How You Can Steward God’s Money Better

Part 3 of 3-Part Series

Your Money? God’s Money? Whose Money Is It? and How Well Do You Steward God’s Money? framed a Biblical worldview of money and provided an opportunity for self-assessment against that standard. Living in the “of the world” can make it difficult to have clarity on money ownership, and at times, it can be painful to be honest about our short-comings. Don’t beat yourself up. Instead of wasting time ruminating on what you should have done in the past, decide what steps you can take to move forward.

“Money makes a terrible master but is a good servant to those who are God’s money masters.” — Sandra Dillon

Although your next moves should be prayerfully God-inspired, if you have difficulty hearing God’s voice, below are a few suggestions to consider:

  1. Spend time with God daily asking for His guidance on how to steward His money?
  2. Research and pray on Biblical Scripture that speaks to money and its stewardship? What ideas come to mind?
  3. Commit to giving at least a tithe (10%) of your income for service.
  4. Research and commit to giving at least a tithe of your time to service in a ministry that speaks to your heart and talents.
  5. Track where the money you have access to “comes and goes” (income and expenses) over 3 months. When you take an honest look at the numbers, are you honoring God with your decisions? Are you living beyond your means or extravagantly within your means?
  6. What can you give up to demonstrate that you have self-control and discipline when it comes to money management?
  7. If your income was reduced overnight by 25% and you couldn’t go further into debt to fund your lifestyle, what cuts would you make to your expenses? After completing this exercise, why not do it and see how you can successfully live on less? Then give away the rest in a way that multiples the gift.

“Be content with what you have, learn to live on nothing, so you can live on everything.” — Sandra Dillon

Materialism, not money, brings anxiety and worry. Do I have enough? It creates independence and self-sufficiency which creates a degree of separation from God. When we depend on ourselves, we need less of God. And materialism leads to pride and elitism reflected in thoughts such as “I have more, therefore, I’m better than others.”

“Materialism blinds us to our spiritual poverty. Those that love money will never have enough.” — Sandra Dillon

Remember that God’s money is under your management. Are you a good money manager? Or are you storing up treasures on earth when you should be focused on heaven. Because it’s so easy for those of us in developed nations to suffer from affluence, have a distorted relationship with money, and a separation from God, we should do a yearly check-up. Check your money worldview, do a self-assessment, and then make the necessary changes that help you put some “Kingdom currency” in your heavenly bank account based on your money decisions on earth.

Do you want to be known as the richest person in the cemetery or the richest soul in God’s Kingdom. Make some decisions now that provide a bit of personal suffering. You’ll survive, and I guarantee you will strengthen, build resilience, and others will be inspired by watching God work through you. God will reward you for blessing those who could not repay you.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in premarital/marriage, finances, ministry, and leadership. She coaches individuals and couples to find their purpose, be the heroes of their own life stories, and help them be a shining light in this spiritually dark world. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as you coach by reaching out to her at shinecrossings@gmail.com

How Well Do You Steward God’s Money?

Part 2 of 3-Part Series

In God’s Money, Whose Money Is It? the case was made that all money is God’s money. If true, you don’t own money and possessions; instead, you have full responsibility for their stewardship. What grade would you give your money stewardship? How satisfied are you with your money decisions and behaviors?

Ask God what He would have you do with your money and possessions.

Stewarding God’s money is a life-calling and managing it requires intentional and prayerful daily decisions and actions. If you’re looking for some help, identify those areas you’re doing well and those that could use some improvement. Grade your agreement with the following questions on a scale of 1-10, with 1 as highly disagree and 10 as highly agree.

  • My personal value and self-worth/identity increases with the more money I make or have.
  • When I think about prosperity, I think of money.
  • I enjoy showing off the things that I have.
  • I worry and have anxiety about having enough money.
  • I feel that I don’t have enough money.
  • I consider myself an independent person.

The higher your score in these first 6 questions, the more risk you have that your mindset is not aligned with God’s. Continue with these next 6 questions using the same grade scale.

  • I have learned to live on what I make. I am debt free.
  • I am comfortable living on less so that others could have more.
  • I give when the receiver has no ability to repay me in any way.
  • I share the Gospel when I give of my money. I tie my giving with the blessing of the Good News.
  • I prayerfully seek God’s counsel in how to serve and give of my resources
  • I walk in my God-give purpose

Materialism is money-centered, not God-centered. It loves things and uses people.

