Category Archives: 20 Lessons Finances

To Owe Is Slavery

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To Owe Is Slavery

Rather go to bed without dinner than to rise in debt.—Benjamin Franklin

How much money do you owe? Most Americans carry some debt, and that’s not including home mortgages. The stats are alarming. More to the point, how does your debt make you feel? Stressed? Suffocated? Enslaved? You’re not alone, brother! I believe we can all agree that debt is not our friend. Indeed, it’s an enemy. But knowing the enemy can better equip us to defeat it.

So let’s take a look at a few choice bits of wisdom about debt from God’s Word.

One: Debt is financial slavery

“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” (Proverbs 22:7)

The very second you borrow money, you are burdened with an obligation to pay it back. And this obligation carries weight — it adds to your load. It means you’ve already spent money you don’t even have yet, and it’s defeating. Suddenly you’re having to add another item to your list of bills and then exercise the discipline to pay back a portion of it from every paycheck. Face it — you've become a slave. This is not the identity God wants for his man.

Two: We owe enough already

“Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” (Romans 13:7)

It’s not a sin to have expenses. Every month we pay taxes, utility bills, insurance premiums, service fees, the list goes on. We owe substantial sums of money already without adding debt to the picture. Who needs that? Stop the insanity. You don't need another recurring payment that own's you.

Three: Debt is a sign you love something too much

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24)

Don’t fool yourself into believing that we actually can serve two masters. Isn’t it possible to rack up the debt and still put God first? Nope. Won’t happen. Debt is distracting. It’s bothersome. It occupies the mind and sort of shoves everything else aside. It doesn’t help that our culture encourages an attitude of entitlement and a mindset of instant gratification. Sure, it’s okay to look forward to a new purchase of some kind, but first we need to assign it the appropriate priority in our budget, save for it, and patiently wait for it until we can pay for it. It’s called “living within our means.” And sometimes after we’ve waited awhile, we realize we don’t really want or need this new thing after all. This is true most of the time.

Four: There is one debt you can owe

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other.” (Romans 13:8)

Love each other. Now there’s a debt we can afford and embrace. We owe it to our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers — indeed everyone in our circles of influence —  to love them. Even those we find hard to love. It’s a debt God actually sanctions. In fact, He commands it. But in a very real sense, to love is more of an investment than a debt. The more we love, the more our capacity to love grows. So I guess the moral of the story is “Be free from debt and love freely.”

Final word: Whether or not you have any debt, seek God’s guidance to establish a budget and stick to it. Figure out how much of your monthly income you’ll need to spend for each budget item, and be disciplined about adhering to your plan. Be sure to give back to God first — your giving should top the list. And don’t add to your debt. Rather, whittle it down and whittle it down until there’s none left. Got more expenses than funds? Then cut back your spending wherever possible and increase your income. Not easy, I know, but it is that simple. Trust me. Better yet, trust God. Between you and Him, you’ve got this.

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Vince Miller is an author and speaker to men around the world on topics that include manhood, masculinity, fatherhood, mentorship, and leadership. He has authored 18 different books for men and is hosted on major video platforms like RightNow Media and Faithlife TV. He hosts a weekly podcast, writes weekly articles, and provides daily thoughts from God's Word all just for men. He is a 27-year ministry veteran and the founder of Resolute a Men's Ministry Platform that provides bible studies aimed at building better men found at www.beresolute.org. See his latest book and small group study Called to Act: 5 Uncomplicated Disciplines for Men.

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A Killer Retirement Plan For Men

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A Killer Retirement Plan For Men

Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” — Fred Rogers

“Retirement” can be a touchy topic in some circles, so let’s be clear about one thing right up front: we never retire from doing the work of the Lord. We might retire from a vocation, but as followers of Christ we continue to serve God’s purposes for our lives here on earth until the day we die.

That said, I’ll make what should be rather an obvious observation: we must steward our financial resources well – not from a worldly perspective, but from a biblical perspective.

It’s All God’s

To be a “steward” is to manage something that belongs to someone else. Whatever your emotional attachment might be to your wealth and material possessions, the bottom line is this: God owns it all. Everything. And He is clear in His Word that we will occasionally encounter some lean times. So we must be shrewd in stewarding what belongs to Him.

