What does God say about the role of money in our modern-day lives? Does he want us to be rich? What about the love of money being the root of all evil? Jack Gibson talks with Pastor Mike Schoeplein about religion, faith, and wealth.
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Does God Want You To Be Rich? Featuring Special Guest Pastor Mike Schoeplein
For most of my life, if I did go, I went to church out of obligation. I would wake up on Sunday morning and either figure out a reason not to go or go so I could check it off the box. The message was never relevant to me, and I always left feeling about what I was doing wrong rather than empowered to become better. That is until about years ago when I met Pastor Mike Schoeplein. He’s highly sarcastic. He makes church fun.
Pastor Mike is my go-to source for wisdom and mentoring when facing difficult situations and trying to find my way. I wake up with inspiration on Sunday mornings and simply can’t wait to get to church. Now, this is not a plea for you to go to church, nor is it a religious show. However, for those of us that believe in a higher power, many of us call God than I could think of no better person to help us understand what God says about the role of money in our modern-day lives.
What does God say about creating wealth? Does he want us to be rich? What about the love of money being the root of all evil? For those struggling with the guilt or thought of becoming wealthy, Pastor Mike will help your perspective. As a former very successful entrepreneur in construction and real estate investing, buckle up. You are about to get the definitive word on money from the source of all money.
Welcome, everybody. Excited to have Pastor Mike join me. Pastor Mike, thanks so much for being on the show. I appreciate your time and your wisdom, and your expertise.
Great to be with you.
Let’s start. Tell us a little bit about yourself. What did you do before becoming a pastor, and what is your background in business? I know you were a successful entrepreneur. What led you to become a pastor? Give us the goods.
It depends on how far back you go as to how dirty it gets. I was in a secular college and raised a particular. I will call it religion. It wasn’t a relationship with the Lord, and it turned me off. I was in secular college doing my thing, the party thing and all that. In my second year in college, I came to an end in going that direction. There’s got to be more to life than that.
It caused a hunger inside of me, so I began to search. Through that course, I had an encounter with the Lord in my life. I’m not talking about some audible, just realizing, looking around at my friends, God opened my eyes. Some of them were professional college students. About every three years, they changed majors because as long as they were in college, their parents paid for everything. I had friends that were in college for twelve years.
I began to look and say, “There’s got to be more.” A soul-searching time and I came to a relationship with the Lord very different than the way I was raised. I was raised where I had a view of God. He was trying to shove me into a box. I was pretty wild. Probably extreme sports that a person raised in Huntington Beach. I was heavily into surfing, volleyball, and that stuff. I had a view of God that he was not into that stuff and was stiffer. I couldn’t fit into that box, and when I realized that I had the wrong image, it wasn’t an accurate image of who he was.
He was trying to get the stuff out of my life that was killing me, and that was the turnaround. I came into a relationship with the Lord and graduated college, then went off the Bible college. When I was getting ready to graduate from Bible college, my dad was an entrepreneur my whole life. I was raised in a home. Being in business was like walking. That’s just what you do.
What did your father do?
In Huntington Beach, where we lived. First, he owned six donut shops. I can spot a nasty donut from 100 yards. Jack, you would probably say they are all nasty.
I like a donut every now and then because I’m in health and nutrition.
I will have a donut and slam of shake. Through the course, my family moved to Texas, and my dad started contracting. He was a contractor there. I got married and went to Bible college. In my last year of Bible college, I knew the Lord wanted me to go to San Diego. That’s a good place for him. I want you to go.
You get called to one of the nicest climates in the most prosperous cities in America. That’s probably a good calling.
I went there and equally knew that he wanted me to start a business, and that’s what I did. I started a business contracting but I was always involved in ministry. I always had a heart for ministry but never wanted my children to grow up and say, “We had a hard time because my dad answered the call of ministry.” I always did ministry but my livelihood was paid for by the business side of things.
I had raised up a team that could run the business. I was actively involved in ministry but also business, so both. We have been involved with the ministry there for seventeen years, pioneered a church, and those types of things. I did contracting but branched off. I got into real estate, purchasing homes and rentals. In Southern California at that time, if you bought it at the right time, you could do very well.
I was going to say, did you catch it at the right time?
What year span was that?
I started buying in California in ‘85. There were some cycles in there. I call it the grace of God on my life to be able to direct me as to the right times to buy, so it did well. I buy stuff with oversized lots and build another house on them and different things like that. That’s the course of what we did, and we always had a heart for ministry. Through the course of events, I’m in Michigan now. California is a tough environment to bring up a family or kids in particular. Everything gets pumped out of Hollywood, and it’s a very tough environment.
