Money Matters-Crock Pots vs. Microwaves

Anybody that knows anything about cooking knows a crock pot is a must-have in the kitchen. A crockpot is a counter cooking kitchen appliance used to simmer and slow boil foods (the operative word here is, slow) at low temperatures. It is a great way to get the most flavor out of meats! Cooking with a crockpot is usually pretty simple. Just add water, the meat, the seasoning, and the vegetables. Put it all in the pot, turn it on, and wait. You should check on the meal from time to time, and make small adjustments, be there is not a lot to it.

Microwaves are very different from crock pots, but they are also a must-have in any modern kitchen. Microwaves heat up foods by using high-intensity radiation waves to excite the molecules in the food. As the molecules get excited, they move. And this movement creates heat which warms the food. Whole meals can be put together on a plate or in some plastic or ceramic container and the microwave can be used to heat them up; taking them from frozen to editable in just a few minutes.

Crock pots are slow and deliberate while microwaves are seen as the quick and easy option. When it comes to building wealth, we should be crock pots and not microwaves. Building wealth is not meant to be a fast process. God gives us directions as it relates to wealth building but they are not meant to be a formula that takes us from rags-to-riches overnight! Building wealth comes from consistently making smart decisions over a long period of time. I know there are examples in the bible where situations turn from the worst in a blink-of-an-eye, and that speaks to the awesomeness and omnipotence of God. And we take those stories, as we should, and use them for encouragement and as fuel to power through the tough, and often unpredictable, situations that happen in life. But we have to ask ourselves, ‘is that how it is supposed to be on a regular basis? Are we to live in a state of desperation our whole lives waiting for God to rescue us?’ Absolutely not. We are to live victoriously. And we can start to live victoriously by consistently making victorious decisions. Financially speaking, if we steadily save and invest and constantly avoid debt we will prosper. I guarantee it because the bible says so!

So, what does the bible say about “instant wealth”? Proverbs 13:11 says “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever will gain little by little, will prosper.” Proverbs 28:20 says, “A faithful man will abound in blessings, but whosoever rushes to be rich, will not go unpunished.” And Proverbs 20:21 says, “An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning, but the end thereof shall not be blessed.” These are just a few but, nevertheless, strong warnings against “instant wealth”. But why is God so concerned about quick riches? It’s not the money that concerns Him! Money, in and of itself, is amoral; meaning it is neither good nor bad. Money is just a tool. The same money that is used to do something harmful, like buy drugs, can be used to do something good, like feed the homeless. The money doesn’t care! It is the character of the one who manages the money is what concerns God. Money in the hands of the immoral is spent immorally, and money in the hands of the responsible is spent responsibly. God wants his people to have good financial character, and good character does not come quickly or easily. It is forged over time through consistency.

Just as food that has been carefully prepared and slow cooked for hours is so much more flavorful than food that is cooked in the microwave, our financial future will so much more filling if we take the slow and steady approach vs the get-rich-over-night method. It just takes time to build wealth. I know we want it now, but God has warned us against the “quick buck”. The sooner we accept that obtaining wealth is a process and not an event, the sooner we can get started moving toward rightfully possessing what God has decreed as ours! I don’t know about you but I’m ready to get cooking. In next months article, we will discuss the ingredients we want to include our financial recipe. So, get your mind right and get over the fact that is going to take some time. We have work to do and wealth to build. Be blessed.

The Freedom of Being Debt-Free

There is a certain freedom experienced when you choose to live debt-free. It seems like when I talk to people about being debt-free, a very common response I get sounds something like the following: “Well, I’m not debt-free, but I’m good with money.” This common response calls me to dig a little deeper so I inquire a little harder and ask, “What do you mean, by ‘you are good with money’?” And in response, I hear, “I mean, I can pay my bills”. Debt is so common in our society we don’t think anything of it; as long as we can pay the bills. Unfortunately, that has become the new hallmark of financial fitness. This is a popular ideology adopted in our culture today, and if it is not corrected, it will have generational consequences. But before we dive into that, let’s see what the bible says about debt.

Proverbs 22:7 says, “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” It is interesting that the Bible uses such strong language when the writer chose to use the word “slave”. I don’t want to be a slave to anybody or anything! Thanks to Jesus Christ, by the way of Calvary and the 13th Amendment, I am not a slave to anything or anybody (if I choose not to be). However, when we choose to “put something on credit”, or finance a purchase, and yes, even take “same as cash” offers, we chose bondage. We make ourselves servants or, to stick with the strength of the biblical language, we choose slavery. Why would you choose bondage?

Poor choices, unabated, grow into poor behaviors which are perpetuated to the next generation. That is how generational curses get started. I know some people might not believe in generational curses, but they do exist. Everybody knows of a group of people or a family that seems to struggle with a vice whether it’s poverty, alcoholism, or gambling; and that same vice is present in multiple generations. Are they cursed? Are some of the hurdles they face the result of poor decisions being repeated generation after generation? If this is the case, they are choosing to be cursed; they are cursing themselves. Some curses can be broken simply by making better life choices.

And so it is with money choices. If you choose debt, (i.e. credit cards, finance charges, etc.) you are choosing to live under a curse; the curse of being obligated to man.

Being debt free means I am choosing to possess the freedom available to me. I am choosing to go against “the normal” practices and “conventional” ways of handling money. I am choosing to prioritize my financial obligations over my wants. I am choosing my fiscal responsibilities over my exaggerated desires. I am choosing to save money to make purchases, although it may take longer, instead of settling for the quick option of credit. I am choosing to sacrifice now, so I can win this money game later. I am choosing a little pain for my later gain. I am choosing to handle my finances biblically and be a good steward. I am choosing to be obedient to the order of God to owe no man but to love him (Rom. 13:8). I am choosing liberty over slavery.