Start anytime—even now, and even if it’s with a small amount. God looks at giving on a relative scale. A five-dollar gift by one person may be more significant than a five-hundred-dollar gift by another. It may be more significant in the eyes of God, although not for treasurers and accountants on earth. For further clarification, consider the story of Jesus watching how people gave money to God.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal,” Matthew 6:20. This investment strategy is repeated as Jesus said, “Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near, and no moth destroys,” Luke 12:33. His advice is not given for God’s benefit, but for the benefit of the investor. Jesus tells his followers to keep their treasures super safe.
How accessible is “treasure in heaven?” Must we die to enjoy our pie in the sky? The answer is a resounding NO! It is downright discouraging to have wealth super safe, yet totally illiquid and inaccessible. The description “in heaven” can be misleading. It’s not about the location (heaven), it’s about the custodian—God. Jesus is directing us to a safe investment, not a faraway investment.
God’s investment house has more branches and outlets than all banks and investment firms combined. It’s available to us both now and in the unending future. Wise generosity will result in benefits before physical death. Notice that Jesus speaks of a bountiful reward for generosity: He said, “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over,” Luke 6:38. Consider the emphasized words, phrase by phrase.
- (1) They: We don’t know who “they” are. They might be angels, but note that the word is “they” rather than “he.” The use of a plural subject describes more than one source of repayment. The point is this: Generosity has a multiplier effect. Generosity invokes more generosity.
- (2) will pour: The word “will” implies certainty. Jesus did not say “might” or “could,” but “will.” It’s a promise. The word “pour” implies a rapid flow as opposed to a dribble.
- (3) into your lap: This shows that you don’t need to go get the repayment. It will come to where you are comfortably seated. In other words, the repayment will find you; you don’t need to search for it!
- (4) a good measure: This means the quantity is not meagre or eroded by fees, but a “good” measure, meaning something like a baker’s dozen, which consists of 13, not just 12 items.
- (5) pressed down: This means that there are no air pockets, no false appearances, no empty spaces.
- (6) shaken together: This refers to a second step to ensure that the recompense is full and complete.
- and (7) running over: Despite it being pressed down and shaken together (compacted), the return gift is over and above previous capacities!
Wow! Look at all seven aspects of abundance. The amount coming back is much greater than the amount going out. Jesus said, “It is more (emphasis added) blessed to give than to receive,” Acts 20:35. How much more blessed is it to give than to receive? We don’t know. But Jesus can be trusted to make it more.
The investor must give by faith. It’s not a faith in “faith,” but a faith in God—that God will see and respond. “Without faith it is impossible to please God,” Hebrews 11:6. When we give generously by faith, we don’t know how and when God will “repay,” but He certainly will. God’s blessing is a promised reward for faith-based obedience. A “payback” is real and assured, but the specific form/quantity/media are not predictable. The blessings for faith-based obedience can take an endless number of expressions—even beyond our comprehension.
A physical resurrection will certainly shock those who have been cremated. Cremation is financially cheaper than a burial, and takes up less space than a grave or tomb, but make no mistake: God has ordained a bodily resurrection for everyone. Physical reconstruction of a human body is not hard for God; it’s just a matter of reassembling molecules. Even while living, the atoms and molecules in our bodies are replaced about every seven years. The DNA blueprint stays the same, just the molecules change.
It’s important to save. Saving isn’t easy—especially not in our consumption-driven culture. Debt reduction is usually the most important and difficult step in saving, but it’s essential for financial freedom. Saving allows us to set aside some current income for future enjoyment. This future enjoyment can be short or long, and—believe it or not—can even be unending. In our “Registered Resurrection Account” series we’ll introduce a super-long-term, permanent savings account. Capital accumulation at its very best!
Most people save for their retirement, and retirement planning is a big business. Governments promote retirement savings to reduce pressure from seniors on the public purse. In Canada we have the RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) and TFSA (Tax Free Savings Account). In the States, Americans use their 401k or a Roth IRA. But is standard retirement planning the best way to save for the future? I don’t think so.
