To some people, this topic sounds almost sacrilegious. When I say, “Do you have a good plan for your financial future?” they look at me as if to say, ‘’I’m spiritual; I don’t need a plan. I walk by faith, not by plans.”
Look at Proverbs 24:3-4: “Any enterprise is built by wise planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts” (TLS). Earlier in Proverbs, we read: “We should make plans-counting on God to direct us” (16:9, TLS).
Many people I meet seem to feel that God is just going to rain down on them what they need, without any effort or thought on their part. It is as if they expect to go outside and look at trees in their backyards, and find 100-dollar bills growing on them.
You will never get ahead with that kind of thinking. Not now. Not five years from now. Not ever. Because it is not the wisdom of God.
You must make a plan for your future. Let me share a plan I instituted, as we began the Church on the Rock in 1980. We kept that plan in place until we embarked on a massive building project, and last year we reinstituted it. Apart from the time when we were involved in building our 10-million-dollar facility, we operated that plan when we had a little bit–interms of financial resources – and when we had a lot.
This is also the plan that Melva Jo and I have lived by since we were married in 1974. I heartily recommend it to you for your own family and personal finances, and I recommend it from personal experience.
I call the plan the 8-1-1 plan. What are the basics of this plan? The first premise is that you will be faithful in giving to God. The second premise is that you will save regularly. And the third premise is that you will live on only 80 percent of what you earn.
The plan is based on the idea that your total income is represented by the number 10. Here’s how it breaks down.
• Give one-tenth of your income to God’s work. That’s the tithe. It’s the biblical standard for giving. It’s a commandment of God. You need to do that for “heart” reasons before God–to show God that your heart is in the right place with regard to your finances.
• Save one-tenth. Be faithful in doing this. Make the first cheque you write–from every amount of money you receive–a cheque for one-tenth to God’s work. But make the second cheque you write a deposit into your own savings account.
• Live on the rest – 80 per cent. Now, this is contrary to the way most people in the United States of America live today. Most people I encounter are making ten apples and trying to live off 14! They have overextended themselves on credit, to live a lifestyle that they wished they had but that, in reality, they will never have because of their overspending. Living beyond your means or even living to the level of your means–making ten apples and spending all ten–is a sure-fire way never to get ahead.
Make this a starting point. Soon you may be able to live on 70 percent, give 20 percent to God’s work and save 10 percent. You may be able to reduce your living even more and raise your giving even higher, as time passes. In fact, I believe that you WILL be able to do that, because that is what God’s cycle of blessing describes. The Hebrew approach to prosperity was more and more resources, so you can be a greater and greater blessing; only the Christian church has interpreted God’s Word to mean that you should have less and less (which means you are forced to give less and less)!
Now, why should you save? A number of people say to me, “Isn’t saving money contrary to believing that Jesus is coming soon?” We don’t know when Jesus is coming. But we do know that He told us to occupy until He does come. He told us that the rain falls on the just and the unjust; in other words, calamities and hard times come to everyone. At times, all of us need extra money for one reason or another, and that is where a savings account comes in.
“Well,” you say, “show me a verse of scripture that talks about savings”. I’ll show you two of them. “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets” (Proverbs 21:20, TLB).
“Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers” (Proverbs 19:14). Now you can’t leave an inheritance of houses and riches to your children, unless you have a good investment plan for your life. If you are spending the full amount you earn on consumable living items, then you will never be able to accumulate an estate to pass along to your children. “Well,” you say, “I’m leaving my children a godly inheritance. I’m leaving them an inheritance of faith in God.”
There is nothing more important that you can do. But the Bible also encourages you to leave your children something of tangible means in this world.
Culled from WISDOM:DON’T LIVE LIFE WITHOUT IT by LARRY LEA