Life Matter: Remember the Poor

"Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked" - Psalm 82:3-4.

God requires that His people have a heart for the poor and that their concern translate into action. This action may be the giving of alms and benevolent offerings. It may also be speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves and protecting the poor from those who would infringe on their rights and take advantage of them. When Paul was explaining his call to the Jerusalem elders, he wrote this concerning their response: "They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along" (Galatians 2:9b-10). Are you remembering the poor? Are you eager to do something on their behalf? What more can you do?

Today's Reading - Psalms 81-85

Life Matter: Money Love

"But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked" - Psalm 73:2-3.

It can be difficult to understand why good things happen to seemingly bad people, why they have the resources and opportunities for success that seem to elude you. The psalmist confessed that he had almost succumbed to envy when he beheld what others had. The good news is he did not and you must not either! Paul wrote about this dilemma in 1 Timothy 6:6-10: "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." Has the love of money gotten hold of your heart? Do you see that even if you are relatively poor, you can love money? Is the pursuit of money your main objective in life?

Today's reading - Psalms 71-75

Life Matter: Choose to Give

"I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you; I will praise your name, Lord, for it is good" - Psalm 54:6.

Your giving should not just be a duty but an act of worship that you freely embrace. Your attitude should be not that you have to give but rather that you get and choose to give. What's more, David wrote that he was giving a freewill offering—not something God directed him to do but something David chose to do of his own volition. God did not direct David to give; David decided to give along with what he would give. Paul taught about this approach to giving when he wrote: "Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:8-9). Are you a cheerful giver? While it is good to seek the Lord about your giving habits and amounts, do you also give what's in your heart to give without being coerced or compelled?

Today's Reading - Psalms 51-55

W50D5 - Finances

"Besides, in my devotion to the temple of my God I now
give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the temple
of my God, over and above everything I have provided for this
holy temple" - 1 Chronicles 29:13.

David was a great leader, who is still honored as the national leader in Israel today, 3,000 years after his death! His leadership capabilities positioned him to garner great wealth, power and honor. David did not shun those benefits and he did not try to avoid the fact that God had assigned those things to him. He used all that to honor the Lord in most cases and to do great good. Leaders must not pretend to be insignificant or to shy away from opportunities to do good because others (or their own thinking) consider those attitudes to be more consistent with Christian or biblical behaviors. That means that God may choose wealth for some, and then expect them to be generous and carry out his wishes with those resources.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to examine just how surrendered you are to the Lord. You are probably content that God may want you to be a relative unknown in your walk. What. however, if God wants you to be a household name? What if He has assigned you fame or even some money? Are you willing to sacrifice your privacy and lifestyle to live a life that is more public, that is shared with many others beyond your family? How will you react to that cross?

W45D5 - Finances

"The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus" - Luke 16:14.

The definition of sneering is "to smile or speak in a contemptuous or mocking manner." The Pharisees weren't sneering because they disagreed with Jesus' theology, but because they loved money, and their love of money caused them to have contempt for God and His word. In other words, God was bad for their business of religion. What's more, they were showing their disdain in all probability by smiling at Him. Leaders must guard against the love of money, for it will cause them to look past what is best for the organization, the followers, or the customers and focus solely on the bottom line—or their own paycheck. And leaders must make sure their love of money doesn't cause them to laugh at, speak against, or mock God and His directives for their business behavior and practices.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to examine your level of love for money. How generous are you and your organization? Do you invest time and money into your employees, your community, or your customer care? How much and to what causes? Do you pay the utility company whatever it wants but scoff at a bonus for those who serve you or the company? Does your love for money cause you to scoff at biblical principles because they are 'bad' for business?

W40D5 - Finances

"If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?" - 1 John 3:17.

