Write Or Type Up A Plan

Write or Type Up a Plan

You knew it was coming, right? We can’t just dream big dreams, write out our perfect day, the rewards we will receive for living our purpose, and not have a plan. Tommy Newberry in his book, Success is Not an Accident says:


“Investing the time and brainpower to set meaningful goals in each area of your life will produce internal, permanent, motivation. You’ll become inner-directed rather than outer-directed or other-directed.”

We want to be inner-directed, right? Outer directed is reactionary. We can live our lives like a ball in a pinball machine, getting bumped, hit, and sometimes hitting a random goal. Or we can have a plan.

Remember your perfect day?

  • What would it take to make that happen?
  • What habits would you need to form?
  • What kinds of things would you need to do differently?
  • How can you break those goals down into easy to accomplish objectives?
  • How will you handle obstacles?

There will be obstacles.

Yep. Writing down our perfect day doesn’t mean we won’t have things to overcome. You can’t be an overcomer if you have nothing to overcome.
Often we don’t set goals because we are afraid we can’t achieve them. Other times we set super safe and easy goals because we know we could probably do them in our own strength. Neither of those options will get us where we want to go.

A Simple Goal I set


I’m going to share a super simple goal I set years ago that seemed impossible to do with seven kiddos. Our food budget was tight. I couldn’t spend all of our grocery money on cereal. I also didn’t want my kiddos eating cereal for breakfast often. Remember my perfect day included cooking breakfast? I needed to move from scrambling in the morning to get my kids’ food to sitting down to a hot, healthy breakfast. I decided to make a repeating breakfast plan. French Toast, Oatmeal, Eggs and Bacon, Muffins or frozen waffles, Cereal, Pancakes. We had cereal on Fridays because that was our busiest day and I knew I would peter out towards the end of the week. Saturday was pancakes or homemade waffles because we had the time. Once I had the plan written down, it was easier to implement. I didn’t stress in the morning because I knew what we were going to eat. Did we do this perfectly? No. Did I have opposition or obstacles? Yes.
Maybe you’re wondering why I’m talking about breakfast as a goal or vision. Guess what, whatever makes your life easier, more manageable is a great place to start with measurable goals. Maybe after you have developed some baseline habits, you can pursue those other things you wrote down in your brainstorming session. Maybe now you can add half an hour of sewing, quilting, photography, art, writing, home design, baking, playing games, reading a book, or fill in the blank.

Not sure where to start? Check out Ruth Soukup’s article –
10 SIMPLE HABITS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE

Another Example from my life

Here’s an example from my life. When I’m writing a new novel, I set a goal for when I want to finish. Then I break down the steps.

  • Brainstorm mind map
  • Outline
  • Character sketches of all characters
  • Defining traits of the main character
  • Plot and Subplot


After I have those down, I decide how many chapters the book should be, break those down into writing times.
I schedule writing times on my calendar.
After I finish the first draft, I print the book and move to another set of goals!
Do some of my deadline dates change? Yes. Does that mean I failed? No. What I used to do is not write at all because I was living an outer-directed life. I didn’t have a plan. I just hoped one day I would have time to write. That didn’t work. It took me 12 years to write my first book because of that “hoping” sort of philosophy (plus I was homeschooling). Now, I make writing a priority just as I made finding some breakfast options all those years ago!
Take some time today to write down one goal then break it down into simple achievable steps. Then make sure you write down what you will do when you (and you will) run into an obstacle.

List The Rewards

List the Rewards


Yesterday, we planned our perfect day. Wasn’t that fun to write down? Maybe you included some of the same things I did the first time I tried this exercise. Or maybe yours were totally different because you are in a different age and stage of life and that’s okay. My perfect day exercise looks totally different today then it did all those years ago. We all go through different seasons of our lives. Our seasons lead us to new purposes.
You may be ready to break down your perfect day into habits and goals. It’s not time for that yet. We can’t skip the important step of writing down the rewards of living the way we envision. If we skip this, we will lose our motivation quickly.

Don’t skip this step!