We always had our kids in a private Christian school but when they started getting up into high school, crazy environment. I was grateful the Lord led us, and we had been here now in St. Joe for nearly twenty years as we have been pastoring here. I had a business there and sold that. I was back there, and the guy I sold it to is getting ready to sell it again. Sold that and various real estate holdings, liquidated all of that and relocated to Michigan. When we first moved here, we were like, “This place is cheap compared to California.”
What was real estate comparative like 80% off or 70% off California pricing or half more?
It depends. If you are on Lake Michigan, it is about half the price of being on the ocean in California. When you move away from that, you are probably talking 25%.
You can get a lot more land and in-house for your money.
I had somebody friends come, and they stayed. They are like, “Do you know how much a house like this costs in California?” I’m like, “That’s why I’m out of there.”
You did well in real estate, and it sounds like the Lord blessed you financially. The main reason that I wanted you to come on is my belief. What I see with a lot of people that I mentor and in a lot of books that I’ve read is that people almost can self-sabotage themselves in a way when they start to see some success and see some money coming in. Lots of reasons for that. A lot of that has to do with the beliefs that they were raised in that maybe having money was evil or that all rich people are evil.
A lot of the movies, in fact, some of the top ten-grossing movies of all time, have portrayed a rich evil villain. There’s this struggle for people to almost feel guilty too when they start doing well in business. What does God say about the role of money in our lives? Does he want us to be wealthy? Tell us about that.
When you talk about God’s desire for our life, number one, his desire is for us to be whole and healthy. Money doesn’t do anything other than reveal who we are. It reveals what we are on the inside. A guy can have a nickel, and you can tell. A guy can have $5 million, and you could tell. It’s what we are on the inside. The Bible is full of passages where God desires to bless us. He says that he wants to bless us so that we can be a blessing to somebody else. You can’t be a blessing to somebody else if you are always in need of a blessing. He talked about in Psalms 37, “I take pleasure in the prosperity of my servants.”Money doesn't do anything other than reveal who we are on the inside. Click To Tweet
In Deuteronomy 28, he talks about literally blessing every area of our life he desires. If you drill down, what you see is that God is into making us whole or healthy. He wants us to be healthy, and then he wants to bless our lives to a degree that our wealth doesn’t mess with our heads. It doesn’t mess with our hearts but we are whole, healthy people. He puts us out there in the world as a contrast to the world. Basically, the world says, “Wealth is what makes you happy,” but God says, “Excuse me, but wealth is the icing on the cake. It’s not the cake.”
If we allow God to bake the cake on the inside, there’s a passage in the Bible in 3rd John 2, and God said, “I desire above all things that you prosper and that you are in health, even as your soul prospers.” We could liken it to this because God wants to bless our life but he’s more interested that we are healthy if we are unhealthy where we are currently, as he pours out on our life. It will accentuate who we are on the inside. In our life, it reminds me of a story, Mike and my son. He’s a character.
He is the most trash-talking pastor I’ve ever met in my life.
That’s a good title.
In a great way.
When he was probably 3 or 4 years old, we lived about a quarter mile from the beach. He was into motorcycles. Run around and make the noises and all that stuff. One day, I was gone. We had a roll-open gate that went across our driveway, and he had managed to get outside the gate. Across the street was a neighbor that drove a 1,100 Cafe Ninja. He was up on it and was making the noises. His mom came out and found him.
I can picture it.
You and I would look at him, and we would, in our mind, say, “There’s no way he can handle that.” Now that he’s graduated to a Honda 50 Ruckus stuff. That’s what he rides now, a scooter. Sometimes in our lives, God loves us and deeply cares about us, and we say, “God, I’m ready for the 1,100 Ninja.” God was like, “Excuse me, but you are having a hard time on a trike now. If I let you ride that ninja or even this, you can push and sacrifice everything to get that ninja but it’s going to destroy you because you can’t handle it.”
When I was younger, in my twenties, in business, the Lord gave me the opportunity to meet some people to have clients like Janet Jackson and Junior Seau, people that had incredibly deep pockets. I had one client that was a billionaire. Mind you. This is in the ‘90s. Another client that was retired, 42 or 43, lived on the beach in La Joya. There was never going to be any lack but they were the most miserable people I had ever met.
I remember when you said that. We had lunch a few months back, and you said, “I have known billionaires and they are miserable.” It doesn’t make sense. That’s not most people’s view of people that have enormous amounts of wealth. How are they miserable? What happened? What went wrong?
