What am I doing wrong? I go to church on Sunday. I have a personal relationship with Jesus, I tithe, I give my offering, I seed faith, I read my Bible, I pray, I'm always giving. My financial situation is not improving. I really want to be a successful woman of God in every area of my life. Please help me!
Well, there are a lot of reasons why people are in difficult financial
situations. First of all, we need to realize that you’re doing the right thing
with the first tenth, and you’re doing the right thing with serving God and
going to church. But it’s not just what we do with the tithe; it’s what we do
with the other nine-tenths of what we have. And so maybe you need to look at
your budget. Maybe you’re spending more than what you’re taking in. Maybe you
need to cut your budget. You will be a successful woman in every area of your
life as you keep meditating on the Word of God. Success comes from Joshua 1:7-8,
so I would encourage you to not just read your Bible and pray, but to read the
things in the Bible that will plant the seeds of success in your life. And don’t
ever give up. Galatians 6 says to not grow weary in doing good, so keep doing
good, for in due season you will reap if you faint not. But again, it’s not just
what you do with the first ten percent, that’s critical that you give that to
the Lord, but it’s what you do with the other ninety percent.
And evaluate what you’re doing with your spending, and get some material on
getting your finances in order. We have a book called Financial Freedom: Ten
Steps to Getting Out Of Debt. You will be successful, but you can’t lose heart.
And you’ve got to have a plan. You need a financial plan in your life. “Okay,
where am I now and where am I going to go?” And establish how you’re going to
get there, and the necessary steps to get to that end result. And you will have
success. So be encouraged, stand on the Word in Joshua 1:7-8, and you will have
good success, according to the Word of God.
Proverbs 13:22: A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just. How do we deal with that? What does that mean?
First of all, let’s establish clearly that Scripture does not just mean that
if you’re a Christian, if you’re saved, if you’re Born Again, that somehow the
wealth of this world is going to end up in your hands. It’s just not going to
happen that way. Just being a Christian does not earn us a right to have the
wealth of this world come into our hands.
When He says “the wealth of the wicked is laid up for the just,” He’s saying,
“Look, if you live justly, if you live righteously, if you get your decisions
lined up with God’s Word and live according to God’s way of doing things in your
mind, in your body, in your family and in your finances, when you are faithful,
that’s what causes a flow of wealth to come out of the hands of this world’s
system into the hands of those who are following God’s system.” Matthew 6:33
says, Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things
shall be added unto you.”
Some may thing that because they are saved and they tithe the wealth of the
sinner is laid up for them. They think that means that in these last days, the
world’s wealth is going to come into their hands. However, this is not the case.
Because it’s not just what you do with the first tenth of what you have, but
it’s what you do with the other nine-tenths also. So yes, it’s critical that you
give God the first tenth, but it’s also critical that you handle the other
nine-tenths with integrity, with character, with faithfulness and diligence,
proper planning, proper stewardship, not being greedy, not spending frivolously,
and not spending more than you take in. Sometimes we live a lifestyle that is
above our means and you’re never going to get ahead if you live above your
means. You need to live below your means so that there’s always a surplus and
you can start investing that surplus, both in the kingdom of God and in good
companies and in good real estate and in good investments that can bring a yield
to your seed or to your investment.
So, it’s really important that we understand that God is not just going to
suddenly just drop millions of dollars into your hands through the lottery
because you love Him. No, you’re going to have to do things His way. As you seek
first God’s way of doing things, Matthew 6:33 says in the Amplified Bible, God’s
way of doing things, then all these things will be added to you. So you can’t
just follow God’s way in one area of your life; it has to be in all areas of
We were walking out of a fine restaurant in downtown Chicago and we were approached by people looking for handouts. What do you say to them? What can I say to them or what should I give to them and leave them with other than saying, “Do you know Jesus?”
That’s a great question. First of all, you have to be able to differentiate
between somebody who’s truly struggling in life and people who are professional
at begging. And with those people, you need to make sure you don’t give into the
guilt and the manipulation that they try to impose upon you. Oftentimes, people
are hanging out at places like that because they know that people are well-to-do
that go to restaurants like that and they’re taking advantage of that
restaurant. They’re taking advantage of the people that come to that restaurant.
We’re not going out to a restaurant because we’re trying to help the homeless.
We have programs in our church and other churches should have programs. There
are real mission organizations downtown that you can direct people to. Tell them
to go down to the Gospel Mission or the Olive Branch. Say, “Hey, man, have you
tried the Olive Branch?” Those are missions completely designed with those
people in mind who are truly sincere in wanting help and not just wanting to
professionally beg. So I would encourage them, “Hey, have you tried the Olive
Branch Mission? Have you tried the Gospel Mission?” Try that. Encourage them to
go there. That’s what those places are for.