The higher your score in this second set of “behavior” questions, the more likely you’ll be aligned with storing treasures in heaven and not earth. Kingdom currency is the only currency in heaven: not US dollars, Euros, or Bitcoin. Downsizing your earthly Kingdom is required to upsize the eternal Kingdom. Those who steward God’s money well are those who can live on nothing as well as everything.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in premarital/marriage, finances, ministry, and leadership. She coaches individuals and couples to find their purpose, be the heroes of their own life stories, and help them be a shining light in this spiritually dark world. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as you coach by reaching out to her at shinecrossings@gmail.com

Your Money? God’s Money? Whose Money Is It?

Part 1 of 3-Part Series

Religion, politics, sex, and money are topics many people feel uncomfortable discussing. Conversations may get more difficult, even polarized when mixed, such as Christians and their money. Discussing money can become so anxiety-ridden that some pastors quake in their shoes when asked to preach on the tithe. Perhaps Jesus talked about money in 11 of the 39 parables and it’s referenced in some way in one out of seven verses because we need to hear the Godly worldview that fights against those who’ve turned money into an idol.

As a Christian who lives in the United States, I confidently estimate that I have more money than most Christians around the world. I say that, because I’ve walked the neighborhood slums in Africa, Latin America, and South America, conversing with my brothers and sisters in Christ. When I see the material poverty, I thank God for what I have and feel a heavy burden to use my resources to facilitate the Kingdom on earth.

Every Christian has a relationship with money? Every Christian should have a personal relationship with God. Every Christian should be asking themselves, “How does God want me to use the money I have for Kingdom work?”

Your Money?

How do you refer to money? Is it your money? God’s money? Or somewhere in between? I know many Christians who say that the money they earn is 90% theirs and the tithe is God’s. On top of that there’s debate whether the 10% is before or after taxes and whether a tithe is for the church or can be portioned out for God’s ministry. The pulpit then encourages Christians to pray whether they should give more than the tithe for special gifts.

Some Christians, who don’t want to give of their money, have convinced themselves that tithing doesn’t apply today. The New Testament doesn’t talk about the tithe and was a law of the Old Testament. The new has made the old null and void. Christians have all kinds of excuses not to tithe: they can’t afford it, they don’t have a church home to give it, and they give of their time instead. What they’re ultimately saying is that it’s their money, and they’ll decide how to spend it or give it away. Many Christians’ relationship with money has become so distorted that even when they marry and “…they are no longer two, but one flesh” (Mark 10:8 NIV), spouses still separately control the money they earn.

God’s Money?

God made man, man made money, so the argument can be made that all money is God’s money. God owns all that man has created on earth. Money itself is not evil, but God is concerned with the relationship that man has with his money. Based on how people handle their money and are consumed with thoughts about it, money has become an idol for many and a priority above a relationship with God. It is the LOVE OF MONEY, not money itself, that separates us from God. Money is only a tool and not evil in itself.

If it was your money, you’d be able to take it with you when you leave this earth, but you can’t. One day money will be useless to you. When you put your relationship with God first, there’s no way you couldn’t believe that all money is God’s and want to pray in how to use it for His glory.

All money has to be God’s money, because if you don’t view it as such, you’ll think your wealth was of your own doing and perhaps you’d internalize that you’re a bit god-like in your own right. You’d might also believe that those who didn’t have money were less than or not deserving. Do you think even a little less of people who live in material poverty? Some of the poorest Christians I’ve met had the closest relationship with God, because they had to rely on God for their provision.

God tests us in how we handle money to determine our trustworthiness in dealing with others. You’re just the steward of His money while you live on earth. You’ll be judged in your faithfulness, industrialness, and wisdom of money invested in God’s Kingdom. Because it is God’s money: “Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you” (Deuteronomy 16:17, NLT).

Whose Money Is It?

What’s your relationship with money? Most Christians never examine their relationship with money, perhaps out of ignorance or fear in dealing with the big question. What’s your reason? Whichever it is, it’s in the past. Step into the future and start to ask yourself the tough question, because I can guarantee you that no one else is going to ask you.

Where will God fit into the picture? God wants to be above your money. Your relationship with money can put a level of separation with God. Once you decide that this is God’s money and you’re just a steward of it while on earth, your whole worldview will change and for the better. You will have freedom in spirit in ways you could never imagine.

