It is a beautiful mid day of the week, I hope you are well, becoming better, hitting your goals, creating beautiful memories and doing good in the world?!
Today, I am dropping by with back-to-back money and finance lessons all from the Bible. Sit back, grab a cup of coffee and let’s begin.
MONEY AND FINANCE LESSONS:
1) A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord. (II Kings 4:1 NKJV)
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6a)
At the risk of seemingly over-stressing this point, but it needs to sink in. Even though God has made provision for abundance, we can die in penury if we don’t take advantage of the keys to Kingdom prosperity He has provided for us. The fear of God does not automatically confer financial wisdom nor make you financially responsible. You may be a devout Christian in a close walk with God brimming full of anointing, if you don’t know nor choose to apply the laws of financial prosperity, you will make heaven but you will live poor on earth. And God is not to be blamed. You are. Your ignorance is responsible.
2) And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves.”
Financial irresponsibility puts you at risk of losing what is precious to you. Your “two sons” can signify anything.
You can lose your credibility and platform.
You can lose your respect or influence or the attention you command. Believe it or not, affluence gives a form of influence.
You may lose your love for God and get angry that He “let” you continue in suffering. You can lose your peace and joy. Or get too distracted to give your best in Kingdom service because you are always hustling to make ends meet. You can lose your material possessions or be forced to sell some in order to survive. Being in debt or any other form of financial irresponsibility does no good. Both to you and to your close kin.
3) So Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you?”
The Message Translation puts it this way: “I wonder how I can be of help”
People put a lot of expectations on the church especially religious leaders and spiritual authorities to help them out of their financial mess. Many expect “men of God” to give them money or material possessions in response to their plight. And when the latter fail to do so, they are perceived to be stingy or not having a giving heart like Jesus or always collecting / receiving from the congregation but never giving out. It still baffles me how poor persons feel the most entitled.
It takes a wise spiritual (or secular) leader not to be pressured or blackmailed into giving in light of these considerations. Not that giving is bad. If he or she has something to give, he or she should. But wisdom teaches that the solution is not meeting the person’s temporary need but profering a long-term solution. It is not enough to give a person fish, you have to teach them how to fish otherwise they will always be dependent and running to you when they are in financial trouble.
Stop seeing spiritual authorities as financial saviours. They are called to help you grow spiritually, provide guidance and prayers and not to meet your material needs or solve your money problems.
4) “Tell me, what do you have in the house?”
This Elisha’s attempt at teaching her how to fish – Pointing her in the direction of her financial freedom. Opening her eyes to recognize her monetizable resource. This is what a leader does. Because he is at a higher place (probably because of experience, connection with God and divine wisdom), he is able to see what you are not seeing and will point you in the direction of your unrecognized potentials.
Please note that Elisha didn’t ask her, “What can you do?” OR “What are you very good at?” Cos we make a mistake to streamline the interpretation of this question to just gifts and talents. What he asked was “What do you have in the house?” Put in another way, he was asking, “What do you have WITHIN you or AROUND you that can be converted to wealth?” It’s beyond skills, giftings, talents, passion or knowledge.
I understand in the last 5 years or so, the popular jingo is “Convert your passions into wealth” or “Make money from what you know so well”. While these are possible channels and are becoming popular, they are not the only pathways to wealth. Time and again, we have seen lots of persons who didn’t make money from passion or selling any knowledge or using their skills but by simply recognizing an opportunity or a need in their immediate environment and taken advantage of it. Some got rich by identifying problems and providing solutions.
My point? Don’t narrow your options to just passion. Don’t let motivational speakers force you to start cracking your brain to figure out what your skill-set is and what talent can you use. God may have other plans for wealth creation in your own case. Be open to possibilities beyond selling knowledge or skills. That widow never said her passion is jar of oil. Pray for discernment to identify wealth-creation opportunities within or around you.
5) And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.”
She answered in a typical way any of us would. We always claim we have NOTHING but the truth is that even the poorest of us has SOMETHING. Everyone has a “jar of oil” even though on the surface, it may look non-wealth generating.
The widow may have also said nothing because she felt Elisha was enquiring whether she has anything of value or a luxury item she could sell and pay her debts. I’m sure when she included that phrase “…but a jar of oil”, she wasn’t expecting that that very jar of oil was her gateway to financial freedom.
What is the significance of the jar of oil?
- It could mean something we have within or around us that can generate wealth even though it doesn’t look like it on the surface.
- It is that opportunity in my environment I can take advantage of to make money.
- It is that “common” commodity that we wrongly assume everyone owns or have access to. The widow may have concluded that everybody has a jar of oil so there is nothing special about owing one.
- A jar of oil is that little thing in our hand which we think is not enough to make money from.
A lack mindset thinks this way:
- What business can I start with only one small jar? If I had ten jars of oil, I would have considered it a business idea.
- What business can I start with 20k? If I had 500k or even as little as 100k, I can kick start something.
- How can I invest 1k or 5k? If I had say 50k, I can begin to think of investment
We forget that the miracle of multiplication in the financial world happens when you put into use that “little” you have, not before. If you are waiting for it to increase or multiply before you start, you will never start. And if possible, that little in your hand will begin to dwindle.
If the widow had argued the possibility of starting an oil business with just a jar of oil when people who are into begin with nothing less than 50 gallons, she wouldn’t have boldly stepped out in faith to obey Elisha and a time would have come when she will not even have that jar of oil because she would have used it up.
6) Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors — empty vessels; do not gather just a few.
“And not just a few – ALL YOU CAN GET” (MSG)
Go and borrow vessels, empty vessels without any oil.
First thing I want you to note is that you have ALL the oil you need for financial prosperity. You don’t need to borrow oil or consider stealing or using another man’s oil. That which is in your hand whether small or big, God has promised to multiply.
However, even though you have all the oil you need, you still need to “borrow” vessles from others. Vessels represent channels with which I can move the oil or what can enable me move the oil I have. The basic value which I can exchange for wealth is in my hands but i still need ALL the inputs I can get from others to guarantee a successful venture.
The vessel can be in the form of starting capital/loans/grants. Or in the form of an advice or counsel well-experienced in the field. Choosing to intern or serve someone who is in the business already so as to learn the nitty-gritty of that area is you gathering empty vessels. An opportunity or platform you can take advantage of to promote your oil is also a vessel.
You cannot be content with the few vessels you own personally. You don’t have everything you need and what you have may be too small. If you work with just what you have, you may not accomplish much or maximize that venture.
And you need not wait for the vessels to come to you miraculously. Or wait until your neighbours see what you are doing and offer to support you. You must be willing to knock on their doors and ASK! Some may give you a No and that’s okay but there will be others who will be willing to give those empty vessels they are not putting into use. The fear of getting a no should not hinder you from making attempts. And hey! Collect as much vessels as you can access/gather. The more…the merrier!
TO BE CONTINUED….
Write you soon
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