Get Out There And Find Yourself Some Wise, Rich Friends

Photo by MCFlainez

Photo by MCFlainez

Huh?

You’re joking, right Larry? The title on this post seems a little over the top.

Yes, I meant the title to be a bit of shocker, but I’m really only half-joking around about it. Check out the following quote:

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

While there have been no scientific studies done to substantiate this quote (to my knowledge), I don’t think there can be much dispute on the influence of others on our life. We become like the people with whom we hang out and do life with.

If we spend a lot of time with rebellious, worldly, marginal “Christians” (I’m using this label, loosely), then there’s a good chance we’re going to end up worldly and rebellious.

If we hang out with people who are challenged with a poor work ethic and a poverty mindset, then we’re probably going to adopt that same attitude with our work and finances.

If we spend time with selfish, me-centered people, then there’s a great possibility we’re going to become toxic people and self-centered in our personalities.

But …

If we hang out with people who have a deep walk with the Lord and are engaged in a passionate pursuit of the Kingdom of God, then there’s a great possibility that we will become mature in our own walk with the Lord.

If we spend time with hard workers, abundance thinkers, and people who are rocking their career niche, then we’re probably going to start growing in our own area of expertise.

If we spend time with people who live debt free lives with attitudes of contentment and generosity, then there’s a great chance we’re going to pursue this type of financial mindset and lifestyle as well.

What Scripture Tells Us About Friendship

God’s Word is clear that the people we hang around with do have an influence on our lives, for good and for bad. Check out these verses from Scripture about the importance of our personal relationships:

  • Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm (Proverbs 13:20).
  • Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare (Proverbs 22:24-25).
  • Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
  • Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety (Proverbs 11:14).
  • Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future (Proverbs 19:20).
  • Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17).

Our Friends Will Make Us Or Break Us

The people we hang around with will truly make us or break us. Our friends have the power, the ability to build us up or to tear us down. They can encourage us or discourage us to make great life choices or bad ones. They can give us wise, Biblical advice on how to manage God’s money, or they can advise us to live wealthy lifestyles with no consideration for God’s Kingdom work.

Does this mean we dump all of our current friends in favor of “better” friends?

Maybe. Maybe not.

I would simply do a friend audit. If you have a group of friends that impact you negatively, then yeah, it’s time to drop them in favor of more positive influences in your life. On the other hand, if your friends have perhaps a mostly neutral influence in your life, then you can hold on to them. Over time, though, seek out Godly, positive, wise, hard-working friends who can help you move up to that next level in your life.

Questions: Have you done a friend audit, lately? If you did one, what kind of grades would your current group of friends receive? Passing, failing, or excellent? Is it time for you to get out there and find some more positive, influential friends?

5 Foundational Beliefs A Christian Should Grasp In A Biblical View Of Money

Biblical StewardshipChristianity, The Church, Stewardship, And Money

In the last 30-40 years, I believe the American church has done a poor job of laying a strong foundation for Biblical stewardship. There are a number of reasons for this, but this is not within the scope of this particular blog post.

Fortunately in recent years, other ministries and programs such as Crown and Dave Ramsey have come alongside the church to assist pastors and lay leaders in laying a strong Biblical foundation regarding money and stewardship.

When it comes to Christian finances, I believe there are several key, foundational principles that every Christian should know and understand.

The following list contains my top five foundational stewardship beliefs.

5 Key Stewardship Principles From God’s Word

  1. God owns everything. Psalm 24:1 states, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” This is the foundational belief upon which the whole concept of Christian stewardship (or management) rests. We either completely believe that God owns everything in the universe (including all of the stuff in our current possession) or we don’t believe this truth. Plus, how we live our lives and manage these possessions demonstrates if we really believe in God’s ownership or not.
  2. Christians are managers (stewards) of ALL of God’s stuff. 1 Corinthians 4:2 tells us “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” After we come to grips with the first belief, then this second belief should be a natural outflow of the first. If God truly owns it all, then the stuff I currently possess was given to me by God Almighty to manage for Him. As a result, I am compelled to do an excellent, faithful job so that He receives an incredible return on investment!
  3. Kingdom living should be our priority. Matthew 6:19-21 says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Once we understand that God owns it all and we are simply managers of His stuff, then our only concern should be expanding His Kingdom on earth while we are here. Our budgets, expenses, purchases, and investments should all be filtered through a Kingdom mindset. The question that should be continuously on our mind: “Does this use of money truly build up God’s Kingdom and make an impact for eternity?”
  4. Debt is unwise. Proverbs 22:7 reads, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” Although the Bible never states that debt is a sin, it does make the claim that it is unwise and dangerous. If you are a Christian who thinks debt is just a normal, everyday reality in today’s economic climate, then can you truly say with 100% authority that having debt honors God and His Kingdom? I would argue that it doesn’t. I believe that our personal businesses, families, and churches should all strive to be debt free as soon as possible in order for our focus to truly be on God’s Kingdom work.
  5. Our giving should be percentage based. Check out Hebrews 7:2a, and 7:4-9 “and Abraham gave him (Melchizedek) a tenth of everything … Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people—that is, from their fellow Israelites—even though they also are descended from Abraham. This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. And without doubt the lesser is blessed by the greater. In the one case, the tenth is collected by people who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham … ” The tithe (10%) is a great starting point for people to learn and grow in their generosity journey. I understand that a lot of Christians are not in agreement with this statement. But, if you take a comprehensive view of Scripture, including Old Testament (pre-Law and Mosaic Law) and New Testament (as stated in this NT passage from Hebrews), almost every mention of money and giving had a percentage attached to it. Why? Common sense would tell us that we don’t all make the same amount of income. Also, monetary types and values vary widely throughout human history. Percentage-based giving makes more sense according to the concept of “to whom much has been given, much more will be required” (Luke 12:48b).

Questions: If you are a Christian, how do you handle your money and possessions? Do you hold to the Biblical truths in these five principles above, or do you struggle with a carnal, worldly view of your finances? Do you think this list of five principles is comprehensive enough, or would you add or subtract anything from this list?