Category Archives: Money

Give All You Can

What will you do once you achieve your financial dreams?

This is what Jesus has to say to a rich man, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”  (Matthew 19:21)

If you worked all your life to be wealthy, this doesn’t sound right.  I mean, give away all that you worked for to be complete?

The bible says we have to give everything to be complete but the world today teaches the opposite. So, if you have great possessions, are you doomed to be incomplete?

Okay, before giving away all you have, let us examine what rich people have when Jesus spoke these words about 2000 years ago. They have lands, farms, livestock, crops, herds, servants and gold.

Today, rich people have lands, farms, livestock, crops, herds, butlers and maids, and hedge funds plus mansions, exotic cars, luxury yacht, private jet, private island and so on.

An average person today would own a house, a car, a smartphone, a computer and a wifi for posting pictures in Facebook.

Question: Are you willing to give up all these things to be complete?

Using my limited wisdom, I don’t think God wants us to literally sell all our possessions to be complete.  Depending on your vocation in life, this will determine your interpretation on the meaning of this verse.  A Benedictine monk can literally follow this teaching without any difficulty but for a family man, this is difficult to discern.

As a family man myself, my primary vocation is to be a good provider for my family.  I also have big dreams in life and one of them is to empower the next generation and leave a good legacy behind.  To be able to do this, I need resources and one of them are my possessions.

If you ask me, when your possessions are the reason why you could not follow God, that’s the time when you can never be complete.  If you are too attached to your material things, your possessions, you won’t have treasures in heaven.

For me, I chose to gain all I can, I choose to save all I can so I can give as much as I can.  If I keep all my possession for myself, I’m just building a wall that will eventually prevent me to see what is most important in my life.  Every time I give, a brick is removed from that wall and I begin to see the true beauty of life. I believe this is God’s purpose for me.

When you give, expect nothing in return.  Give with your whole heart and give cheerfully!

You give because you know it is the right thing to do.

Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

What inspires me to give all I can to God is found in the book of Malachi.  In this book, God challenged the Israelites (all of us) to test Him. It says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,” says the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:10-11)

By tithing, God opens the windows of heaven for us!  And there’s more — it guarantees the protection and preservation of what we are building here in earth!

“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure – pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” (Luke 6:38)

There you go!

Don’t worry how much you will give, because the more you give, the more you will receive.

Earlier in my life, I was not a very generous person. I say this because true generosity is completely selfless.  I thought I am better off spending my money for myself rather than sharing it.  I was so attached with money.

True giving comes with no strings attached.  You focus on the needs of others while leaving your own desires behind.

Giving is not only about sharing your possessions. You can also share your time and talents.

In my case, I use my time and talent by blessing others through my blogs (considering it’s my birthday – Oct 22, I should be having a good time but instead I’m writing for you).  For more than 6 years, I’m very blessed to say that it has been a source of inspiration for many people around the world.

When you find fulfillment in giving using your time, talent and resources, your world will never be the same again.

A lot of people are terrified to give because giving requires you to take away something from yourself.  But you know what, I wish I could share something about the benefits of hoarding your wealth but I still have to find a person who have self-worth by being selfish.  Greedy people may have net worth but zero self-worth. They will never have contentment.

“But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.  For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.  Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.”  (1 Timothy 6:6-7, 17-19)

Give all you can for God and everything will be added unto you!

“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33)

May God open the windows of heaven and pour out His abundant blessings into your life until it overflows.

God is the greatest!

Save All You Can (Part 1)

In the book, the Richest Man in Babylon, it says – “pay yourself first.”

It interest me why the author used the word “pay” instead of using the word “save.” I guess by using the word “pay,” there is an obligation attached to it.

Saving is a huge challenge especially these days. In our world of consumerism, immediate gratification is more popular than deferred gratification simply because the second one requires immediate sacrifice.

Some of you may ask; how can I save if I have nothing to save?

It’s sad when Filipino’s abroad have this mindset. Isn’t it the very reason you are working abroad or living abroad (like myself) is for us to have a better life? In my experience, if you are less than 3 to 4 years living abroad, paying yourself first can be a challenge because of many obligations. After 4 years, most of your obligations should already be settled and, you should be able to save. I understand the continuous need of helping others but who’s going to help you when you grow old?

No matter how rewarding immediate gratification is, everyone must be aware that people live longer nowadays. If you do not have enough resources when you reach your age of 70, enjoyment can stop at that age. Would you want that to happen to you?

To avoid this from happening, you need to sacrifice temporarily for deferred gratification.

There are two ways to do this. The first is paying yourself first financially. The second is investing time, talent and treasure to grow your spirituality.

To save all you can, I personally follow this simple rule – Love God, love your neighbor as yourself.

First, let’s talk about loving yourself.

Part of loving yourself is thinking about what future brings you. What do you want your future to be? Do you want to live a fulfilled life, a normal life, or a mediocre life?

People who live a fulfilled life are those who give a lot and share a lot to prosper their own life and lives of others. These people are the ones who end up living a longer life and a life of abundance. Why is this?

Shouldn’t one be losing more because you give more?

The scripture says the more you give the more you will receive. Luke 6:38 says, “Give and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure – pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” I will talk more about this on my next blog.

Part of loving yourself is making sure that you are financially secured especially when you’re old and with no more sources of income. One way of making sure this happens, force yourself to pay yourself first.

When you pay yourself first, you multiply your power to do more in life. Let me show you the numbers.

In the scriptures, Joseph told the Pharaoh of Egypt to prepare for the seven years of famine by saving 20 percent (a fifth of the produce of the land – Genesis 41:34) of their harvest.