I had a question in regards to sowing a seed as far as helping someone that’s in need of help financially. Is that being in the will of God as far loving thy neighbor as thyself, and loving God with all your mind and all your heart and all your soul?
Well, it’s never out of the will of God to help somebody. Unless they’re
taking advantage of you or unless they’re manipulating you to get it, or
something like that. So it’s not out of the will of God. The Bible says if you
see your brother in need, and you just say to him, “Be warm and filled,” but
don’t do anything for him, then where is your faith in that? There’s no faith
there. That is obvious. The Bible says he who gives to the poor lends to the
Lord. And so, really, there is a willingness that God is after in every one of
our lives, a willingness to be surrendering everything to Him, and not holding
Jesus told the rich young ruler to give what he had to the poor. Sell everything
he had and give—well, he didn’t say give everything to the poor, but he said
sell everything you have and give to the poor. Now, whether he was saying give
everything to the poor, or just make sure you give to the poor, the point was,
He wanted him to sell everything and put his trust in Jesus and follow him with
all his heart, and be willing to do whatever Jesus told him to do. And that’s
what I believe that you’re feeling, that you’re sensing.
So, no, it’s not wrong to help somebody in need. But it’s wrong to take what you
should give to God and give it to somebody in need instead of giving it to the
Lord and giving it to the body of believers that God has placed you in because
it really is the church’s responsibility to distribute it. We find in the Book
of Acts they brought their gifts to the apostles, laid them at the apostles’
feet, and then the apostles distributed the money as they were directed by God
in Acts 4; the apostles distributed as they saw there was a need. That’s how the
church is supposed to operate. If you and I and everybody else just starts
giving away everything we have to people as we think they have need, then
there’s no order in that. And there’s no biblical pattern for that.
But there are times, certainly, where God will move on your heart to give to
somebody who’s hurting, but not to take what belongs to the Lord and what
belongs to the house of God that He puts you in. You should not take that and
give it to somebody who’s hurting. You should do what God tells you to do but
you will find that what God’s telling you to do will line up with what you find
in the Scripture. If you go to the Word of God, find the patterns in the Bible
of where they brought their significant seed, where they brought their gift,
look at the examples in the Word of God, and that should be the thing that sets
the pattern for you. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give something to
somebody if the Lord’s putting that on your heart to do. So I don’t want to make
a rule, because it’s not my place or responsibility to say, “Here’s the rule.”
The Bible clearly says, “Bring your tithes and offerings into the storehouse,
which is the place that God ordains for you to be fed and for you to grow.” And
the significant seed was often times in the Bible brought to the altar of God
and brought into the kingdom of God. But God can speak to you and direct you to
give something significant to somebody, by all means.
I’m a single parent. I’m walking and I’m believing in God. I pay my tithes and I walk upright before Him but sometimes it gets hard as a single parent because you don’t have all the income coming in and you’re facing evictions month by month and I just wanted you to give some insight on what God’s Word says about this.
First of all, God says that He loves you and that He’s going to provide for
you. And it says in Hebrews 13:5-6, God says, “I will never leave you and I will
never forsake you.” And the most important thing you can do right now is to put
your faith, put your trust in the fact that God will not leave you. It may seem
like you’re alone. It may seem like you’re on your own, but He has not left you,
He will not leave you, He will not forsake you, He will not fail you. You have
to begin to take some steps to get the help that you need. You’ve got to
obviously continue to work and continue to tithe and continue to improve
yourself so that you can get an even better job or a promotion at your job. You
have to develop yourself. You have to be the best employee that you can possibly
be and go to your boss and say, “What can I do to improve myself?” Is there a
track you can give me to improve, to increase, to become better"? You have to
make up your mind to take the necessary steps to grow and to develop yourself.
The Bible says in Proverbs chapter 12, “the hand of the diligent will rule.”
Also, of course, if you’re in a jam where you have nowhere else to turn, then
that’s why God places people in churches. A lot of times, people don’t want to
commit themselves to a church until they have a real severe need and a lot of
churches don’t help because they’re trying to help the members of that church
first before they start helping people that aren’t members, that aren’t
faithful, that aren’t consistent.
So, there’s a couple things that you got to do. Number one, you got to trust God
that He will not leave you or forsake you. Number two, you have to improve
yourself and work on yourself to get better at what you do so that you can
position yourself for promotion and position yourself for improvement. And
thirdly, you have to get some counseling, some help from your church, that maybe
somebody in the church that you go to can look at your financial situation and
can look at your responsibilities and your bills and all that and then give you
some advice as to how to make some changes and some adjustments as well as
perhaps offer give you some benevolence if that’s appropriate as well.
So, those are the steps that I would take. You know, if you don’t improve, if
you don’t invest in yourself, you’re never going to get better, so there has to
be a commitment on your part to get better, to improve to do whatever it takes
to not stay in the situation that you’re in. I hope that helps.