If money and wealth do it, which God is for us but he doesn’t want to put us on the 1,100 Ninja. The Bible says that, “When we are faithful in the small things, he entrusts us with more.” God blesses us, and he watches how it affects our heads. How does it affect our hearts? How does it affect how we look at other people or treat other people? Am I a giver? Am I living in debt? I had clients that were writers. I liken them to gamblers.
They have a book that they sell a million copies of and get a paycheck that year of $5 or $10 million, and their next book is a bomb. They’ve created now a lifestyle of that $5 to $10 million a year. Before they had that book, they lived fine off of $50,000 or $100,000, whatever that was. The big thing in our life is that a relationship with the Lord is what causes us to be whole and healthy. We bring that wherever we go. What happens is that it accentuates who we are. It doesn’t make us.
If money makes people happy, then the happiest people in the world should be the people in Hollywood. If you look at Hollywood, they are the most miserable, drug addict, overdosed, and suicide. I don’t know if you have ever been down Sunset Strip and those places down there. They are miserable. You have to look at that and say, “Maybe, in my perspective of, wealth is what the problem is.” All of us have to define what wealth is or maybe the word prosperity. What does that look like to me? We have to put verbiage to it in our life and check ourselves to stop and say, “Are these my values kind of thing?”
The world is pumping us every day and saying that money will make you happy. No, it will accentuate who you are. That’s all it will do, and God loves us. He cares about us. He wants to bless every area of our life. What he wants us to do is to have an accurate grasp. Jack, I’m sure you’ve seen people that have money that think that it’s going to make them whole. What I have noticed is that they get more miserable if they are their values aren’t right, and the reason is that now they can afford to go buy the new Honda Jet.
Now they can afford to go buy the new Learjet. They can afford to get a place in Bali. They can afford to get all these things their whole life. They were told that when you have these things, those things will make you happy. Things don’t make us happy. We bring happiness to things. When I can bring happiness to things, all of the things accentuate who I am.
You talk about the unhealthy ways that money can affect people. Therefore, essentially, you are saying that people don’t have the capacity to be able to truly handle more that’s given to them, so God is looking out for them and saying, “I want to bless you. I want to make your life more abundant. If I give you this, then it’s going to lead to your own self-destruction, so I’m not. I’m not going to allow you to create this successful business or to create this massively successful investment, in turn, some of money hype parabolic.”
How do people grow in their capacity? I know it’s a process. It takes time. It’s not going to happen overnight but what’s that growth journey process look like to increase your capacity so that you can handle more and can do it in a way that you are going to be a blessing to yourself, your family, your community, and everybody around you?
The key is, am I healthy where I’m at?
Being grateful for what you have now in the present?
Only healthy now. If what’s on my plate, am I stressed out? Am I upset? Do I bark at everybody?
Am I jealous?
Am I healthy on the inside now? All it’s going to do is accentuate that. If you were to look and use the word jealous or greedy. Am I now a generous soul? Am I a joyful person? Am I a forgiving person? Am I healthy on the inside?
You don’t mean healthy physically? Do you mean healthy spiritually and emotionally?
In your heart is healthy.
My thinking, my beliefs, my reasoning, and all of these things. If I’m blaming everybody else for where I’m at, I’m not healthy. If I believe that I have been dealt an unfair hand, I’m not healthy. If I believe that the pie is only so big and that if somebody else gets a bigger slice, that’s part of my pie. Excuse me, God is the baker of lots of pies.
Can I celebrate with somebody else when they are blessed or am I jealous? Am I comparative? All of those types of things. I will even throw this out there now. How do I sleep at night? Do I have a good deep sleep or am I tossing and turning, anxious, worried, and all of that stuff now? When you talk about healthy and throw this out there but physically, yes, on the inside but equally, this thing’s got to last.
That’s your temple.
If you don’t take care of it, if you are living off bacon cheeseburgers and you look like a bacon cheeseburger, then you have to stop and say, “I’m not healthy.” It rolls back to the inside thing. This is a self-control issue where I have to stop. Maybe now, am I healthy where I can say no? I know when to say no and if you are married. We know we have been married.
Marriages are always growing, and you are facing challenges and all of those things but am I healthy there? If I’m not, then there’s a high likelihood that is, “I begin to experience a greater amount of wealth. I’m going to try to escape the things that I need to grow in exchange for what’s making me feel good.” We all know that chasing what makes you feel good is not necessarily what we need.Chasing what makes you feel good is not necessarily what you need. Click To Tweet
That’s not necessarily what’s best for us in our long-term and sustainable financial and life journey. What are some of the financial traps that you see people fall into? How can they potentially avoid some of the decisions that you see where you are scratching your head like, “Why did you do that?” I’m sure that you give advice and people don’t take it all the time. Is it everything you say, they immediately walk out the door of the church and say, “I’m all in. I’m doing it,” and they implement it?