For instance, getting up before our kiddos get up to do Bible study yields the reward of more peace in our day. If our perfect day includes time for exercise, then the reward is a more healthy and energetic body. Right now, part of my perfect day exercise includes writing first thing in the morning after my Bible study. I wake up at five and then begin writing at six. The reward is, I get the most important thing about my purpose finished first. I am a writer. Writing is what I do. If I have my writing time accomplished, the reward is I have more articles, books, and content available to help others. What rewards will you receive if you live life the way you envision it? Will you have more peace? More satisfaction? A cleaner house? More free time to play with your kids?

the Problem with Just Hoping it works out.


When I have presented this material to women before, some say they aren’t organized and don’t want to be. Others just tell me why they can’t do what they want to do. Some people like to fly by the seat of their pants and hope it works out. I was listening to a teaching by Isabel Price about time management today. She shared that putting your workout clothes on in the morning and hoping you might workout without putting it on your schedule is just wishing it would happen (my paraphrase). This post isn’t about time management, but you know it’s coming. If you stop after you dream out your vision on paper, you will never get where you want to go. If you don’t list the rewards for living out your vision, you’ll be less likely to even try.

Ruth Soukup sums up the good life we seek well:


“The Good Life to me is this: a life rich in faith, family, friends, and creativity. It is a life full of the richness that God has to offer; a life spent building treasures in heaven rather than here on earth. It is not a life of laziness and greed, but one of discipline, hard work, and self-reflection. It may not always be easy or comfortable, but it is always full in abundance and completely secure in Christ.”

Take a few minutes today and write out your rewards for living out the day you envision.

What Do You Want Your Life To Look Like?

What do you want your life to look like?

Often instead of focusing on what we would like our life to look like, we focus on what is wrong with our lives.
We say things like:
My house is a mess.
I really need to lose this weight.
I should do some laundry.
I need to have a quiet time in the morning before the kids get up.

Even if all of those things are true, thinking of them in the negative only stresses us more. Instead of thinking “I am more than a conqueror” or “I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency” we begin to think “I can’t” or “I’ll never have the life I want.” No one wants to live there.

Change your Mindset


Although I can’t promise the exercise I’m going to prescribe will make all of your obstacles go away, I do know it can help you change your mindset. With a more positive mindset, it’s easier to pursue your purpose. Remember yesterday, we spilled our dreams onto paper? Today’s exercise will help you visualize what that looks like in real everyday life so you can start working towards that vision. I’m not talking about some hokey pokey incantations and incense burning. I’m talking about imagining your perfect day and writing it down. The first time I tried this exercise, I was still homeschooling and trying to make the days as efficient, effortless, and educational as possible. That’s saying a lot, I know. But if we aim for nothing except surviving, that’s all we will do.


Nobody wants to just survive.


It had been my God-sized dream to homeschool. I was doing it! The only problem was – my vision and my reality weren’t synonymous. They were opposites. I decided to give writing down what I wanted my life to look like a try.
My perfect day looked pretty simple.
I wake early, make coffee, have Bible study time before the kids get up. I make breakfast for the kids and we eat at the table. We have fifteen minutes of chore time before we start school. We do Bible study and other group subjects together first. We have a snack together at 10 am. Then we divide into individual subjects.

I won’t share the whole day. You get the picture. The point is writing down what my perfect day looked like gave me something to aim for. Many times we just get up and hope that things will happen on their own and we beat ourselves up when they don’t. Then we feel powerless and as if we have failed. How can we say we failed when we don’t even know what we are aiming for?

“Do what you love, and you’ll stop being your own worst enemy.”

– Tommy Newberry, Success is Not an Accident

Don’t confuse what you love with entertainment. What you love is living your purpose today and doing it in the best way possible. Living your purpose starts with writing down what it looks like on a day to day basis.
Take the intersection of what you wrote yesterday with what you imagine your perfect day looks like (realistically) and write it down.
Don’t stress about goals and objectives just yet!

