Have you ever found yourself in a surprising situation? You know, nobody likes a surprise unless it comes with a bow attached. Have you ever gotten a surprise about your finances?
Those are the toughest! You start to realize that life has a way of sneaking up on your money and making it disappear.
I’m no different than you are.
God has taught me a few things through His Word about money. And those lessons all started over some pancakes. My wife and I had just gotten married. It was just a week after we had gotten back from our honeymoon. We were eating pancakes on a Saturday morning.
My wife said to me, “Joe, let’s talk about our future.” I said, “Sure, let’s talk about our future.”
I took my first bite of pancake in our little garage apartment, and she said, “Well, number one, you need a better job.”
I said, “I had a better job, remember? But you wanted me to have insurance, so I took a job that was worse because it had insurance.”
“I know,” she said, “but you need a better job with insurance.”
And then she asked me, “Well, do you want to have any children?” I said, “Do you want to have any children?” “Well, sure,” she replied, “I’d like to have some children.” Then, more specifically, she asked, “Well, how many would you like?” I said, “I don’t know, Babe. You’re the one that’s going to have them. How many do you want?”
Denise’s father had 12 brothers and sisters, and my father had 12 brothers and sisters. We both come from really big families. She went on to tell me that she would like to have about five children. So we’re sitting there talking, and the longer she talked, the deeper the conversation went.
Now, at that time we were one-week-old newlyweds living in a two-bedroom garage apartment. We only had one bed, and that’s it. We don’t even have a couch. We don’t have anything.
Looking around I said, “Where will all the kids sleep?” She said, “In our new house, Joe. You are going to have to buy one.” I was numb.
After two hours of talking, my pancakes were turning in my stomach. I thought, What have I gotten myself into? Where am I going to get all this money?
This month we are talking about money. We are talking about how to get more money and how to keep the money we have.
TWO PRINCIPLES OF FINANCIAL SUCCESS
PRINCIPLE #1 – The right attitude.
There are many different types of situations and needs, but you can turn the tide on all financial issues with two principles that will set you on the right financial path.
“You are either blessed or broke based on what you believe. It’s not based on the economy, or who your daddy was, or what your GPA is, or what your IQ is, or how many degrees you have or don’t have. It’s based on what you believe inside your heart.”
The first one is the most important. It’s your attitude. “Attitude?” you might ask, “What does my attitude have to do with my money?”
You are either blessed or broke based on what you believe. It’s not based on the economy, or who your daddy was, or what your GPA is, or what your IQ is, or how many degrees you have or don’t have. It’s based on what you believe inside your heart.
THE LESSON ISAAC LEARNED
The Bible says in Proverbs 23:7, “As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.” Isaac had to learn this lesson.
Let me paraphrase Genesis chapters 25 and 26, which tells the story of when Isaac lived in the land of the Philistines.
The land was in a drought but God kept showing Isaac where to dig to find water. So Isaac and his family are doing great because they had water. Everyone else had to come to him to buy his water!
All of sudden, the Philistines get mad, and one night they fill his well up with dirt. Isaac is not sure what to do, but he doesn’t want to start a fight, so he moves down the coast a little bit and digs another well. He found water again, and everything’s going good. But the people are jealous.
That night they filled his new well up with dirt. So he moves down a little further and digs another well. He finds water and the Philistines fill it up again! They fill up four wells in a row!
Finally, after he digs the fifth well, they leave him alone.
He’s sitting there worshiping God one night, and God speaks to him and says, “I am the Lord your God. I told you I will never leave you nor forsake you. I am with you.” Isaac says “Really? You’ll never leave me? They filled my wells up with dirt! If I’m so blessed, why do they keep filling my wells up with dirt?”
And God said, “Well you dug another one, didn’t you?” Isaac says, “And they filled that one up with dirt too!” Isaac argues five more time before God replies, “I said I’ll never leave you nor forsake you. I didn’t say you wouldn’t have opposition. You keep finding better wells don’t you? Shut your face, Isaac, and grab a shovel!”
PRINCIPLE #2 – Get a plan.
Once you get your attitude right the next thing you need is a plan. You need to find out two things: how much money do I need, and how much money do I have. If you are like me, than you’ll realize you need a lot more money than you have. But don’t stop there. You also need a plan for how you are going to get the extra money you need. We’re gonna have to learn to do something different.
“He had a plan to make up the extra money he needed, and he worked that plan. And that made a big difference! I was mad at my father for a year, but I finally got over it and repented. Eventually, I thanked him. He had the courage to do something different.”
I learned this from my dad. In 1955, we moved to Chattanooga because my dad got a job working for DuPont. We rode a bus for two years before we could finally afford a car. My dad made $35 a week and worked swing shift for 13 years. We were so poor, dirt poor. I remember going into my senior year in high school and my dad was about to get promoted to foreman at DuPont. He’d still be working night shift, but he was going to get a big raise.
We were going to get our own house for the first time ever. Finally, I’m going to have a place for my buddies to come over and visit.
All of a sudden dad came home and said, “Guys, I’m not taking that foreman’s job. They’ve given me an opportunity where I can go to school for four years and become a craftsman electrician. Once I do, I’ll get to work the day shift the rest of my life, and it’s going to triple my salary. BUT, for the next four years I gotta take a cut in salary. We’re gonna have less money.” “LESS money!”
I was livid. I watched my father go through that course of events. He did get that promotion, and he did work the day shift the rest of his life.
He had a plan. He eventually retired from DuPont, and my mom still owns the land that my daddy bought. He had a plan to make up the extra money he needed, and he worked that plan. And that made a big difference! I was mad at my father for a year, but I finally got over it and repented. Eventually, I thanked him. He had the courage to do something different.
Later on in life, I needed that lesson. When Denise and I went into the ministry, I couldn’t find a job to pay me enough to cover my bills. On top of that, we were dropping babies like rainwater out of heaven! I was mad—mad at God and mad at myself. All that pressure caused me to seek God and find out what His Word says about my finances and my family’s future. That was actually how my book, Family Finances: Making and Managing Money and scripture card set, Telling Yourself the Truth About Money came about. Thank God I did, because I needed to get my attitude straight on finances and get myself a plan. There is power in telling yourself what God’s Word says and using it as a guide.
THE TAKE AWAY
God orders our steps. If we’re not going anywhere, it’s difficult for God to lead us.
Get yourself a plan. Don’t worry about it being perfect. It will change, but if you don’t have any plan, you don’t have anything to act on, to pray over and walk out!
TOOLS TO HELP YOU GET STARTED
Find out what God’s Word says about money— how to make and manage it for your family!
Remind yourself of God’s promises to you every day with this 31-day scripture card set.
The best thing you can do as a couple is learn what God’s Word says about marriage. It will help you to get on the same team and build something great together!