There’s a difference between ownership and stewardship. You are a trustee of God’s living trust. How are you managing God’s money for the Kingdom? In some ways your money stewardship should be your life calling. If you’re committed to stewarding money God’s way, stay tuned for Part 2.

Scriptures to Pray On

“A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord” (Leviticus 27:30, NIV)

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Timothy 6:10, NIV)

Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you” (Hebrews 13:5, NLT)

Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness (Ecclesiastes 5:10, NLT)

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be” (Matthew 6:19-21, NLT)

Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops (Proverbs 3:9, NLT)

Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you (Deuteronomy 16:17, NLT)


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and ministry. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

How Does Your Relationship with Money Affect Your Life?

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When I ask clients to describe their relationship with money, most times I get a confused look. They’re not sure how to respond to that question, because they haven’t given much thought to money along those lines. Eventually, some may say that money is a means of getting what they want, a necessity to buy the basics of life, or the definition of success and power. How would you respond to that question?

Too many people spend money they earned..to buy things they don’t want..to impress people that they don’t like.  [Will Rogers]

We all have a money mindset that translates into a money relationship. Does your money burn a hole in your pocket? Do you put your savings under your mattress? These behaviors all reflect the relationship you have with your money, and if you want to be in charge of your life, you first need to understand your deep-seated relationship with money today. If you are not intentional with your money, your money will be in charge of you.

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. [Benjamin Franklin]

One of the first steps you can do is take a relationship survey with money to identify the role that money plays in your life—your money mindset. Does having money validate you, does it provide a sense of security? Do you use money as means of measuring your self-worth? Or, is it a means to create new experiences?

Your ability to live out your life purpose will be influence by your money mindset. Are they compatible? The health and satisfaction of marriages are heavily influence by each spouse’s relationship with money. Differences can produce intense conflict, if left unresolved, can lead to divorce.  If you’d like to explore your relationship with money and/or how it affects your marriage or partnership, let’s have a conversation.

It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy. [George Lorimer]


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and marriage coaching. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at shinecrossings@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossingsministry.com

 

Financial Coaching: Are You Ready for “Different” Because Your “Normal” Isn’t Working?

Financial Coaching 2


Americans are drowning in debt with 4 out of 5 families essentially living paycheck to paycheck. Many people who approach me for financial coaching are losing sleep worrying how they will make next month’s payments and are exhausted from stressing about the impact of a potential job loss. Are you like most Americans who can say “that’s me” to one or more of these statements?

  • Worrying you’re 1 or 2 paychecks away from missing payments on a mortgage, minimums on credit cards, auto payments, or student loans
  • Losing sleep over a possible job loss because you have no emergency fund to cover expenses
  • Stressing on how you’re going to send your child to college
  • Paying late on bills due
  • Juggling money around to keep one step ahead of the next payment
  • Asking family and friends for loans
  • Defaulting on your promise to pay back on loans from friends and family
  • Thinking that bankruptcy may be the way out of your financial mess
  • Worrying about whether you’ll have enough to live on in retirement
  • Borrowing against your 401K to pay your bills
  • Wishing you had money to tithe or give something to those in need

I’m anxious thinking about anyone’s life filled with these worries. The ultimate question is whether you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired and ready to slay your debt. Are you ready to change your financial habits and create a plan that makes life work for you and your family? Do you want to gift a financial legacy in how to steward money well so your children can carry it forward?

As a premarital and marriage coach, expanding my portfolio of services to include financial coaching was a natural outcome to address the issues that I see plaguing most relationships. One person in a serious dating relationship questions whether he or she wants to take on the huge student loan debt of the other. Spouses are arguing daily on spending habits. Marriages are torn apart by the stress of debt.

It’s never too late to take control of your finances. Is it time for you to get weird with money, because normal isn’t working? Financial coaching can help ease your pain. Although there aren’t any easy fixes, hundreds of thousands American families have conquered their debt, built wealth, and are now able to give generously. Many years of poor financial decisions may have gotten you to your current position or perhaps a medical crisis. It will take time to work through your debt. How fast will be determined by the sacrifices you’re willing to make. Ask me how financial coaching can help you.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership, premarital/marriage, and financial coaching. She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossingsministry.com.