Don't misunderstand; I’m not saying that regular retirement savings is wrong, just that there’s something better in addition to traditional retirement saving—something longer-lasting and not tied to financial markets or taxation system. I recommend that it precede—not replace—retirement saving. It's better, but it’s not new, just forgotten.
Jesus Christ spoke of it many years ago. He recommended a savings account with an ultra, long-term perspective: A million years and beyond! It’s enduring, super safe, and tax proof. I like to call it the Registered Resurrection Account (RRA). Jesus said,
When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends, or your brothers, or your relatives, or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous. [emphasis added] Luke 14:12-14.
Amazing! But what if you don’t believe in a resurrection? What if there is nothing beyond the grave? What if this life is all there is? Well, then Jesus Christ was terribly mistaken. Was He wrong? I doubt it. I’m biased, but I defer to His wisdom—especially on matters concerning life and death. He said, “An hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His [God’s] voice and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment,” John 5:28-29. When Jesus says all, He means ALL. Everyone will come out of their graves, whether they believe or not. The Law of Gravity doesn’t require faith to operate when it makes things fall. Faith or its absence never established a law.
(All Bible citations are from the New American Standard Bible - NASB translation unless otherwise indicated.)
It’s smart to save money. It’s even smarter to give money away—IF you give it wisely. God promises that “he who gives to the poor will never want” (Proverbs 28:27) and “the generous man will be prosperous” (Proverbs 11:25). Jesus Christ said ‘Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap good measure—pressed down, shaken together and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return,” Luke 6:38. But not all giving is prudent. The Bible warns that “he who gives to the rich will only come to poverty,” Proverbs 22:16. Therefore, do your charitable giving carefully.
This is the last article in the series on improving our personal work habits by studying God’s work habits. Have you ever wondered why God gave us a step-by-step account of His work in Creation? Why did He put in certain details and leave out others? Who cares? Isn’t evolution a fact? I believe Darwinistic evolution is bunk: Polished, pseudo-intellectual, well-packaged, mass-marketed BUNK. I believe the Bible’s account is accurate and factual. The Bible is an archeologically-supported historical narrative, not a textbook. Our textbooks are always being rewritten, but the content of the Bible is unchanging truth. With this underpinning, I believe that not only was the seventh day of rest established for our benefit, but that the entire creation process was recorded so that we could learn to work wiser. The more we learn to work like the Creator of our universe worked, the better we will operate within the world we live in. So, what can we learn today?
This is the second-last article in a series, taken from Genesis chapter one, on improving our personal productivity by studying how God works. Today’s lesson: DELEGATE. God finished His work only after He had appointed someone else to take care of the earth. For this task, God created and commissioned mankind.1 He made mankind in His image.2
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. (Genesis 1:26 ESV.)
Many people in the Western world have financial problems because of bad work habits. They are struggling with basic skills. It’s time we all went back and learned from our Creator. This is our seventh lesson on improving our personal productivity based on the Bible. In Genesis chapter one, God gave us a day by day account of how He made everything. Do you remember what God did on day two of seven? He made two large “arenas.” At the end of Day Two, unlike the ending of all the other days, there was nothing “good” to see. There were just two large empty spaces: The sky above and the waters below. God prepared the spaces on Day Two, and then on Day Five, God filled them with living creatures.
This is our sixth lesson in improving personal productivity based on a study of Genesis chapter one.
Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,” and it was so. God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.
This is our fifth lesson in improving personal productivity based on a study of Genesis chapter one.
Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear,” and it was so. God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a third day.
Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” God made the expanse, and separated the waters, which were below the expanse from the waters, which were above the expanse; and it was so. God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
All of Genesis chapter one was written for our instruction. In previous articles we learned about the importance of Spirit-led planning and getting enough “light” before doing anything else.
“God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.”
Surprisingly a day is described as evening and morning, not morning and evening. Why? Remember that darkness pre-existed light. The making of the first day was a progression from total darkness to twilight, to full day. How do you start your day? Based on this passage I recommend you start the day on the evening before! It’s not complex. It’s how orthodox Jews start all their sacred feasts.