Brainstorm Your Dreams/Vision

Brainstorm Your Dreams/Passion

If you read and did yesterday’s assignment, you’ll have at least one of your passions pinpointed. Today, I’m going to list some questions to help you do some brainstorming. Brainstorming is a no-judgment activity. When brainstorming your passion, write down your ideas no matter how crazy they sound!


“How you see yourself on the inside sets the ceiling for what God can do with you on the outside. Your life here on earth is your special, unrepeatable opportunity to magnify the greatness God has placed within you.”

Tommy Newberry, Success is Not an Accident


We are designed to have a deep sense of purpose. When we live contrary to design, we end up feeling frustrated and lost. The problem is, most of us don’t take the time to dream. We don’t take the time to write or speak what we are called to do. We can get so caught up in living other people’s God-sized dreams that we don’t even acknowledge our own.


Here’s an example from my own life. I dug out an old journal to find this just for you!

You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed and placed and purposefully planted you, so that you would go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit will remain and be lasting, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name [as My representative] He may give to you.

– John 15:16

“Thank you for your Word. Thank you for the word “steadfast” (my word of the year in 2017). Thank you that even though my body is tired from this new schedule, I can remain steadfast and form new habits that make things more manageable… Thank you that this whole thing -writing-is not about me or how much I can do or how organized I can be, it’s about You, Your plan, Your ways.”

I was in a major transition in 2017. My homeschooling career had come to an end and I was transitioning into becoming an author. I had a new purpose but it took my habits a while to change. My body had to adjust to my new purpose. If you are wondering if I stayed the course, yes, I have. I wake up early to write with no problem now.

If I can do it, you can. Take some time today and brainstorm your dreams! (Don’t worry about goals and objectives right now, just dream!!) Below are the questions I promised to get you started!

What have you secretly always wanted to pursue?
What is the one activity you immerse yourself and lose all track of time?
What does your heart yearn to do more of?

*This one may take some quiet time. Block out what you see on social media or even what your church friends are doing. Looking at what others are doing can cloud our vision. Step away, find somewhere quiet, and be honest with yourself.

Plan Out Your Vision/Goals Through Journaling

*Week 2 of a month of journaling

“Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.”

-Psalm 127: 1

Before we even start with this week’s topic, I wanted to share the scripture above. Planning a vision isn’t about exotic vacation homes or thousand dollar purses. It’s about what your purpose on this earth is. It’s about building a life that will bless others. Having a God-sized dream is all about God, not us. He has given us gifts, talents (see Matthew 25: 14- 30), and life experiences. He wants to use them in a specific way. This also doesn’t mean you’re going to be Insta famous (unless God wants you to). This is all about where ministry, mission, and motivation all intersect. Think about this for a moment. With no time constraints, financial constraints, or health issues, what would you do? I’m not talking about vegging in front of the tv, I mean what would you work at? What excites you? Home design? Baking? Photography? Writing. Homeschooling? Organization? Running a food pantry? What is the thing you do which makes you lose all track of time because you are so into it? This can be different for each season of your life. And here’s the kicker, it should be something that lines up with the Word of God. Right now, where do you park your passion? Take a moment and write down the answer.

Five Helpful Tips for Running a Fringe Ministry

A fringe ministry is extreme in relation to the rest of the church. A fringe ministry is on the outer edge, often considered secondary.

*If you missed the first in the series, you can find it here.

If you are part of or run a fringe ministry, you may feel isolated, alone, frustrated and sidelined. People my run the other way when you ask for help. It’s hard. Let me just tell you friend, Jesus understands. He started a fringe ministry. He preached a message of UN-comfortability:

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross[expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me].

Jesus spoke of denying ourselves, setting aside selfish interests and being willing to endure whatever may come. The religious rulers of the day preached adherence to rules, not acts of selfless love. When Jesus didn’t adhere to their way of thinking and doing, he was chased out of towns, questioned, whipped and finally crucified. YIKES.

So, how do we fringe minsitries handle rejection or being put on the back burner? How do we respond in Christ-like ways?

