Hello again. I hope you’ve enjoyed the previous articles around personal finance, money management, and how to weave Christian values and the desire for a successful financial life together to create a structured, calm, defined strategy to enjoy, protect, grow and pass on the personal assets you create.
Throughout the year, we’ve talked about how to prioritize financial decisions. We’ve looked at different money styles people exhibit and some of the challenges and opportunities those styles create. We have spent time learning to LOVE our relationship with money and embrace our finances as a gift given that deserves our time and attention. We’ve spent time talking about how to simplify finances until our focus is clear and unique. Recently, we’ve talked about how banishing much of the chaos the holidays invoke can help us focus on the gifts we already have instead where we might buy them. So now that we’ve cleared some of the obstacles, we are going to talk about a very special gift – abundance. Abundance is the tool set that enables the creation of wealth.
Building wealth is an odd concept. Most, because wealth is defined individually. Many different forms and definitions of wealth exist. I would be willing to bet most of us, at some point, have purchased a lottery ticket and immediately sent up a silent prayer asking to win the prize. When the jackpot is in the billions of dollars, it’s hard to resist at least considering how such a windfall could change lives. We are human and often have more hope than pragmatism. That doesn’t make us bad or evil. But it does tell us something about our respective relationships with money and Christianity.
Sure, it would be great to have inexhaustible finances. At least, from our humble perspective, loads of money seems like a pretty cool idea. So when given a clear line of sight to achieving that (even if the odds are astronomically not in our favor) we take it . . . and pray. However, the Bible does not promise financial wealth. What it does promise is answers to prayers. Those come with abundance. This is very different, but so much more valuable.
Abundance – Here is the definition from the online edition of Merriam Webster’s American English dictionary.
abun·dance ə-ˈbən-dən(t)s.: adj. an ample quantity: an abundant amount: profusion. a city that has an abundance of fine restaurants.: affluence, wealth. a life of abundance.
To live a life of abundance seems as though we are intended to encounter bliss.
Such an emotion-packed, promising adjective. Necessarily, abundance describes a lack of something else – scarcity. We easily and fully believe that abundance relates to positive feelings, a sense of belonging, the availability of opportunity and resources, or a positive circumstance. Abundant love, Abundant gifts, an abundant life . . . such a hopeful adjective.
God talks a lot about abundance. Far more than He talks about wealth. In fact, within many of the stories in Christian lore, abundance is found most in times of scarcity. The two are interdependent. It’s hard to believe both that God will provide (abundance), and simultaneously that he may not (scarcity). Scarcity is easier and gets far more news attention.
In and along our journey to understand and commit to our Christian faith, God promises to give the means to create wealth and does so by creating abundance. It’s up to us to recognize abundance when it shows up in our lives then determine how to use abundance to create the opportunities that offer wealth. Abundance is God’s reaction to scarcity. The Bible begins with the abundance of Eden in the scarcity of the stars. When we need something, God does provide- with abundance. The trick is figuring out how scarcity (praying for what you need) is connected to abundance (God’s answer to your prayer) and how you use the abundance of a feeling, an emotion, a group of people, a talent, a family, time, a perspective, a place you travel to, or whatever you’ve been gifted that now exists in abundance in your life to realize the wealth you want and deserve.
For example, my gifts are empathy, patience, pragmatism, an indefatigable curiosity, and a child with special needs. Together, these provide all the tools necessary for me to do the work that creates my income. My work is an endeavor to help others who might be struggling to understand how their finances and their lives merge to support each other. I work on behalf of those who cannot to help themselves. I teach families learn how to avoid financial surprises. I help families understand how to save and make plans relevant to their lives and their sources of abundance. The work I do now was exactly never in my plans for my future and not once was on my list of career goals as I embarked on my adult life and career path. However, creating wealth always was. Life wasn’t always comfortable. There were days, months, and even years of extreme scarcity praying for money I believed would solve my immediate problems. My prayers were never answered with one-hundred-dollar bills falling from the heavens like manna (even though that is what I envisioned). They were answered with abundance. A sweet child with an abundant circumstance. A temperament with abundant capability, abundant compassion, and time abundant to employ all of it for the aid of others. Eventually, through scarcity came wealth.
In short, abundance IS the gift which creates the opportunity to focus on what IS instead of what is lacking. As abundance relates to hope, success, and comfort. In personal finance, the concept is the same. Most never achieve inexhaustible financial wealth. If we did, more of us would stop working to earn more. However, when we stop focusing on all we lack, which compels us to spend beyond our means or capacity to buy what’s lacking, we find abundance somewhere. Somehow, the money follows. As you prepare to face another New Year, think about what conditions or items are abundant in your life?
How can you employ abundance to create the wealth you seek?
Hold on the abundance you have by spending below your means.
Stop spending based on fear and scarcity-planning.
An abundant 2023 is ahead. Happy New Year!