New Hope for the Week

New Hope for the Week

Remember, where there is no clear vision, there is no self-control.

Today I will:

  • carry God's principles and ways in the forefront of my mind and my heart
  • look for God's way in the midst of the confusion of the world's ways
  • live as a beacon of God's light in the midst of a selfish and money-oriented workplace

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, "He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us"?  James 4:4-5 (ESV)

There may be no greater deception in the world of business than a sense of entitlement. While entry-level employees may be deceived by it to the point of justifying the theft of pens or copy paper, upper-level managers can fall to using it to manipulate those they supervise-or abuse their company credit cards to buy personal items or expensive lunches. CEOs and presidents also fall into its grasp to justify huge raises and bonuses for themselves, while there are large layoffs or cutbacks in their companies. Entitlement allows them to disregard the truth and ethical principles in order to satisfy selfish desires.

James tells us that we deceive ourselves when we hear what is right, but don't do it. (See James 1:22.) This deception occurs in business when facts and figures are presented to the decision-makers, but instead of securing the future of their companies and employees, they choose instead to secure their own positions or financial situations. People aren't hypocrites because they have consciously chosen to be so, but because they have allowed themselves to be deceived. Then, walking in that deception, they spin the facts to justify their actions to others, spreading their deception to those who trust them.

Take a moment today and look for areas in which you may be deceiving yourself about what you are doing at work. Pray that God will reveal these areas to you and bring people into your life who can help you see the truth clearly. Only by clearing your vision can you see your way ahead to do the right things and accomplish your goals.

Remember, the only way to avoid money mastering us is to master it.

Today I will:

  • Take an account of whether I control my money or my money controls me
  • do good with what falls within my influence
  • dedicate my resources to build my Lord's kingdom as well as secure my family's future

“No servant can serve two masters.  For either he will hate one and love the other, or be loyal to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and riches!” Luke 6:13 (ISV)

In his book The Purpose-Driven Life, Pastor Rick Warren says, "Money is both a test and a trust. God uses finances to teach us to trust Him . . . God watches how we use money to test how trustworthy we are." When money goes from a test and trust to lord of our lives, determining how and where we spend our time, then something is seriously out of place. If we are ever going to get to a place where money doesn't control our lives and dictate our actions, then we are going to have to get to a place where we control money and dictate what it will do.

The fact is that money is a force in our world that makes things happen, and those things are generally very negative unless good people determine what it does. Many people believe that we are stewards of what God has given us, but then they look only to what is in their immediate influence as the responsibility of that stewardship. The Bible tells us that we are stewards of all that is on the earth. Is it really responsible stewardship to allow the corrupt and selfish to control most of the earth's resources?

How we work in our businesses and manage the wealth of our companies as well as how we manage our personal finances determines the faithfulness of our stewardship. We need to be mindful each day about how we will answer when we are called to give account before Jesus on that final day. Will you be among the good and faithful stewards God has left to be responsible for His resources on the earth?

Remember, what you have in this world is only temporary.

Today I will:

  • invest in eternity
  • manage my money better
  • sow to the future more than spend for today

So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? Luke 6:11 (NIV)

Any investment program that does not look to the future is worthless. Why invest in something that will not be around tomorrow? Edwin Louis Cole used to say, "We sow to the future and reap from the past." If this is true, then the most valuable things to invest in are those that will be around the longest. Those of us who plan to spend our ultimate retirement in Heaven should think more about investing in eternity than in anything else.

It has been said that "you can't take it with you," but that is not entirely true. What we invest in that has eternal worth will go with us, namely the people that are touched through how we invest our time, talents, and treasures. Luke 16:9 NIV tells us to "use worldly wealth to gain friends for your-selves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings,"

Any investment program we plug into will demand wisdom and diligence if it is to be successful. We need to remember that not only should our plans include providing for our children's college education, a new home or car, our retirement, or any of a number of other worthy goals, but also investing in that which is eternal, whether it be a coworker, the needy who come to our churches, or the poor in a faraway land. Ten thousand years from now, which will have been the wisest investments? Only those that we can "take with us!"

Remember, how faithful you are in the little things you have today will determine how much you are trusted with tomorrow.

Today I will:

  • treat the place I work as if it were my own business
  • be a good steward of the time I have promised to others
  • be frugal with the resources of others and treat them as I would my own

And if you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? Luke 16:12 (ESV)

Paper clips, pens, photocopies, Internet access, long-distance phone calls, time around the water cooler, and a myriad of other "small" things are often a temptation for small acts of theft from our employers. They may just be little things that our supervisors may not even seem to care about, but habits of unfaithfulness in little things too often grow into larger and larger violations of privilege until we have set down a pattern of unfaithfulness and slothfulness in all of our work habits. The Message Bible says it this way: "If you're honest in small things, you'll be honest in big things; If you're a crook in small things, you'll be a crook in big things. If you're not honest in small jobs, who will put you in charge of the store?" (Luke 16:10-12 MSG).

Employees often feel unappreciated in their work and somehow subconsciously justify these little acts as entitlements they have because they are not making the money they feel they should, are not being treated with the respect they feel they deserve, or have been passed up for some advancement, project, or opportunity they feel they have earned. But the fact of the matter is that even little acts of theft are still theft. The employee who swipes office pens or spends time browsing the Internet for personal reasons on company time is no better than the little kid who shoplifts candy from the local grocery store. We think we get away with it if we are not caught, but all we do is solidify a pattern of unfaithfulness and cutting corners to get ahead rather than solidifying the work habits that will be a blessing to our lives.

Remember, when we are weak, then He is strong on our behalf.

Today I will:

  • seek God's wisdom and lean on His grace
  • pursue His will with all of my heart
  • extend God's love to those who are no worse than I would be without it

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven Matthew 5:3 (ESV)

Can we reconcile humility and confidence? Can we be both meek and ambitious at the same time? Is it possible to aggressively push our companies or enterprises forward while at the same time recognizing we are poor in spirit and greatly in need of our Savior's reminder that without Him we are lost?

The Bible tells us that Moses was the meekest man who ever walked the earth (Numbers 12:3 KJV), yet it was Moses who stood before almighty God and told Him He was wrong in threatening to violate His "contract" with the people of Israel. Imagine this confrontation for a moment. Not long before, God had offered the people of Israel the chance to know Him and come before Him on their own without Moses as mediator, but when they stood at the foot of the mountain before Him, they could say nothing but, "Moses, you go. We'll stay here. Just tell us whatever it is He tells you, and we'll do it." (See Deuteronomy 5:23-27.) Before that same awe-inspiring God, the meekest man on earth stood and pleaded for what was right.

Humility and meekness are not cowardice, but rather the ability to stand with conviction before God and say, "Lord, I am nothing without You"-an act which is perhaps the most ambitious and courageous we can ever aspire to. It is an act of true faith in God. There is never a more purpose-driven, confident, and ambitious person than the one who knows his or her place is fully depending and trusting in the Lord.

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