 

  1. Don’t take people’s reactions personally. When you offer a message that God has placed on your heart and your only return is blank stares, don’t take it personally. I delivered a whole message on adoption being part of God’s plan and one of my friends in the audience looked angry the whole time. I approached her afterwards and asked her if I had offended her (whoops, my insecurity slip was showing). She said, “No, that was my thinking face. I was thinking deeply about what you were saying.” Turns out, the message was new information for her and she was processing. This is just one example, there have been other instances when people have totally rejected the message. That’s okay too. When you are being obedient, that’s what counts. Ministry is not a popularity contest. Not everyone will jump up and down about your God-sized dream. Just remember, obedience is better than sacrifice. Don’t sacrifice the call on your life to be liked. Your ministry is not about you, it’s about helping others and heeding the voice of the Holy Spirit.
  2. What does Jesus say about your ministry? Look up verses that support what you are doing and circle them. Write them done. Post them everywhere for yourself, not others. Before my family adopted, God have me a set of scriptures to pray, circle and write down. They were the foundation of my home mission. Isaiah 61 was my framework, prayer and full-time job for my family, especially those kiddos from hard places. I had to believe I was anointed and commissioned to raise kiddos from hard places. I needed to remind myself of it often.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed and commissioned me
To bring good news to the humble and afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up [the wounds of] the brokenhearted,
To proclaim release [from confinement and condemnation] to the [physical and spiritual] captives
And freedom to prisoners,
 
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance and retribution of our God,
To comfort all who mourn,

3. Let God do the heart work. You can’t shove compassion down someone’s throat (believe me I have tried.) You can only deliver the message and show compassion to the person yourself. Some days I would love to round up the big “C” church and tell them all of the statistics on foster children and have them sign on the dotted line to adopt. It doesn’t work that way. I’ve found from personal experience that a message doesn’t produce the fruit of understanding the first, second or even third time I hear it. So, don’t lose heart. Keep kindly sharing and pray that God draws the heart of those He wants to participate in the minsitry. You certainly don’t want a bunch of foot-dragging disciples on the front lines of your ministry. You want people who have a revelation from God and a holy spark in their britches.

You certainly don't want a bunch of foot-dragging disciples on the front lines of your ministry.

4. If a person, church, organization or fill in the blank doesn’t receive the ministry God has placed you in: Shake the dust off your feet and walk away. This is a tough one. I know. I’ve bloodied my knuckles on the doors that don’t want to hear the message of adoption/foster care. I’ve been alotted my “placate Kathleen” moments when people give me a moment but have predetermined they don’t want the message. It’s hurtful. Painful. The truth is, those people, organizations and churhes are not rejecting me, they are rejecting the message. That’s on their conscience. Not mine. It’s best for me to shake the dust off my feet, that means the negative feedback, the denial of the message, the condescending looks and walk away. Don’t argue about theology and quote the Bible, just walk away. 

5. Find a group of friends who will cheer you on. This is super important. Jesus surrounded himself with twelve disciples, three of them were His inner circle. Find your inner circle. This inner circle must believe the God-sized dream you are serving out is meaningful, important and helpful to the kingdom. This doesn’t mean these friends do everything you do or serve in the ministry every second of every day. These friends are your prayer partners, your support, your encouragers and you do the same for them.

 

Being part of a fringe ministry is exciting, exhasting and exhilarating all at the same time! God doesn’t call the gals that have it all together (are there any of those?) He calls those who feel incompetent, have imposter syndrome complexes and yet have a huge heart for the kingdom of God. If you are part of a fringe minstry, could you share one word that describes it? We’d love to hear from you!

Stay in Your Lane to Fulfill Your God-sized Dream

Have you ever sat back at the end of a day, a month and year and felt unsatisfied or fulfilled with your life? It’s not that you don’t have blessings, or some good things coming your way, there is just something inside that says, I would really love to fill in the blank.

Maybe you have a God-sized dream and you don’t want to say it out loud because someone might hear you and hold you to it or worse, laugh at you. But your dream is there, deep inside just waiting to be birthed.

May I tell you a few things that help us live out the vision God has placed within us?

1. Define your dream.

Often we don’t live out our God-sized dream because we don’t define it.