When you talk about finances, it’s important to know yourself well. Everybody’s wound differently in the way that they are. I’m going to give you a great example. Some people are wounded emotionally and impulsive. If they are assessing a financial situation, they can tend to get emotional and impulsive, and it clouds them from making a good choice. To me, that is having people in your life. I got a couple of pastor buddies of mine, and we are all self-aware. It’s good to be self-aware. It’s hard to find people that are self-aware. Most people are not self-aware.
You can make fun of yourself.
It’s awesome. It’s the ability to stop and to know yourself and equally to look. We set up. I will call it guardrails in our life where we look, and we know ourselves. We are like, “I have this propensity.” If you are married, it’s good to have a discussion with your wife where maybe you like to invest in various things and do various things where you have your wife, and it’s like, “Babe, let me talk to you but my creative juices in the way that I’m wound. I like to do things, and so I’m not going to risk our family but I would like to have an X amount of dollars here to invest in.”
“You are giving me permission to go play high-stakes poker with my buddies because I’m doing it responsibly with only a small percentage of our overall pie.” This is great.
Equally, I’m giving you permission to buy crack.
He went there, folks.
I didn’t say poker. I said in investment.
For me, that is an investment because I typically win about 70%.
It’s an investment in that earlier thing that I said about knowing yourself and knowing if you are given to impulsive, all of those types of things.
I agree with that. Whatever you are going to do, you have to be able to know and put checks and balances on yourself.
When I was younger, I was way more impulsive. We can talk ourselves into anything. I’m a pastor but I can manipulate the voice of God in my own life and in reason myself long enough to do what I want to do. When it collapses, and there’s a scripture in Proverbs it says, “The foolishness of man subverts his way and ruins his affairs and that his heart is resentful and blames the Lord.” How many times have you seen people that were like, “That wasn’t God. That was your dumb head?”
“You just made a stupid decision. That had nothing to do with that one.”
“Don’t be blaming him.” In our lives, when you talk about God, it’s important, an accurate perception. You mentioned earlier evil money. In the intro, you talked about evil and a perspective on that. When people say things, they quote or misquote scriptures like when the apostle Paul wrote Timothy, who was the pastor of the church. He said, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” He didn’t say money. He said an unhealthy relationship with the material realm.
That gets construed. That gets twisted and turned into money’s the root of all evil. They leave off the part, the love of money is the root of all evil.
A lot of this, sometimes if you study church history, what has happened is there’s a difference between, I’m going to call it religion in a relationship with the Lord. Religion comes up with rules and regulations and various things that are not biblical but that sounds good. The whole thing, you mentioned evil money or those types of things, is that if you go back in history, what you will find out is that there are certain religious groups that poverty is deified.
Poverty is when you are poor, you are pleasing to God. There’s even. It’s called the Franciscan Order. They take a vow of poverty. It’s almost like if you are poor, you please God. There’s no scriptural base for that. If you go back to the root of it, back into the dark ages, there’s a pagan religion root system. That’s why a lot of times earlier on, the Jews had such a hard time with some of the Christian teachings because they would say, “We serve the God of Abraham who said that he would bless us going in, coming out. Whatever we put our hand to, he would closet it to prosper. He would bless our fields, our herds, and our families.”
They had a belief that God was a good God. You look at him, and you read about him in the Bible. He shows up, and I will put it on my terms. He’s like, “I got a lot better way to live. My way is I want to bless you. As a matter of fact, I want to bless you so much that it provokes the world around you to jealousy.” Where they look, and they are like, “You’ve got it but you are not funky. You are not weird. You are not looking down on people. You are a giver. You are healthy. You are all of those things.”
The world looks at that and says, “That is a different model than our system. You are not only blessed financially but you are blessed relationally. Your soul is healthy. Your family is healthy. Your marriage is healthy. Your body is healthy. You have a high level of peace. You don’t carry all of those types of things.” They look and are like, “What is it about you?” As I said, the prosperity or the material side of it is the icing on the cake.
We got to dive into my all-time favorite message. The one that you and Pastor Jill did together was where you talked about the top two needs of men and women because I believe that relates to wealth and the topic that we are on. Can you tell us a little more about this subject? What are you doing on this sermon again? It has been a few years, and it was your best ever, in my humble opinion.
What was it? Say that again.