What this means is, force yourself to pay yourself 20% percent of your income before paying for anything. Anything means, paying your mortgage, paying your car, paying your credit card, and so on.

The conventional advice is to aim to save 10 percent. Why 10 percent? This is how much Abraham gave to Melchizedek, king of Salem, after blessing him for his victories (see Genesis 14:20c).

Let’s say you are 40 years old and you earn $1,000 each month. If you start saving 10 percent of your income each month, which is $100, by the time you reach 65, your total savings will be $30,000, assuming that you hid your money under your bed and no termite ate it.

What if you place your money is in a bank that gives you a hefty 3 percent interest compounding? The estimated growth of your savings becomes $45,000. It makes a huge difference by placing your money in the bank. But still, the end result of saving 10 percent is none too exciting.

Let’s use the same factors but this time we use the scriptural version of saving 20 percent. By the time you are 65 years old, your money in the bank will have an estimated growth of around $90,000. Saving 20 percent opens up opportunities to do more fun things. At 30 percent, it becomes really exciting.

It is not three times as hard to save 30 percent, as it is to save 10 percent. In some cases, it’s easier. Why? Saving 30 percent is more rewarding. If you are a person who loves to reward yourself, saving more is doing more. But if you want to have that cash flow without hurting your savings, 10 percent is enough. Let me show you how.

Again, using the same factors of saving 10 percent of your income but this time you invested your money earning a consistent 8 percent per year compounding interest. By the time you reach age 65, the total estimate of your money will be… roll the drums please… $95,000 (not bad). This is more than saving 20 percent.

Nowadays, an investment portfolio with an 8 or even 12 percent returns is plausible. However, you may have some sleepless nights because of the risk involved but it is doable.

Just a word of caution especially when seeking for high returns – do your due diligence. Invest based on your beliefs and ask for guidance from qualified professionals. Many scammers will be out there to offer you consistent profits through very attractive rates. If you are one of the many individuals who are trying to catch up your savings for your retirement, you can easily be tempted to do something that may result in regretting it for the rest of your life.

Remember, whatever you save today is for your future. Do not risk it.

Please note that the example I just gave you uses constant returns and it does not consider market fluctuations.

At this point, I would like to end the first part of my blog. I did not write about loving God and loving your neighbor yet because I want you to read the boring part first. The great stuff is saved for last and I want to keep it suspense until next week!

God is the greatest!

Gain All You Can

Have you ever wondered why people nowadays are so inclined on getting rich as fast as they can?

Competition is intense especially when you live abroad. I’ve heard the same is true with our fellow Filipinos working overseas.

There is nothing wrong in being competitive.  But when we take shortcuts to get rich quick, most of the time, whatever we gain doesn’t last.  What comes easily doesn’t last long and what lasts long doesn’t come easily.

I have seen people taking shortcuts to get rich quick. They either end up hurting others, their love ones, and most especially themselves.  They end up worst from where they started.  Why does this happen?

Is it wrong to gain all you can as fast as you can?

There is nothing wrong in trying to get rich.  What makes you truly rich is how you answer these two questions; how you got there and how you are using it?

For example, we all know about the corrupt politicians in the Philippines.  It’s sad but, when you see these politicians owning huge mansions and nice cars, one cannot help but think they are corrupt.

How did they get there?  Did they acquire riches through honest work and service?

How are they using it?  Did they use their money to fund their lavish lifestyle while they do nothing for the country?

What are you truly gaining?

Gaining all you can is not only about money.  Truly gaining means winning in all aspects of your life.

This verse has been the foundation of everything I do; “But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”  (Matthew 6:33-34)

The message of Jesus is very clear.  To truly gain in life, “Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness.”

When you do this, “all these things will be given to you.”

If you strive for the glory of God, he will give you the strength you need to accomplish everything. You will be able to do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens us.

“Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11)

Again, gaining all you can is not only about money.  Money is just the result of your true honest work but it should not be your reason.  Do not love money because money will never satisfy your deepest needs.  The love of money can get your priorities out of line. Remember, you already have everything you need.  “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1)

Can you strive for the kingdom of God and His righteousness if you have been dishonest in the past?

If this question looks like a stumbling block to you, you are not alone.  I’ve been there done that.  The great thing about the mercy and love of God is – it’s never too late to change.  God’s love does not show partiality.

If you are worried about the dishonest money you accumulated from the past, it’s not too late to use your riches appropriately by giving back, sharing more and giving more.

What causes us to accumulate more in life?  Is it because – “Feasts are made for laughter; wine gladdens life, and money meets every need.” (Ecclesiastes 10:19)

We all know that money is essential in our lives.  Money enables us to do many things in life especially if we have lots of it.  Having material things are not bad. But accumulating material possessions and being attached to them is toxic. Release your attachments so God can fill you more!

Just imagine what your life could be when you set your mind to accumulating treasures in heaven?

Let us read the parable of the rich man.

“As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.'”  He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.” (Mark 10:17-22)

The rich man left sad not because he have many possessions. He left sad because he could not let go of his possessions.  He missed the opportunity of gaining all he can because he chooses not to go all-out for the kingdom of God.

So let us do what we are purposed to do.  Love and enjoy what we are doing because I believe this is how God wants us to be – always loving and enjoying the life He gave us.

In my life, my wife and I dream of an early retirement and spend our remaining healthy active days working for our Lord God globally.  It’s almost 22 years ago since we started serving in a community as a couple and we have no plans of stopping what we have started – to value the opportunity given to us and doing whatever it takes to gain all we can for the glory of God.

God is the greatest!