We might say some vague things such as:

  • I would like to help people.
  • I enjoy being a servant.
  • I love encouraging other people.

Those are great things to do. We should all aspire to do those. What is it that you love to do that makes you lose yourself? You lose track of time. You are so energized and engaged that you have no idea that four hours have passed. For me, it’s writing, research and teaching.

Once you answer that question-

What is it that you love to do that makes you lose yourself? 

Then you can define your dream by writing it down into something measurable.

I’m going to encourage women through teaching a Bible study.

I’m going to serve by opening up a food pantry for the community.

I’m going to practice hospitality by hosting a monthly coffee in my home.

Now, take your statement and break it down into steps that you can walk through and check off your list. Don’t be intimidated by this part. We often skip this step because for some reason we just think they will magically happen for us because we want it to.

God can open doors for us, it’s true.  In order for God to open a door, you have to drive to the building, so to speak.

God may redirect you a few times during the defining phase. It’s okay. It’s all part of the process. Taking the step to define your dream/vision is one step closer to doing something. Do something, lest you do nothing. Stay in your lane.png

2. Stay in your lane.

I think many of us (myself included) would sometimes rather coast in someone else’s lane and watch their God-sized dream come to fruition. It’s fun to be the helper and cheer someone else on until you reach the top of the mountain peak and realize your mountain is on the other side of the valley. All of the accolades for your friend will not fulfill your purpose. I get it. It’s scary putting ourselves out there and saying, “I want to write the book, not be on the launch team for the 100th time.” It sounds selfish to say we have dreams (I’ll get to that in a minute).

I would never say don’t help your friends. That’s a great investment of your time. Just make sure you drive in your own lane more than your friends’, neighbors’ and everyone shouting at you to join their cause. There’s a reason.

God gives you sufficient energy to do what He has called YOU to do, not what every lady in your church is doing.

God is not responsible for the physical and emotional consequences when you drive out of your lane. You will never arrive at the destination of your God-sized dream if you are driving aimlessly.

I’m preaching to the Guire here. For years my life was ordered by what all the other church ladies and my friends were doing. We were doing great stuff, guys! Serving and encouraging. Blessing others. My problem? I used my energy envelope on that good stuff and then was too exhausted to do my real job well. For awhile that job was exclusively mothering, homeschooling and running a co-op. When my kids got a little older, God directed me to start writing. After doing all the other good stuff, I had nothing left. No energy to write. Nothing. And that was not God’s fault. Or the other ladies. Or the church’s. It was mine. All mine.

3. Your dream isn’t selfish. It’s not about you at all.

Read that one more time. Often we don’t pursue our God-sized dream because we think it is selfish. If your God-sized dream is to run away to a tropical island and sip fruity drinks all day, then maybe it is. The truth is, I have never met a woman who hasn’t had a big dream. It takes time for us to own up to this because we don’t want to seem as if we want to make a name for ourselves. That’s not what God-sized dreams are about. They are about taking something that you can’t possibly do on your own, and giving God the glory every step of the way.

Your God-sized dream is about other people. It’s about God’s plan being lived out on this earth because you are obedient.

Years ago I was taking an online memoir writing class. Things were going great. I felt as if my writing was getting better. The teacher seemed to think so. She wrote me some encouraging words. I was feeling pretty comfortable with her…so, I told her my God-sized dream of helping a million orphans and of a vision I had. She told me I seemed unhinged and not to put that in my memoir. (*Just a note- don’t tell everyone your God-sized dream, not everyone gets it). If my God-sized dream includes helping orphans, is it really about me? Nope. Just like your dream. It’s about the people on the receiving end.

I’m sure you have a God-sized dream. It may be staying home and raising kiddos (that was mine for a season and then they grew up). It may be hosting a Bible study, writing a book, serving at an outreach, or fill in the blank. Take some time today and write down your dream. Make some measurable objectives so you can start driving in the right direction. If you, like me, know what your dream is and you need to get back in your lane, start putting up some boundaries. Many times, saying “NO” is the best thing you can do. A “Yes” that is accompanied by frustration, whining, complaining and dragging your feet the whole way is not producing any good fruit. And remember, your God-sized dream is not about you.