Here are three principles that will aid us immeasurably in the stewardship of God’s resources:

One: Avoid Worshiping Some Future State of Ease

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.—Acts 20:24

Paul is sharing from his heart, here, about the thing that he deems most valuable: the story of God’s grace in his life. And Paul knows something about grace – think of the man he used to be, a brutal persecutor of Christians. We can become so consumed with our money, our currency, that we worship the things we invest it in. Like retirement, or the kind of lifestyle we want for ourselves with all of its perks and pleasures. But of course God’s Word tells us that He and He alone is worthy of our worship. Paul states that even his life is not precious to himself. What is his currency? His testimony “to the gospel of grace.”

Two: We Never Retire – Only Our Duties Change

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ”This applies to the Levites: from 25-years-old and upward they shall come to do duty in the service of the tent of meeting. And from the age of 50 years they shall withdraw from the duty of the service and serve no more.”—Number 8:23-24

Indeed, our duties will change over time – our call to service will look different in each stage. But this does not mean we end up just sitting on the beach lounging in the sun. What is your call to service at this particular time in your life? Certainly, one responsibility we have or will have as we gain more life experience is to mentor the next generation and prepare them for a life of service in the kingdom.

Three: The Timeline Is Uncertain – Storing Up More May Be the Wrong Choice

And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’—Luke 12:16-21

Today could be our last! But Proverbs 21:20 says, “Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.” In other words, a wise man reserves a little for a later day, but the foolish man uses everything up at once. Is the Bible in conflict with itself, here? No – but God does encourage us to strike a balance. It’s the difference between saving wisely and hoarding.

So by all means, put a plan in place for your later years. Key to it all, though, is to seek God’s guidance every step of the way. After all, it’s His

Vince-Miller-Bio-Pic-2019

Vince Miller is an author and speaker to men around the world on topics that include manhood, masculinity, fatherhood, mentorship, and leadership. He has authored 18 different books for men and is hosted on major video platforms like RightNow Media and Faithlife TV. He hosts a weekly podcast, writes weekly articles, and provides daily thoughts from God's Word all just for men. He is a 27-year ministry veteran and the founder of Resolute a Men's Ministry Platform that provides bible studies aimed at building better men found at www.beresolute.org. See his latest book and small group study Called to Act: 5 Uncomplicated Disciplines for Men.

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Give Up The Lack Mindset

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Give Up The Lack Mindset

For me, all my negative thoughts that I have about, 'How did you miss that pitch? Why did you miss that pitch? You shouldn't have missed that pitch.' I just kind of sit there and kind of crush it up, and once I'm done doing that... I just kind of toss it aside.—Aaron Judge

Money Matters

Money matters, but not so much the way you might think. Yes, it’s true, that in most cultures around the world, people are paid for their work with some form of currency. It’s what we use to buy food, clothing, and shelter. We exchange it for getting our needs met

But money matters in a much different – and more insidious – way, too. It can trip a guy up. It can become an all-consuming object of desire and greed that leads to corruption and ruin. I am not overstating the case, here! God says it this way:

 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”—1 Timothy 6:10

No wonder the Bible mentions money so often — by one count there are more than 2,300 verses about money, wealth, and possessions!

The FOMO Factor

It’s not that money in and of itself is bad. It’s a tool. It’s a resource that God wants us to manage well. Spent wisely, money can aid the poor, feed the hungry, and go a long way toward helping spread the good news of the gospel and building God’s kingdom. The thing that gets us in trouble, though, is when we start believing that we don’t have enough of it. I call it “The Lack Mindset.” Admit it. How often do you find yourself thinking, “If only I had a little more cash…”?

And our culture doesn’t help matters any. We are bombarded day in and day out with appeals from all types of media trying to convince us that we need nicer cars, bigger houses, better clothes, and more luxurious vacations. The result? Wanting. Craving. FOMO, or fear of missing out, perhaps. The temptations can be overwhelming.

The NOMO Fear Factor

So let’s be sure right off the bat that we adopt the right attitude about money and things and material possessions. Here are three perspectives that will keep us on the right track:

One | Trust in God, not your stuff.

Easier said than done, I know, but think about it. We’re always looking for “the sure thing,” right? The only thing that’s “sure” about your stuff, however, is that it’s temporary. It’s subject to age and decay. It can be taken away in an instant. God, on the other hand, is eternal. He is unchanging, ever loving and ever gracious. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding,” says Proverbs 3:5. We may not always understand His ways (how can we – He’s God and we’re not), but we know we can always, always trust Him.

Two | Accept that you have already been given everything.

Really, now, what more could we want? The keys to a new car or the keys to heaven – an eternity in paradise with God Himself? The truth is that in Christ we have hit the biggest jackpot of all. And money can’t buy it. Jesus bought it with His blood, and all we have to do is accept it. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 1:3)

Three | Invest your time in real treasures that don't depreciate or demand more.

