Life Notes Financial Health article by Brent J. Welch, CFP®, ChFC, CRPS®, CLU, AIF®
Randy Alcorn is an author of best-selling books including The Law of Rewards. He is a pro-life advocate and a peaceful demonstrator. In 1990, he and a group of peaceful protestors were sued by an abortion clinic for $8.4 million. By all appearances, his life took a devastating turn – but it was one of the best things that ever happened to him. What others intended for evil, God intended for good (Genesis 50:20). He started Eternal Perspective Ministries and then transferred all of the books he authored into it. This helped to protect his books and give all of the proceeds to charities.
Something interesting happened: suddenly his books were on the best-seller lists. Royalties increased. His ministry has been able to give away 100 percent of those royalties to missions, famine relief, and pro-life work. In the next three years after the lawsuit, Randy was blessed to give over $500,000 to charities. He said in his book The Law of Rewards, “Sometimes I think God sells the books just to raise funds for ministries close to his heart!” He continued, “I don’t go to bed at night feeling that I’ve ‘sacrificed’ that money, wishing somehow I could get my hands on it. I go to bed feeling joy, because there’s nothing like giving.” Randy Alcorn challenges you to consider that if God has blessed your life with financial abundance, maybe you are given much so that you can bless others. If you have a successful business, maybe it’s not because you have superior goods or services, but perhaps he wants you to give more generously to others in need.
A. W. Tozer listed four questions to help you discover what your treasure is.
1. What do you value most?
2. What would you most hate to lose?
3. What do your thoughts turn to most frequently when you are free to think of what you will?
4. What affords you the greatest pleasure?
Based on these four questions, what is your treasure?
You see, here’s the thing; you were created with an innate desire for pleasure, possessions and power. However, evil can pervert these desires to an unhealthy place and you can become obsessed with pleasure, possessions and power. Randy Alcorn suggests that you have an antidote to avoid the selfishness that can come from an unbridled quest for pleasure, possessions and power.
One antidote for pleasure is fasting. When you avoid eating in order to fast and pray, you are putting off the need for food and subjugating your desire for food. The discipline of fasting may help you defer the pleasure of eating and redirect your affections to God. Of course, this isn’t an all-encompassing solution to your desire for pleasure but a redirection of your affections to God. Psalm 16:11 says, “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.”
An antidote for possessions is charitable giving. When you give away the first-fruits of your wealth to God with an attitude of gratitude, you loosen your grip on your possessions. Hold your possessions with an open hand before God and say, “Lord, you own it all and I am a steward of your resources.” The Lord can give more abundantly or take away as he desires. Now, understand that he is your Father and wants to bless you. He loves you and is crazy about you. He will take care of you for the rest of your life. Believe it!
Finally, the antidote for power is to pray! By praying, you are giving up the rights to your life and evoking God’s power. Ask for his kingdom to come and for his will to be done in your life. As Zechariah 4:6 says, “Not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit says the Lord.” You do not need to be afraid or dismayed because the Lord is with you wherever you go.” (see Joshua 1:9)
God has built into you the natural desire for pleasure, possessions and power. However, this is not your home. You have an eternal kingdom in heaven if you believe in, trust in and rely upon Jesus for your salvation and life today. You are just a passin’ through. Enjoy the ride!