Change Your Relationship with Money and Change Your Life

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Your Money Relationship

Money can be a difficult topic to discuss because of our emotionally complex relationship with it and how we use it to create meaning in our lives. We need money for the necessities of life such as food, water, clothing, and shelter, but we also use money to achieve status, security, enjoyment, and control over our world.  How would you describe your relationship with money?

We typically have dreams involving our lifestyle, career/job, relationships, community, and faith. These areas of life are all connected and usually supported by a financial plan that prioritizes and balances income, spending, and savings. Two big questions we should all be answering for ourselves are: (1) What budget do I need to implement to help me achieve my goals, and (2) What financially based behavioral changes do I need to make to create the life I want? If you haven’t seriously thought about these questions in the past, answering them could be an intimidating task.

What is Financial Coaching?

If you need help creating a financial path out of the woods, a coach can be the partner who helps you to see the forest through the trees. Financial coaching is a partnership where clients learn financial skills, increase financial savviness, set goals, shape a financial strategy, and execute an earning/spending plan that helps them achieve both their short- and long-goals. A coach and client co-create the plan and brainstorm ways a client can successfully execute it.

Coaches also support their clients by identifying and fostering behavioral changes that will result in sustainable performance. The client’s money habits and goals need to be aligned and working in concert. Financial coaches keep their clients focused on positive financial behaviors while making allowances for missteps as these new money habits take form.

How Can a Financial Coach Help Me?

You will likely find yourself sharing the financial details of your life under a confidentiality agreement. Your coach will need an accurate picture of your financial situation and an understanding of your current behaviors/thinking that will either support or undermine you from reaching your goals.  You will co-create strategies to address risks that may disrupt your plan.

Coaches monitor your progress, provide feedback, and make referrals as needed. Your financial coach will teach, encourage, support, and challenge you as you strengthen your financial stewardship.

Some clients may be financially savvy on the mechanics and skills of budgeting and long-term planning but only lack discipline.  In this case, a financial coach can still provide value by helping the client: (1) determine underlying sabotaging practices and their causes, (2) identify positive long-term financial behaviors, (3) practice new behaviors until they become more comfortable.

Your Next Decision

No matter what stage of life or age, it’s never too late to pause and decide to live out a new financial plan that excites you and gives you long-term peace of mind.  As someone once shared with me, “It’s ok to be old, and it’s ok to be broke, but it’s a terrible thing to be both old and broke.”  Don’t let lack of financial planning have you regretting your earlier choices.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership, life coaching, marriage, and finances.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help people be the best version of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her websites at www.shinecrossings.com and www.shinecrossingsministry.com

Giving To A Vision

vision signIn the non-profit world, many people struggle with how to secure resources, namely raise money, to support their cause. Despite a ministry’s worthiness, many struggle or never reach their full stride due to inability to secure volunteer time or funding.   Why does raising money seem so daunting?  Although God is the ultimate resource provider, why do some non-profit leaders receive an outpouring of funds while others not?  Although most situations cannot be attributable to only one reason, I would propose a significant contributor is the lack of a leader’s clear, compelling, and well-communicated vision for the ministry.  I believe people are inherently generous and predisposed to give of their time and resources, if the right opportunity is presented the right way at the right time. When done right, I expect people to respond with joyful hearts and generous giving.

One of the key responsibilities of the leader is to ensure the ministry or non-profit has a powerful vision, strategy, and plan that can be effectively communicated to potential donors.  From a Biblical perspective, Christians are called by God to steward their resources and use them to invest in Kingdom opportunities.  Therefore, a responsible donor would logically expect to understand the vision, the strategy/execution plan, and how the ministry will be held accountable.  If a leader cannot article the vision and supporting details, a donor is likely to assume the resources will not be well stewarded.

When I interviewed for a full-time fundraising position at MedSend, the CEO enlightened me that those who have significant wealth feel an overwhelming burden of responsibility to give back and are actively looking for causes where their donations can make a big impact.  They want to make a significant contribution to the world and want to invest their money in a vision that is greater than paying someone’s bills.  Think about it.  What criteria do you use for giving?  Aside from tithing, people give to people not organizations, specifically to people who have visions.

If you are fundraising for a cause for which you are passionate, take the time to paint a clear and engaging picture of your vision, so you can help your donors understand how their efforts will release joy and power.  Make it big!  Stretch your dreaming! If you can create a vision that you could accomplish on your own, it is likely not from God.  God does not dream that small.