  • Thanks to Amy Breitmann for the “stay in your lane” idea!

 

When Resolutions Fail

It’s only ten days into the new year and we planners, those of us who resolve to do all sorts of good things may already be feeling a bit off. I’m a planner. I make goals and lists and I am pretty good at following through. But, that’s not what I want to talk about. Resolution makers (like me) often get a false sense of reality, as if we can control the circumstances just because we wrote something in our planner or tacked a sticky note on the wall. We can’t.

I’m a firm believer in making plans. We can’t be a vague, thoughtless or foolish with our time. But, sometimes our plans don’t work out because of things out of our control. How we respond to things we can’t control matter. Honestly, my track record with reactions isn’t that great. I tend to respond with anxiety and questions. I doubt my call to do whatever it is. Guess what, that’s not a God honoring reaction. God said we would have trials and troubles. Resistance and calamity don’t negate your call. They solidify it. It’s your proof of purchase. It’s your reminder that someone doesn’t want you to complete the mission. That someone is not Jesus or your friend or husband. Jesus said to take heart ❤️, He has overcome the world!Every worthy endeavor has obstacles

Whether your resolution was to be a more organized Mom, workout four times a week or finish a manuscript for a book, there are going to be circumstances that come against you. Some of the circumstances may be God-driven and ordained, such as caring for a sick child or helping a friend or relative. In those instances, we play the people are more important than things card. When we see interruptions as a sign that we shouldn’t pursue fulfilling our resolutions, we’re reading the signs wrong.

Resistance is a sign that we are doing things right. When lifting weights or working out, we count on resistance to make us stronger. Without resistance, we’re just beating the air and not getting any results. The same is true with our resolutions, our God-sized dreams, our desire to make positive changes in our lives. We encounter resistance and it makes us stronger, if we let it, if we don’t just drop the ball and give up.

Instead of letting circumstances deter us, let them ensure us.  Let us see them as a sign that we are on the right path. Every worthy endeavor has obstacles. If your resolve is to be organized in your homeschooling and home and you end up taking your sister’s kids while one of her’s is in the hospital (true story), then don’t beat yourself up because your house is a wreck. Don’t say,  “I quit”. Say, “That was a God-opportunity to do the right thing.” Rest. Recover and start again.

The problem is when we make the resolutions the god and not a desired goal. We can’t control the universe. What we can do is persevere and continue to sow good seeds even when circumstances send a storm our way.

What circumstances have blown your way?

While you’re here, make sure you check out The Whole House Podcast,  Episode 2 is live- Human Trafficking Awareness Day. If you haven’t listened yet, start with our Introductions. Are you ready?

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Good Stewardship, It’s Not What You Think

“Our house is paid off!” I overheard a Mom say, gleefully. I was happy for her, really, I was. At the same time, I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt. Our house wasn’t/isn’t paid off. I wasn’t measuring up, once again. Hubby and I had taken financial classes at church and gotten all our our ducks in a row. We had no credit card debt. Then our ducks got shot down, one by one. Massacred is more like it.

I am a mother of seven and a Christian, both of which make me a cultural anomaly. Our family living is costly, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Let’s focus on the physical for a moment.

Seventeen years ago, husband Jerry and I internationally adopted a sibling group of four to add to our three bios. A family of nine is not cheap, no matter how you slice it. I had seven children watching me and my reactions to financial stress.

I often teetered on the tightrope of guilt and shame. At night, all of my decisions lined up in a row to harass me. What had we done wrong? Why weren’t we on track? For years, these thoughts haunted me. Finally, Jesus reminded me through His word, financial security is not the measuring stick used to get you into heaven. It’s great if you have it. If you are financially secure and use your money to bless others and invest in the kingdom, go YOU! If you aren’t, you’re storing up treasures you can’t take with you. Stewardship may not be what you think it is.

