Being part of a financial ministry is challenging sometimes due to the mission of “walking the talk.” If I’m going to lead a Bible study designed to help parishioners get a handle on their finances, I had better have a handle on my own, right? Likewise, in writing these posts every week, I should be able to back up my musings through my own actions, while also being transparent enough to admit to my fumbles, too.
One of the things that is challenging to me is the facade of success that I see everywhere. For some reason—maybe only here in the U.S., but perhaps elsewhere too—success has a certain look. Successful people are clean cut. They drive shiny new cars, and live in sprawling homes with a staff to take care of the grounds as well as the housekeeping, and maybe even the shopping and cooking, too.
Contrast that picture with the picture of success we envision when we are a part of this financial ministry. People who are successful by Compass’ standards are checking off boxes along the Money Map. They might not drive a shiny new car, but their car is paid for. They may not wear designer clothes, but they are well maintained. And, they most likely don’t hire out for any jobs they are able to do themselves. Quite a different picture of success than the one we see splayed across the magazine covers at the grocery store (because we do our own cooking and shopping, thank you very much).
It can be frustrating sometimes to come into contact with the conflicting identities of success when we’re trying to stay on track. So how do we manage to stay on the right path when the temptations to veer off are so great?
We stay grounded in The Word. During the nine-week Bible study (Navigating Your Finances God’s Way), we have verse after verse and reference after reference that point to the definition of true success and true rewards. We are told that we are to be in this world, but not of it, which is key to remember when these temptations surface. We make the biggest impact when we remember the One who created us, and the great things he created for us to do in this life in order to prepare ourselves for the next.
When our motives to spend carefully, give, volunteer, and tithe are overshadowed by the temptation to upgrade, update, or enhance what we already have or buy what we don’t have, but “desperately need”, it’s time to grab our Bibles and review the references to “Stewardship.”
May the Holy Spirit guide us on this journey to financial freedom and keep us grounded in the Word of God, which inspires us to be all that he created us to be, no matter what images the world throws at us.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” -Romans 12:2