day around these quadrants in order to maximize my overall performance.

3. The 80/20 Principle [affiliate link] by Richard Koch. The book was a reinterpretation of the Pareto principle, extending its use beyond economics and business, to cover issues such as “time revolution” and personal happiness (source: Wikipedia). The world is ruled by Pareto’s Law which states 80% of results are the result of 20% of inputs. Stated another way, 20% of my specific work activities have the capacity of producing 80% of my best work results. The key is knowing which 20% activities produce your best 80%! As a result of reading this book, I ponder every day whether or not I’m engaged in my top 20% activities. As a side note, this also corresponds to Quadrant 2 living in Covey’s book.

4. Good To Great [affiliate link] by Jim Collins – The key idea that I got from this must-read business book is “get the right people in the right seats on the right bus!” Now, with every group that I organize and lead, I attempt to get the right people in the right positions for the right task. If you want to take any organization from okay to awesome, then you must follow this principle.

5. The 4-Hour Body [affiliate link] by Tim Ferriss. I’m a big Tim Ferriss fan. I read his first book, The 4-Hour Workweek in 2007 (I debated whether or not to add this book to this list) and then I started following his blog. I purchased his next book, The 4-Hour Body, right around its release date, and found many of his experiments and teachings to be highly actionable. As a result of following a (mostly) slow carb-ish diet and exercise regimen, I was able to go from 170 lbs to 158 lbs. This took me down two pant sizes (from a 34 down to a 32). My belly flattened out and I have more lean muscle mass and less body fat. I added this book to the list because at age 42, I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life as a result of reading it. Plus, there’s a lot of other incredibly awesome experiments and actionable ideas that you should check out as well.

Questions: So, have you read any of these books? Did you glean the same key concepts that I did or something entirely different? Do you a list of books that have impacted your life in amazing ways? If so, feel free to leave your list in a comment below. I’d love to see what books have changed your life!