We invested in our children by attaching (time), feeding, clothing and housing (money) and spiritually (time and prayer). We could have skipped adopting in order to be more financially stable or waited until we had all of our financial ducks in a row, which probably would have been the day after never.

Some would say the Guires haven’t been good stewards of our money. As I said, our home is not paid off. We have paid off cars, only to start all over again. We’ve lost businesses. Started over multiple times. Barely scraped by. Applied principles of major financial gurus and still hit rock bottom financially.

This isn’t an article about being destitute. It’s about stewardship. As, I said, some may say that we are terrible stewards, but it is just not true. We are good stewards, just not in the loads of money in the bank sort of way. When we see a need, we feel compelled to meet that need and be the hands of Christ. Being a good steward means adopting orphans, feeding the hungry, healing the broken hearted. When we walk in the mindset of Christ, the bank account reflects it.

Jesus had no place to call home during the time of His three years of earthly ministry. He walked dusty roads and was more concerned about the needs of humans than He was His own physical comfort. He wasn’t rich and didn’t preach the American cultural idea of being financially secure, buying stocks and bonds or preparing for retirement. Jesus said to store up your treasure in heaven. Where your heart is, there is your treasure. What is your treasure?

With that said, God doesn’t believe in scarcity, He believes in abundance.

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]. John 10:10

Abundance doesn’t always mean money. Let’s not take the gospel and twist it into what it’s not. The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. That’s abundance. An overflowing well of joy and peace in knowing you are in right standing with God. In His will. Serving His purpose. Sometimes doing His will drains your bank account.

If anyone fails to provide for his own, and especially for those of his own family, he has denied the faith [by disregarding its precepts] and is worse than an unbeliever [who fulfills his obligation in these matters]. I Timothy 5:8

If we do not meet the needs of our own family, we are worse than a heathen. If your brother asks for a shirt, give it to him and your coat. If he asks you to walk a mile, go two. Jesus doesn’t ask us to give until it hurts, He asks us to give until it heals. Meeting someone’s physical needs often opens the door to meet spiritual ones. I’m not saying the Gospel can be bought and paid for with money.  I’m pointing out that service requires sacrifice. Sometimes (not always) that service involves draining your bank account.

Adopting children costs money. Feeding, clothing and housing them is a worthy investment of capital. They are worth the investment. Money is a means to ministry. If making money and financial security is your primary focus, then you are serving mammon.

For example, hospitality costs money, but it’s an investment into the lives of people who come into your home. Our homes are ministry tools. A giant welcome mat that says, “You Matter! You ARE LOVED!” We are being good stewards of our home if we use to bless others. If we use our homes as tools to reach out and wrap the arms of Jesus around someone, we are being good stewards.

If we our homes as tools to reach out and wrap the arms of Jesus around someone, we are being good stewards. (2)

 

Most of the sold out for Jesus, living on the fringe culturally, are not the ones with full bank accounts. They have full faith accounts, instead. They have to. While I do believe we should live disciplined lives and have great work ethic, there is not always a financial reward for these in kingdom living. Sometimes, God calls us to do something valuable and worthwhile for free. God calls us to serve, open our homes, make a donation of our time and talents (which He gave us) to build His kingdom. When He asks this of us, we must trust that He will supply the means to do so.

If you are reading this and you don’t have your house paid off, money is in short supply and you’re living your heart out for Jesus, don’t despair. Don’t compare yourself to someone who has all their finances in order. God will supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory. I’m not advocating running up debts. God doesn’t always supply our wants, He does supply needs. Being a good steward means using your money, time and talents to fulfill His purpose. Whatever purpose He gives you: homeschooling, adoption, running a food pantry, starting a Bible study, writing, teaching, making baby quilts, feeding college students, ______________(fill in the blank).

I have watched many Jesus followers go through a Job syndrome after they stepped out into ministry. Often these people are judged. Ministry is gritty, tough and expensive work. It requires all the stewardship you can muster. It is good, soul-satisfying work. The rewards are not of this world. Being a good steward may not mean what you think it does. Being a good steward means using everything you have for kingdom work and trusting that God will supply the means.