In this Issue
Feature Article: How to Prosper Even in Financially Perilous Times
Inspirational Women's Garden Club, Wednesday, October 29, 7 pm EST
- How to Prosper Even in Financially Perilous Times,
Wed, Oct 29 at 7 pm EST
How to Prosper Even in Financially Perilous Times
I'm sure you, like all of us, are reeling with the tremendous volatility of the U.S. and global economy, especially over the last couple of weeks. The wreckage on Wall Street, along with subsequent bank, investment and insurance firms recently closing or merging, has brought tremendous fear and anxiety to millions of Americans.
Many families were already struggling to pay their mortgages, and you and I saw the subprime mortgage market collapse last year. Others struggled to pay their normal monthly expenses and meet escalating food and gasoline prices.
It's really too early to tell what the impact of the recent $770 billion Congressional rescue package will be, or even the influence of the G7 meetings taking place with the President. On October 29, the American people lost $1.2 trillion dollars of their hard-earned and saved monies. Cable news shows, such as Fox News, have allowed us to watch blow-by-blow as this economic crisis has unfolded.
You may wonder after losing possibly several years' worth of your savings within a matter of a few days - is it even possible to prosper in such financially perilous times? Well, I have good news for you. It is possible, and you'll learn how in this month's Leadership and Relationship Tips.
God gives us guidelines, even for such anxiety-producing times as these.
There's one verse of Hebrew poetry, Proverbs 11:25, which reveals the secret to us of how to prosper, even in financially perilous times. It reads, "A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."
What does it mean to be a generous person?
"The first description, 'a generous man' is literally [in the Hebrew] 'the soul of blessing.' 'Blessing' in the Bible is used to describe a 'present' or 'special favor.' The Hebrew verb 'made rich or prosper' is literally 'to be made fat,' drawing on the standard comparison between fatness and abundance or prosperity." (The Expositor's Bible Commentary, 965).
The second stanza repeats the thought, saying "he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." Some texts say those who water others.
It's the idea of providing water to one who is thirsty. In the Bible, providing water to others was a sign of hospitality and generosity. Rebekah watered the camels of Abraham's servant, and in turn, became the wife of Isaac, his only son.
You can survive for a while without food, but only a very short time without water. I'm not a big fan of adventure shows, but Gil is a former mountain and rock climber, so he loves them. Once we were watching a show where the guy in the desert was so desperate for water that he wrung the perspiration out of his socks in order to get something to drink. It seems to be a gross metaphor, but often the needs of people around us are like those of the guy in the desert who needed water. They're dying of thirst, dying from their specific needs, and what Scripture is telling us in this passage is that if we will "water" or refresh them, we will be refreshed in return.
But how do you and I do that - be generous - in such financially perilous times as these?
God's unusual solution for us is that when we are willing to be generous in meeting the needs of others, He prospers us in return. You may ask, well, how does God do that? Part of the answer is that God, who owns everything, is the One who gives us the ability to generate wealth. You may think it's your education, your skills, your upbringing, or your special training, but it's actually God who gives you the ability to generate wealth.
You may wonder still - how does this really work? The spiritual principle at work here is a cause and effect relationship which was revealed to us in Deut. 8:18 and was part of God's covenant promise to his people. The cause is your giving - the effect is that God rewards your generosity with prosperity.
As in an agricultural situation, seeds must be sown in order to reap a harvest. Those who farm would never expect to receive a harvest without having sown seed at an earlier time. There's even an investment term called "seed money," with the idea that money is being put into something up front with the expectation of a "harvest" or "profit" at a later point.
It's as if God has a special accounting system that works differently than our spreadsheets. When we take away from what we have by giving to others, God adds back to us by giving to us in return. Pretty interesting math, huh?
But you may say, "Suzanne, I give of my time or my gifts instead. I don't have much money right now, so I feel sure God doesn't expect me to give." God does want and appreciate your time and gifts, yet this passage is speaking of giving in a different way than just time or gifts. Our willingness to release our assets to help meet the needs of others shows God we trust His provision in our lives.
