Since there is a great deal of fear and uncertainty floating in the air, I wanted to take a break from financial writing to write from a stewardship perspective for a moment.
I am writing a book right now about love, fear, and money. The thesis of the book is that you cannot process through both love and fear at the same time. You pick one or the other. If both emotions are present, one always dominates over the other. This is applicable in every situation of our life. When it comes to money, we often choose fear. That is human nature. A by-product of fear is negativity, lack of hope, wrong expectations, ego, selfishness, judgment, etc. The by-product of love is God, Faith, Positivity, Stewardship, Selflessness, Kindness, etc.
It is our choice in any given moment to interpret and process what is happening through one or the other.
There are two different scriptures in the Bible that I draw from when it comes to stewardship. Both of these verses are repeated in the Bible. There are 31,102 verses in the Bible, and 235 are repeated. I always say that it is for emphasis.
First, the verse of stewardship.
Matthew 6:24 and Luke 6:13
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Christ could have picked a catch-all category. Yet, he singled out money as the challenge we are going to have as Christians. The verse above shows the polar opposite of love and fear with phrases such as love or hate or devotion or despising the other. If we choose money and rely solely on cash for happiness, security, confidence, esteem, etc. we are choosing money over God and choosing fear over love.
The problem with money is that we spend much of our time looking through the lens of fear versus filtering through the lens of love.
Including God and looking through the lens of love
If we believe in what Christ taught, we need God in 100% of our lives and especially money. If we only had a crystal ball, we could rely on ourselves. With a crystal ball, you don’t need Faith. However, we don’t, and the notion of one is merely a fairy tale. We need a relationship with Christ. How do you do that?
We include Him in decision making. We pray for guidance, wisdom, resources, understanding, etc. We don’t make a decision about money without the peace of God.
We have Faith that He will answer prayers as we do our part as well. This is a different mindset versus filtering decisions through fear and emotion. You will make a decision-making mistake filtering your choices through doubt.
God calls us to be a Good Risk Manager.
The second set of identical verses are what I call the verses of risk:
Proverbs 22:3 and 27:12
The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.
When it comes to risk, we have to be aware of it and gain understanding as to how it works. That is all the risks in every area of our financial lives. Once again, the decision is always up to you on whether you want to take a chance. There are no crystal balls. When it comes to risk, we will only gain understanding by filtering God’s financial journey for us and those decisions through love versus fear.
You can only foresee risk and decide accordingly and make your decisions only when the peace of God exists. You can anticipate uncertainty. You cannot predict the timing or the magnitude of the by-product of risk. You especially can’t effectively foresee risk by processing through fear.
These could be the toughest choices we make. Do we filter through love or fear? There is an odd sense of safety processing through fear. There is no unknown. There is no need for Faith in what we can’t see. There is an acceptance that it is happening to me…again. There are no big decisions to make. If you are wrong, you are in good company.
God wants more from us. I would encourage you to start being aware of how you process the events, relationships, stock market crashes, life in general, etc. Are you transforming through love or fear?
The single most significant magnitude of processing through love or fear is expansion. What we focus on expands in our life, creating a dominant theme. Another verse in Proverbs speaks to that.
As someone thinks within himself, so he is. -Proverbs 23:7
Do you want God or fear to expand in your life?