Just like any great meal begins with a quality recipe, the type of ingredients we choose will also determine our recipe’s ultimate result. Similarly, throughout my career, I have witnessed many families, businesses and individuals sadly come up short when it comes to preparing a “tasteful” financial future. This is usually due to lacking the proper recipe and/or the proper ingredients. However, those with proven track records of success demonstrate and reveal three primary components to supporting long term financial vitality. Thankfully, these ingredients God gives to us all, regardless of our beginnings, background and former bad decisions:
Passion: Without passion, we lack the primary spark to even start the flame necessary to get us started. However, with passion, what we can accomplish is staggering. This is true for us spiritually, physically, relationally, professionally and financially. Thus, the key is for us to unite our existing God-given passions and desires with our goals. In other words, what are the reasons for our goals? Positive passions typically exist because they serve a greater good and stretch beyond benefiting just ourselves. Therefore, pray to define what drives you and why. Is it to protect and provide for our families, help the lives of others and/or improve our communities? Whatever the reason(s), when we forge them with our goals, while trusting God’s sovereign authority over them, we become more committed to achieve them (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Vision: When we have vision, we have hope, and with hope, people have literally impacted the world. Vision is like seeing the picture of what our recipe will create. It is the outcome of our efforts. It helps keep us from cheapening the process, taking shortcuts and giving up. This is important because without passion, we are simply robotic in our efforts; and without vision, we can’t fully appreciate why we are choosing to do what we do. This can lead to feelings of frustration, rather than stimulation. Thus, vision propels perseverance and often serves as inspiration for others to join the cause (Acts 2:17). When our lives are surrendered to God, His vision becomes our vision and as a result, we are able to participate and share in His Kingdom agenda right where we are.
Clarity: Without clarity, we are left with confusion and chaos. This can cause us to get distracted, discouraged and/or disenchanted when our goals don’t seem to be making headway. This is like taking the cake out of the oven before its fully cooked and trying to decorate it so that it looks ready to eat. This happens when we lack direction and allow our impatient emotions to rule. We can’t allow the same thing to happen to our stewardship. We must be diligent, disciplined and dedicated to the process and clarifying the hows and whys to what we do helps make this happen. However, clarity also empowers us to keep our priorities in check. For even though financial stewardship is Biblical, it should never take higher priority over our relationship with Christ (Luke 10:27).
Application: “Half Baked?” – Proverbs 16:9
In summary, none of us likes the idea of financial instability, but security in this area requires a plan/recipe and our obedience to God in order to achieve it effectively. Therefore, define your dreams, know your passions and envision the value of making them a reality. Then, clarify how to get there, but this is still only a half baked solution. For the plans of man are in vain when orchestrated apart from God. We can read, apply and learn all we want from man, but God is the final authority and His Word contains the true recipe for success – not just for our finances, but for our life here and for eternity.