We lose our assets only temporarily, as God plans to prosper and bless us in return as we give generously to others.
You may say, "But Suzanne, I'm a single parent, or live on my Social Security, or have very little. Does God still expect me to give?" If you give generously of what you have, even if you don't have much to give, God will bless and prosper you in return. The parable of the poor widow in the New Testament shows us that Jesus is pleased when we give sacrificially of whatever we have.
Keys to Victory along the Journey
So what difference does this really make in your life?
The bottom line for us all is that we can't expect God to prosper our lives if we're not willing to
follow His principles. This passage is teaching you and me that one of God's spiritual principles is that if we give first, we will receive prosperity and blessing in return.
You may now be thinking, "Okay, Suzanne, I get it. I understand that God will prosper me as I am willing to be generous with others, and He has a special accounting system that doesn't make sense with my natural wisdom. You may feel like the people in Acts 2, who after hearing Peter's message, said, "What shall we do?
The answer is to give generously! There are many places you can give but I want to focus you on two - first your local church, and secondly, those in dire need around you. The reason for the first focus is that Scripture calls us to support our local church. It is the local body of Christ that feeds us spiritually and supports us. We may not always agree with every decision our local church makes, yet the Lord calls us to support His church and its ministries.
A portion of your giving could also go to special ministries for which you have a heart. I've always had a heart for poor and underprivileged children. It has always broken my heart to think they don't have a chance in the world because of their extreme neediness. For decades, I've supported ministries that minister to children like these, such as Compassion and World Vision. I also have a heart for other things like healthy leadership and relationships and evangelism. I teach and speak about these things and give when I see needs that are related to these.
You may have a heart for something different. It's all how God designs us, as to whom you're most drawn to help. Give generously to the things you care and feel passionate about and that God has placed on your heart.
The second group of people that I would encourage you to give toward is the poor and needy, especially widows and orphans. I'm saying this because Scripture places a high priority on the poor and needy and highlight such groups as widows and orphans. In the Old Testament, there was a procedure the Israelites were to follow when gathering grain at harvest time. they were to leave portions of the grain at the edges of the fields, so that the poor could gather it up as food for themselves. In the biblical story of Ruth, this was what Ruth did to gather food for herself and for her mother-in-law, Naomi.
The Lord has a special place in his heart for the poor, needy, widows and orphans, and throughout Scripture, calls for justice for them, and for people to meet their needs. Like the Lord, we can give them a special place, too, and use some of what He has given us to provide for their needs.
You've seen that in financially perilous times, it seems impossible to prosper. Yet when you are willing to give generously, God will prosper you in return. Give generously! Give generously of your asets to the kingdom, to your local church, and also to those in dire need around you. But just give generously!
The shocking fragile U.S. and global economy can seem to prevent us from prospering, but in God's economy, the generous will always prosper. Give generously, knowing that God will prosper you in return.
- The generous person prospers.
- God is the One who gives you the ability to produce wealth.
- You release our assets temporarily when we give.
- You can trust God's promise to provide and resource you when you give generously.
- Give generously!
If you would like to hear more topics like these, please join us for the October "Inspirational Women's Garden Club" event on Wednesday, October 29, at 7 p.m. EST. For more information, contact Suzanne at email@example.com. We'd love to have you join us and bring a friend, too!
October Coaching Special
With enrollment this month in the Inspirational Women's Garden Club, you’ll receive a complimentary 30-minute personal or church coaching consult. Just contact my office at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to help you.
Please let me know what issues you would like to hear about in the next newsletter. I'll do my best to address your concerns! I look forward to speaking with you all next month.
Many prayers and blessings to you all,
Leadership Tips and Relationship Tips are monthly e-zines written and published by Suzanne Martinez, founder of SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC. Our purpose is to help leaders develop healthy leadership cultures and healthy relationships - cultures that promote growth and maximize personal and organizational performance.
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