For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:10
As I walked over to the Operation Underground Rescue tables at the back of the conference room my heart was pierced. Seeing the work they were doing rescuing children out of sex trafficking I wanted to give as much as possible. These kids, their lives being ruined, out of no fault of their own. Could there be a more desperate cause?
Money is not evil. What people do with it matters most. Had I been able to write a check for $100,000 or I would have. And I aim to make more, so I can live more and give more.
In my early 20s I was a waitress at a Chicago-style pizza place. It was a fun bar-like atmosphere with graffiti on the walls and red and white checkered tablecloths. And I routinely got complimented by my customers on my stellar service (that’s totally true!). Because I’m a people-person, and I don’t smoke so I wasn’t out wasting time in the back with a lot of the other servers, I was efficient and attentive and I made a lot of money.
At the end of the night, I would finish my side jobs and head up to the ‘cash out’ room. With your sales report printed you’d have to count all the money you’d received and pay the restaurant their sales and whatever was left over was yours. There was a simple form to fill out and then you’d head to the ‘drop room’ with the manager and drop the money into the safe.
From what the others waitresses told me, I legally only had to claim 10% of my sales as tips. I’m still not sure whether that is true or not, but I never did that. I would count down to the penny what I made and claim it and I’d say, “How can God trust me with more if He can’t trust me with the little I have now?”
If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? Luke 16: 10-11
I wanted God to trust me with greater wealth and greater responsibility in His Kingdom. So it was an easy thing to do. Yet I didn’t understand that money is spiritual. I only saw it as a way to get my bills paid and show God I was trustworthy.
Years later I started my Life Coaching practice. My bleeding heart wanted to help anyone who was struggling with relationships or who felt lost in life, to find happiness again. And somewhere along the way I learned that helping people was disingenuous if you were paid for it. Was I not willing to help someone who was struggling if I would only do it if they paid me?
And so I struggled to make money. And I struggled to feel worthy of the money I did make. I didn’t see money as a spiritual result of doing God’s work and a way that He had given me to then pay it forward and allow that flow of money to go into other work. Like the work O.U.R. is doing. It takes money. To charter airplanes, and train and feed the rescue team, and plan the operation and support the lives of those who support this work, is not free. And so making more money is simply a way to have more impact and allow God’s work to be done more quickly.
Being broke does not serve God. But being wealthy and uncharitable does not serve Him either.
They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem. They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do. 2 Corinthians 8:2-5
Money’s value, whether good or bad, starts with the state of your heart. Even when you are poor will you give? If you have just $10.00 will you give $1.00? If not, why do you assume that when you have $1,000 you will give $100? To him who has, more will be given. Money is spiritual. Money is your power to do good in the world. When people want to give to you, receive it with gladness. Don’t resist it, as I was.
“Oh no, it’s ok. I don’t need it. I can do it for free.” Stop it! Be a person who knows that the money they have will be used wisely.
One more true confession? When I started my business I had NO business plan, NO accounting system, NO idea how to run a business. I knew money was coming in and I knew it was going out. I didn’t even have a business checking account. So do you think I was in a position for God to pour out His abundance on me? Was He saying, “Wow I’m going to totally bless April because I know she is a good steward and will use this money wisely!” No way. It would have been like giving a teen driver a Ferrari.
So be a person God can trust with His riches. Have your own house in order. Don’t be ashamed to want to make more money so you can help more people. God’s work is not free. Ask Him what you can do to increase your riches here on earth, knowing that you will partner with Him in His work.
If your heart is right you will see it as a privilege to share, you will have abundant joy which will overflow in rich generosity. Nothing would have made me happier than to write a check for $100,000. Imagine the feeling of knowing your money was going into the work to save children and your dollars made it happen.
Part of our responsibility in this process is also understanding HOW money is made. It is not just through hard work and the sweat of your brow. For there are a lot of people who work very very hard for very very little. It is understanding the Four Levels of Value. According to Myron Golden there are shifts you need to make in your thinking and in your working in order to raise your income from $0-$1M, $1M-$10M and $10M-$100M+. He calls it the Value Ladder.
He said in a recent presentation, “The truth is, that more money can ONLY be earned by offering a completely different ‘higher’ (spiritual) level of value.” I encourage you to learn more about this concept and ask God how you can move up the value ladder and thereby increase your own income.
God is not withholding from you. He is your partner. There are very simple and smarter ways to work than you may be working right now. Seek them out. Ask Him to reveal to you what you can do differently.
It all starts when you have little. When I was a waitress I was honest and I gave faithfully. Give with a heart of faith. Sow seeds into the good work of helping others, and know that it is God’s will for you to live well and enjoy your life here on earth too. Take great vacations. Enjoy driving nice cars. Fund your retirement. Smile at the future.
Money is not evil. The way people use money can be evil. Money is not good. The way people use money can be good. Which will you choose?
Day 38 Lenten Love Prayer:
What joy it would give me to be able to pay it forward in increasingly bigger and bigger ways. Help me to see more efficient and effective ways to make money. Help me to plug into the right ideas, the right systems and the right relationships to make that happen. Help me to know that YOU want everything my hand to touch to prosper and believe that as I serve others at higher and higher levels the money will come. And I will be a trusted steward and distributor of it to further Your work in the world.
Forgive me for the ways I have squandered what You have given me in the past. Forgive me for acting like a spoiled child. Forgive me for not gaining the knowledge I have needed to be successful and for doubting that You wanted me to live a wealthy life. I know that with the gifts you have given me and the Spirit working in and through me all things are possible. I believe. I will seek opportunities. I ask and I receive. Thank you for taking care of Me, Your child, in such abundant ways. I know it brings you joy. And it brings me joy too. I will guard my heart from greed and use what You give me generously and wisely. Amen.
Day 38 Scripture:
The Lord your God will then make you successful in everything you do. Deuteronomy 30:9