Say the word "radical" and it invokes strong emotions. Post September 11th, it even stirs up racial tensions. But if we look closer and see a radical is "a person who holds or follows strong convictions or extreme principles."(dictionary.com) Now, if these beliefs are off-base, then being a radical is extremely dangerous, such as suicide bombers. This can be carried out in many dangerous ways. Imagine if you strongly believed the world was flat, would that not impact how you travel and view the world? But, and a big "BUT", when our beliefs are built on solid truth…being a radical is a good thing!
In Radical: Taking back your faith from the American dream, David Platt illustrates a deep and powerful picture of where the church in America is today. This book is a challenge for Christians to wake up, trade in their false "American dreams", and live a Christ-centered life. In Luke 9:23 Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."(NIV) We are called to live a lifestyle that is radical. One that is completely different from the rest of the world. Yet we are afraid to leave behind money, material things, convenience, security, and our desires. We simply take His Word and try to manipulate it so it fits our purpose rather than His purpose.
Do you have a radical plan for your money?
We do the same thing with our money. We take God's plan for money and manipulate our goals and strategies to fit our purpose rather than His. We often save for artificial goals like "retirement" and ignore what God is really telling us to d bless our families and bless others. We are called to strengthen our families and then help others. If we need help ourselves it is much less effective as you try to help others. So we as a Body of Christ need to work hard to earn more income, give more generously, spend less, pay down debt, and save and invest wisely!
Now I believe this can be done many ways. We need to balance short and long-term needs with His power. Funding Kingdom work today is mighty important. It takes money to pay staff, print Bibles, keep ministries operating, travel the globe helping the poor and lost, and other work. Yet, if we, in addition to giving now also diligently saved and invested wisely, allowed God to bless our harvest, think of the additional crops we as a Body of Christ could produce. The plan is there, but we become self-absorbed.
We become too wrapped up in our problems. We let life get in the way. We focus on living a more comfortable lifestyle. I have been very guilty of this myself. I thought I needed the bigger home, fancier cars, and toys that life offers. Yet the more I had, the less satisfied I was because only His love can satisfy my needs. What about you? Are you too busy, caught up in the rat race, trying to live the American dream?
Yesterday, I had a conversation with a couple who gets it! They have been buying properties for the last ten years. Not just to accumulate wealth (it's working even through the housing bubble!), but to use the properties to house those who are down and out. They now have nearly a dozen properties, almost $500,000 of equity, and are doing God's work - housing His people. The amazing part is they are receiving enough income from the properties that they are paying for themselves. Once paid off, they will be sitting on assets that can be sold, continue to house people, or donated to an organization. The possibilities are limitless.
Now how radical is this kind of thinking? This couple:
1. Thought long and hard about their strategy - buy property, help others
2. Prayed often and listened closely to God for insight as they bought each property
3. Decided to use their assets for His glory!
4. Chose to tithe (10% of income) but instead of giving more, invested wisely and are making a huge financial and spiritual impact on others
How can you take a radical approach?
What is God calling you to do with your finances? Each day, I try to encourage as many people as I can to start building "kingdom capital" - money that can be used to help build His kingdom. Think long and hard about what you are doing with the resources God is entrusting to you? Are you multiplying what He is sending? Are you using your finances for His glory? What are your thoughts about taking a radical approach with your finances?
About Jay Peroni: Jay Peroni is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional, Qualified Kingdom Advisor, blogger at jayperoni.com, and Founder of FaithBasedInvestor.com, a site dedicated to helping individuals enhance their investments without sacrificing their principles.