When asked to write an article on faith and finances, the first thing that came to mind was that I am not an expert in either of these fields. Then I realised that it doesn’t matter. I am learning all of the time (like us all) and I have started on a journey because of what the bible has to say. I do not need to have finished the race, in order to help others learn to run.
To help you understand where I am coming from, I’ll take you back a while. About 6 months ago, I felt lead to teach at our church/homegroup about the spiritual authority that we have when we speak. What we say has huge spiritual significance, we can’t expect God to lift us out of a depressed state, if we sit telling ourselves how depressed we are all day. What we speak to ourselves, and what we think about ourselves will have an impact on our lives, this is biblical, just watch just about any Joyce Meyer DVD! Being the one that was teaching this, I thought it may be best if I actually did it, so my wife and I made a concious effort to say the right thing, so “I have high blood pressure” became, “My blood pressure may be high at the moment, but it will come down!” I’m not lying, but I’m not taking ownership of the situation either. Also we stopped saying things like, “I’m so stupid” when we made a mistake, it may seem like nothing, but we didn’t want to speak anything negative over our lives anymore!
Our church was founded on John 10:10, which is The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. Our saying used to be, “What side of the full stop are you living in?” After having success with thinking and speaking Godly things as apposed to negative things, I turned my thoughts to money. I know that John 10:10 doesn’t only apply to money, but it doesn’t exclude it either. Now at this stage I was working for a company in London, England, and this company wasn’t doing so well. I had always just found a job, worked hard, and spent less money than I had. That was my idea of being a good steward and how life worked.
At this stage, we went to South Africa on holiday to visit our families (my wife and I were both born there). While there, I spoke to a few people about starting my own business, which I could run while I still worked for the other company. The people that I spoke to encouraged me to go ahead with it as they felt that I had something to offer and that there was a need for my skills.
Upon returning to the UK, I started my very own business (Sumcor Limited t/a Spreadsheet Solutions) and opened a website (http://spreadsheetsolutions.pw)! This was a huge step for me as it was taking me well out of my comfort zone. Fortunatley I have a really supportive wife, and some really good friends close by, who were a huge help to me. This was a big deal for me, but it was bearable, because I still had my regular job which provided regular income.. Or did I? 2 weeks after getting back and starting my business, I was told that the company was closing down and I was being made redundant (retrenched). I had not been there 2 years yet, so I had no financial gain, in fact I still have not been paid my last two months salary yet! Now all of a sudden I am having to trust in God a lot more that I was comfortable doing.. But they say if you’re a comfortable Christian, you’re doing it wrong!
This turning point had it’s ups and downs, but three points it has made me face were my ability, my faith and God’s promises. One thing I noticed is that the bible says “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”, not “Christ can do all things through me”. The power comes from Christ, the doing comes from me.
Now we have been discussing blessings and abundant life in home group, and once again I found myself answering the question: “If we do what we are supposed to, will God then bless us?”. My answer went something like this. No, I don’t believe that God blesses us because we do good deeds, I believe that we ‘find’ blessings because we do good deeds. Let me explain. Think of it like this, if you asked me for $100 and I said to you that I had put $100 under a rock in your garden. When you go into your garden, there were 5 rocks, so you turned over the first one and found nothing. Second one, nothing. Third one, and there was $100! Did I give you the $100 because you turned over the rocks, or did you find the $100 that was there because you were obedient? It is the same with blessings. God’s power, our actions.
So, putting all of this together, I was sitting chatting to our friends the other day, and I was asking them what they thought of a ministry idea for me, and I said that if I won the lottery, and didn’t need money, I would have a buisness that helps businesses be more productive and eliminate errors by creating excel documents specifically for that business, because I love using excel and I love helping people. I would also go around the world giving money to people in need. I was then ‘gently’ reminded, that I already do one of those things, so why was I waiting for the money before doing the other?
I had already started my own business doing what I love, and what I believe God wants me to be doing, but when it came to giving money, I thought I couldn’t because I didn’t have enough to give (or so I thought). I have had words spoken over me before, some quite scary, about leading armies into battle and speaking the Word of God to the nations.. How do you get to that point sitting on the couch, waiting for God to get you there? Jesus said it was finished, then he handed the batten over to us.. Do we do it in our strength, no, do we do it, yes!
This has now lead me to create a database of charities throughout the world (yes I did it in excel), which I have only just started, but already have the opportunity to give, albeit just a little, but believe that ‘If I build it, they will come’. I am trying to be obedient to what God is calling me to do, even though I don’t have the whole plan on my desk yet. You always have to start a long journey with the first step. I will live on the right hand side of the full stop, and I want to encourage people to join me there, take that first step. I am not giving so that I will be blessed, I believe that I will be blessed so I give. Would I like to give more, yes, but at the moment I give what I can and trust that as the business grows, I will be able to give even more, so I am preparing for that!
I hope that this has encouraged you to take a step in the direction that you believe that God is leading you. It doesn’t have to be a big one, just start. Show intent. Take action. If our God is for us, who can be against us? His power, our action.
Go out and be blessed! All the glory to God!