All of Genesis chapter one was written for our instruction, I believe in part, so that we could learn to improve our own work habits by copying those of our Creator. In our previous session we learned about the importance of Spirit-led planning. Think first! When God did act, the first thing He commanded into existence was light: “Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.”
It’s summer! Who wants to work? Not me! But imagine: Planning more, acting less, and yet ending up with better results. This is the first in series on improving personal productivity, based on the first chapter in the Bible. Why start there? Think about it; God gave us a whole chapter describing how He made everything. Most believe Genesis chapter one is a myth or merely poetry. Big mistake. Others get caught up in the young earth/old earth debate. Big distraction. Join me in learning from our Creator how we can improve our work habits by copying some aspects of His working style. Clearly we are not God; we cannot command things into existence. But we are made in His image as creative beings and therefore we enjoy creative activities. Let’s learn from our Creator, starting at the beginning.
What is true conservatism? This past year we have all witnessed some big political surprises in Europe and the USA. Some have called it a populist resurgence and a move away from globalism. I really don't like following the gyrations in the political world. There are more important things to do, personally, at home, and locally. But, I sometimes wonder where are governments headed, especially in Alberta and in Canada?
This essay deals with the topic of true conservatism. It approaches the topic from a financial perspective. How can we tell if we are investing well or just wasting money? What are the two tests to see if government policies/practices resonate with reality? Why are some fiscal initiatives doomed and others successful?
If you are interested in these questions then I invite you to download the attached in PDF form and read it online.
“What’s that? It must be a typo! You can’t have (8) eight of (7) seven. Impossible! Everyone knows that. You can’t make something out of nothing. You can’t feed thousands with just a few burgers. Nobody can work financial miracles; it would be like turning ordinary water into expensive wine! Face it, there are certain laws of the universe that no one can override. Besides that, everyone’s financial situation is different; it’s unique. It’s like a personal fingerprint. For God to help every person with a customized miracle, God would have to know not just their financial needs, but also their financial skills. Unbelievable! Such intimate personal knowledge would be like knowing how many hairs are on each and every head. Ridiculous!”
Money is strange. It disappears faster than it appears. As humorous, American poet, Ogden Nash, once said, “O, money, money, money, I’m not necessarily one of those who think thee holy, but I often stop to wonder how thou canst go out so fast when thou comest in so slowly.” It’s just plain hard to preserve wealth. Stock market “corrections,” inflation, and financial fees all destroy our wealth. What to do? Jesus tells us to “store our treasures in heaven.” I plan to deal with this in a future article, but what do we do with our vulnerable earthly treasures? Let’s take an indirect lesson from Abraham, whom God made “very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold,” Genesis 13:2. Note Abraham’s three categories of wealth: Livestock, silver, and gold. This is the first biblical mention of a diversified asset portfolio to safeguard earthly blessings. I see livestock representing dividend-paying stocks with growing dividends, plus the ability to reproduce via stock splits. Livestock falls within the asset sector of consumer staples, and might even be viewed as utilities/infrastructure. On the other end of this investment spectrum we have gold. It’s dead. It does nothing. It just sits there and looks pretty. Yet gold is internationally recognized as a primary store of value. It’s used as pavement in heaven, but on earth it will never lose all its value. Silver represents cash and highly-liquid, short-term bonds. Some of you may remember when silver was cash. Before 1967, Canadian dimes and quarters were mostly silver. It’s good to keep some of your portfolio as cash so that you can act fast. Why diversify your holdings? Ecclesiastes 11:2, as expressed in the God’s Word Translation, says it best. “Divide what you have into seven parts, or even into eight, because you don't know what disaster may happen on earth.”
Give to the poor. This is another secret ignored by the financial planning community, except perhaps as an afterthought or as a tax reduction strategy. Too bad! The Bible heralds it loudly and consistently: “He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses,” Prov. 28:27; “Happy is he who is gracious to the poor,” Prov. 14:21; “One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD and He will repay him for his good deed,” Prov. 19:17; “The generous man will be prosperous and he who waters will himself be watered,” Prov. 11:25. Jesus himself said, “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap,” Luke 6:38. I am not saying we should “give to get” in a motivational sense. I am saying that if we give properly, God will ensure that we are not net losers.