One of the great things about the tremendous wealth we have as co-heirs with Christ is that when we share it, spread it around, give it away, not one iota is subtracted from our inheritance. In fact, we end up adding to the treasure that God is safeguarding for us in heaven. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

Where is your heart? True, we work hard to earn a living and pay the bills. But when we hit a low spot and we’re unsure how to fund our next meal, we are only reminded of how fleeting our wealth here on earth really is. Yes, money matters. Let’s just make sure that it matters for the Kingdom of God.

Vince-Miller-Bio-Pic-2019

Vince Miller is an author and speaker to men around the world on topics that include manhood, masculinity, fatherhood, mentorship, and leadership. He has authored 18 different books for men and is hosted on major video platforms like RightNow Media and Faithlife TV. He hosts a weekly podcast, writes weekly articles, and provides daily thoughts from God's Word all just for men. He is a 27-year ministry veteran and the founder of Resolute a Men's Ministry Platform that provides bible studies aimed at building better men found at www.beresolute.org. See his latest book and small group study Called to Act: 5 Uncomplicated Disciplines for Men.

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5 Guidelines For A Man’s Giving

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5 Guidelines For A Man's Giving

If a person gets his attitude toward money straight, it will help straighten out almost every other area in his life.—Billy Graham

Can we all agree on something? Giving is not an option. It’s commanded in God’s Word. It’s not negotiable. We give in part because God wants us to give. But God also provides us with some guidelines for giving on His terms. Here are five big ones:

GUIDELINE ONE | Give as you are able.

Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that He has given you.—Deuteronomy 16:17

It’s pretty simple. When God has blessed you abundantly, you give abundantly. When He has blessed you modestly, you give accordingly. The Old Testament prescribes a tithe, or 10 percent of your income. Good rule of thumb. But the New Testament implies that we should give sacrificially. So perhaps even when our income is modest, we give abundantly anyway! “Every man shall give as he is able…” leaves us with a lot of latitude, so certainly it’s a matter of prayer. Seek God’s guidance – let it be between you and Him.

GUIDELINE TWO | Give habitually.

On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.—1 Corinthians 16:2

Give weekly! Make it a matter of routine. Let it become part of your regular agenda – to the point where you just do it and not even think about it. A lot of people consider Sunday to be the first day of the week, so that makes it easy if that’s when you attend church. Just toss your gift in the offering plate/basket/bag. But maybe you attend a Saturday service or a Wednesday service instead. A lot of churches these days even offer an online option. Whatever! There are lots of ways to give. The point is, make giving a habit.

GUIDELINE THREE | Give to God first.

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce.—Proverbs 3:9

First fruits. This means “Budget Item No. 1.” It’s at the top of the list, ahead of your house payment, your utility bills, and your grocery tab. Make it a priority – a matter of discipline and intentionality.

GUIDELINE FOUR | Give from joyful motivation.

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.—2 Corinthians 9:7

Admittedly, most good habits are formed with an initial decision that may not seem particularly appealing at first. But be encouraged. The joy comes more easily as the habit takes hold. Keep in mind Who it is that you’re giving back to, and ask Him to work on your heart. God will free you from any lingering reluctance, and your giving eventually will become an act of pure pleasure. Try it – you’ll like it!

GUIDELINE FIVE | Give without expecting something back.

But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.—Matthew 6:3

A gift isn’t really a gift if some kind of return is expected, is it? The real return, of course, is in a lost soul found, a hungry child fed, a homeless family sheltered, or a disciple made. Ultimately, however, the return is God’s glory and the building of His kingdom.

So take heart, brothers! Think of what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross. He paid a debt He did not owe for a debt we could not pay. Kind of puts things in perspective, right? So let us give to the Lord generously – it’s the least we can do.

Vince-Miller-Bio-Pic-2019

Vince Miller is an author and speaker to men around the world on topics that include manhood, masculinity, fatherhood, mentorship, and leadership. He has authored 18 different books for men and is hosted on major video platforms like RightNow Media and Faithlife TV. He hosts a weekly podcast, writes weekly articles, and provides daily thoughts from God's Word all just for men. He is a 27-year ministry veteran and the founder of Resolute a Men's Ministry Platform that provides bible studies aimed at building better men found at www.beresolute.org. See his latest book and small group study Called to Act: 5 Uncomplicated Disciplines for Men.

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