God blesses individuals and companies with resources but He expects those financial blessings to be utilized, in part, to meet the needs of individuals and communities. It is up to leadership to help foster empathy and generosity within the ranks of their families or organizations through community involvement, grants, focused giving, and volunteer initiatives. Leadership must also help focus those efforts to build relationships within their communities so they can oversee the successful deployment of their generosity. Thus, any benevolent or community development work must not only be money but should be the involvement and investment of people's time and effort, including that of the leaders.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to look at your organization's community involvement beyond just doing business. You should work to be a good neighbor by looking for, and then investing in, community needs. Ideally these efforts should be tied to the mission of your organization if possible, but your staff can also direct and connect your investments of time and money to the causes that are most important to them—and they will appreciate you for it.

W35D5 - Finances

"You may say to yourself, 'My power and the strength
of my hands have produced this wealth for me.' But
remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives
you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms
his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors,
as it is today" - Deuteronomy 8:17-18.

Leaders are often around a lot of money and have the potential to earn a lot of money. It is easy for those leaders to assume that their intelligence, leadership prowess, job skills and the like are the source of that wealth. That prideful thinking then leads to an attitude of ownership, which means they have to fight to protect what is rightfully theirs and to gain more. Today's verses remind leaders and all people to remember the Lord who is the source of all good things, including wealth. That wealth is not a sign of man's faithfulness but rather God's faithfulness, who bestowed the ability to earn wealth on those whom He sovereignly chooses. That should lead to an attitude of stewardship and not ownership.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to examine your attitude toward finances and wealth. It is important you be clear that God is the source of any wealth you may have earned. Has pride or a sense of entitlement set in that has caused you to be arrogant or to put your trust in your money or your ability to earn it? Do you thank God for your financial resources? Are you careful to give back to God by being generous to your church and the poor?

W30D5 - Finances

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

Money is not the problem in the life of a company or an individual. It is the love of money that causes all kinds of problems. Leaders must first be aware of this personal danger for, if they do their job well, they will probably be rewarded financially. If their organization is successful, then the company will also have abundant financial resources. The only antidote for the love of money is generosity and giving, so leaders must develop this trait in their own lives and then help their companies develop a corporate sense of community service and generosity. This isn't just good business, this is a moral necessity!

LEADERSHIP STEP: First, examine your personal giving habits. Do you give your time, money, talent and expertise to other people and organizations? Second, do an audit of your organization's generosity, even if you are supported by the donations of others? Once you assess where you and your organization are, then your Step today is to determine how you, your family or your company can be more generous in to escape the love-of-money's evil and dangerous hold.

W25D5 - Finances

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will
hate the one and love the other, or you will be
devoted to the one and despise the other. You
 cannot serve both God and money" - Luke 16:13.

When leaders begin to serve money or money interests, their leadership is often compromised. Obviously every business must make a little more money than they spend or it is out of business, so there is nothing wrong with maximizing profits. When leaders try to maximize their own profits or when they maximize profits at the expense of quality or people, however, then decisions can be made that will serve money and forget or minimize God and integrity. Once that happens, it is difficult to dethrone money as the supreme ruler when personal or corporate decisions are made.

LEADERSHIP STEP: There is only one antidote to greed and that is generosity at both the individual and corporate level. And this value must be developed and expressed before you deal with large sums of money. What can you do today to help your organization make a decision that is not in their best financial interests, but rather the interests of the poor or your community's welfare? Do you have a chance to do that in your personal finances? Don't delay; act now!

W20D5 - Finances

"But woe to you who are rich,
    for you have already received your comfort" - Luke 6:24.

When companies and organizations are successful, there is usually a monetary return and reward for that success. Effective leaders don't allow money to cover up the problems in their organizations, and those same leaders can also help their organizations be sensitive to the needs that exist in their communities and even among the families of their employees. They can then help direct organizational finances toward helping those in need, which may be in the form of cash or employees volunteering in the community among the poor. This will help keep greed and a money-only focus from infecting the organization.

LEADERSHIP STEP: What is your organization's position toward the poor and needy? If your focus is only on the needs in your immediate world, you can lose touch with how people are suffering all around you in the community and world. Today, examine two things: what your company (or family) does to help the poor and what do you do personally? Then help lead a company discussion around opportunities to make a difference where profit is not involved.