Archives For Giving

Guest post by Greg Hutana.

Recently, I watched a YouTube video on the Top 30 things to have prepared in case the Government or Financial systems that we have grown up with should come to an abrupt end.

The first on the list was to have some cold hard cash on hand, if indeed this should happen, while cash is still legal tender. The second was a real surprise. I was dumb struck to find, that according to this commentator’s reasoning, the second was to be debt free.

The person went on to explain that in a crisis like this most people assume that they get a free pass on their debts. In fact this is not the case. Instead the wealthy and those in power, turn to the function of a debtor’s gaol in order to continue having control and influence over people’s lives.

Now is this a fact or not? I couldn’t tell you for sure, but it might be worth investigating some of the small print in your mortgage contracts or credit card contracts to find out.

I realised after my first wife took the houses and left me with nothing, that in fact God had been generous with me in a roundabout way. Overnight I became free of my mortgage. I still had to work for five more years in a cleaning business to payoff my other debt’s, but today I’m debt free.

The Bible talks about not being in debt. Some may just see it as a story or a parable and not all that valid for today, but I believe it’s there to help us not be slaves to this world and its system. It’s very much valid for us today.

The Scriptures and this conversation are not meant to make you feel like crap or condemn you because you might be in debt to your eye balls, but rather to potentially help you to make new decisions around debt and the accumulation of more debt in the future.

People often say to me, “but Greg I have a house I can sell, or my kids must have the best schooling and health, so in fact I am not in debt, but instead, I’m sowing into equity for my kids future.”

The problem with this is that when you lose your job, fall ill or the housing market collapses, the people who loaned you the money, won’t want your brick house, your kids wonderful teeth or good education as payment. They will want the cold hard cash that you owe them, or something else far worse. The equity you thought you had will vanish.

If this teaching stirs up something in you then please don’t let it be condemnation. Let it be rather be a call to action.

One of the main reasons the modern church is so powerless is because the people of faith are as broke as everyone else around them, so how can you sow into your neighbour’s situation when your own is so dire?

Every month I’m able to be generous for no other reason then I have surplus. I have overflow. Will I ever own a house again? Maybe not, especially when I keep giving the savings for a deposit away, but God is big enough and he is more than able.

I’m fortunate, my ex-wife has a knack for milking the worlds systems for all their worth. My kids will never go without. Even though I don’t agree with everything she does, I thank God for her and her wisdom in this area. She has no idea that God has been able to give me confidence to be generous because of her skills.

God is big enough to care for my girls future, pretty awesome ha. God bless you and keep you in the faith. May you find the strength to be generous and work from abundance in regard to your neighbour, on your journey towards being debt free.

‘Keep yourselves free of the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you,” So we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not fear; what can man do to me?”‘ (Hebrews 13:5-6, ESV)

Greg is 47, and currently lives in New Zealand.

He is an elder at Beth Melek Jewish Community and a member of Maori Initiatives, helping indigenous people do better. Maori Initiatives runs a podcast, which can be listened and subscribed to via itunes.

He is the proud father of two daughters, and by his own admission is “a terrible example of Christ, who Christ still loves anyway!”

 

 


Image credit: Urfan Hasanov on Unsplash

Most people in the business world are trained to know the difference between a good deal and a bad one. Wisdom that governs commercial transactions is rooted in the phrase “let the buyer beware.” In Latin, caveat emptor.

Along with “customers make pay-days possible”, caveat emptor reigns supreme in the memory of anyone conducting business with the intention to stay in business.  While these ancient rules guide those in the business world, they’re also applicable to the savvy home-maker. Particularly at a time of traditional giving and thanksgiving, such as Christmas time.

Caveat emptor implies freedom in limitation. In an economic sense, it encourages a self-disciplined approach to getting the best possible outcome for the money spent. Caveat emptor is tough self-love. It helps us to remember that individuals are responsible for what they choose to buy and how they choose to buy it.

Let the buyer beware informs all and any cost to benefit analysis. Knowing when to say yes to something and when to say no. Knowing when something is worth buying and when something isn’t. Knowing when to look past a polished exterior and the smoke and mirrors of marketeers. Knowing when to stock up and make the most of the deal and when to hold back.

In short, working hard to be well-informed and practising discernment are hard to beat. Researching what you want to buy, where you should buy it, and taking time to consider how you should buy it, usually pays well at the end of the day.

Using the pseudonym, John Ploughman, 19th Century author, and preacher, Charles Spurgeon, well-known for his sharp wit and no-nonsense commentary on Victorian era British life, compiled a list of useful advice that comfortably fits in well with the caveat emptor rule.

In an essay called Hints as to Thriving, Spurgeon gives his thoughts on managing finances. So I’ve made a list and I’ve checked it twice. Here are ten ways you can bring out your inner savvy Christmas shopper, during the Christmas shopping season:

1. Believe in travelling on step by step; don’t expect to be rich in a jump. Slow and sure is better than fast and flimsy.
2. [Remember], better a little furniture than an empty house. From bad to worse is no improvement. Don’t jump out of the frying pan into the fire. A small fire that warms you is better than a large fire that burns you.
3. Don’t burst a bag by trying to fill it too full, and ruin yourself at too much. In a great river fish are found, but take good heed lest you be drown’d.
4. Keep your weather eye open. Sleeping poultry are carried off by the fox. Who watches not catches not.
5. Never ruin your soul for the sake of money: it is like drowning yourself in a well to get a drink of water. Better walk barefoot than ride in a carriage to hell.
6. [Check product or store reviews & look for the honest salesperson]. A good article, full weight, and a fair price bring customers to the shop, but people do not recommend the shop where they are cheated.
7. Look most to your spending. No matter what comes in, if more goes out you will always be poor. The art is not making money, but keeping it.
8. [Remember], that a fool may make money, but it takes a wise man to spend it.
9. Never indulge in extravagances unless you want to make a short cut to the poorhouse. Money has wings of its own.
10. Earn all you can, save all you can, and then give all you can. Giving is true having.
John Ploughman wishes all young beginners long life and prosperity. Sufficient of wealth, and abundant health, long years of content, and when life is spent, a mansion with God in glory.
(Spurgeon, CFP 2007:119)

As you look to buy gifts for loved ones, keep in mind that one of the best birthday presents you can give Jesus Christ, is the gift you give to those who most need it. For by doing so, you have done so unto Him.

For anyone who might be stumped on how to give to those in need, along with the normal gifting of presents and food for the great December day ahead called Christmas. Here are five trusted organisations that you can donate through:

Compassion Australia

Open Doors Australia, Gifts of Hope

Mercy Ships Australia

Samaritan’s Purse Australia

Global Care


References:

Spurgeon, C.H. 2007 Hints as to Thriving in The Complete John Ploughman, Christian Focus Publications

Image: 19th Century photo of Charles Spurgeon. The modern artist who photoshopped in the Santa hat is unknown. Sourced from The Confessing Baptist

 

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December 19, 2013 — Leave a comment

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