Men want respect, and that’s their top. Women want to be loved, that one.
Love and respect. If you study the New Testament, what you find is that whenever God talks, speaking in the context of men, the number one need of a man is respect. It’s a number one need. If a man feels respected, then his tank is full. The number one need of a woman is to feel loved. Whenever you read the Epistles, which are the instruction to the church in the New Testament, and God is speaking to men.
He’s always talking to women about respecting them. He even does it in a manner. He brings up, and a lot of times, when you bring it up with either men or women, both sides, is that when a woman feels loved, it’s much easier for her to respect. When a man feels respected as much easier. There’s a term where it’s almost like two oxygen hoses.
The oxygen that men breathe is respect. As long as communication is in that respectful vein, the oxygen is flowing to their space suit. To a woman, it’s the same but when there isn’t respect or there isn’t love, then it’s like they are stepping on the oxygen hose. They are saying, “Why are you flipping and freaking out?” It’s because I can’t get any air. That’s the way that God created us. Sometimes, when you talk about marriage, I have been married for 37 years.
There’s this misnomer about marriage. It’s that if you have to work on your marriage, then there’s something wrong with it. When you read the Bible, what you see is that if you need to work on your marriage and then there’s something right with it because every great marriage is a consistent application of applying ourselves. I find this, both sides. Jack, I don’t know about how you are but my feelings side, I need help. I want to feel but it’s like, “Where did you get all that stuff?” She feels for everybody and everything and all that stuff.
It’s the nurture inside of the female.
I’m like, “You got to help me because I want to be.” She rewires me on that side but then equally on the logical maybe on all of that side. I rewire her. We are always under this constant rewiring of each other to make a more whole person.
Most women, if they are reading, would argue that a man’s top need is not respect. It’s something else.
I’m talking psychological, Jack. It’s sex.
Yes, men want sex but that’s number two. That’s right behind respect.
They are tied. One of them is physical, and one of them is psychological.
They are both up there.
One of them is for your inside and the other’s outside.
Women, their two are, they want to be loved and heard. They want to be able to talk and have their partner listen to them.
Keyword, partner. There’s a partnership. The key word is compassion and sympathy here.
If you look at it from a financial perspective for men, this huge almost unsatiable desire for respect, not only from our wives and significant others but also from other people, other men. When entrepreneurs or anybody in general, start to get ahold of some money, men will go out and buy fast, expensive cars because that is their way of being respected. That, “I’ve arrived. Here you go. I can show it to you.”
Whereas, “I can’t show you my bank account, realistically.” Not socially approved to say, “On social media, here’s my bank statement,” but it’s socially acceptable to go out and get a super exotic expensive car and show that off. Women go out and buy purses, shoes, and designer clothing. Maybe that’s their way of trying to get love too. What are your thoughts on how we spend money? Does that tie into those?
When you talk about respect, there are healthy respect and unhealthy respect. In an unhealthy respect is trying to get from somebody or something that only God can do. That is significance, purpose, and well-being. If I don’t feel significant about myself and I feel like I have a purpose and there’s a sense of well-being, even maybe the word, “I’m whole. I’m healthy,” what’s going to happen is my inside is going to try to get that from somebody through a vehicle that is an imitation. It’s not real. Can I share a story?There's healthy respect, and there's unhealthy respect. Unhealthy respect tries to get from somebody something that only God can do, and that is significance, purpose, or well-being. Click To Tweet
Of course, that’s why you are on.
This is another client of mine that I had in California. They were gazillion, uber-wealthy, 42 or 44 retired. They had sacrificed everything to get what the world said would make them look successful, would make them be whole, where everybody would sit back and say, “You’ve got it. You’ve arrived.” They got it at a young age but they sacrificed their family to get it.
Now that they had it, they had arrived at a place where they pretty much realized, “I have been lied to. I’m not whole. As a matter of fact, I’m miserable because now, I can buy everything that everybody said is going to get me respect and going to make me feel good. The more that I buy, the emptier I feel.” Solomon in Ecclesiastes talked about this. He said he was the richest man to ever live on Earth. He was so wealthy that they ran out of room for silver.
They dumped it behind his house. He said that he withheld nothing from his eyes, anything he wanted. He talked about forests and parks. It took over 100,000 men and 10 years to build his house. He withheld nothing from his eyes. He came to the end of his life and said this, “Everything is vanity. It’s all a vapor. It’s all a mist. I’ve come to realize this. The only one that brings purpose is having a reverence for God.”
This individual that I’m telling you about was Jewish. He was very wealthy. He’s 42 or 44. He sacrificed everything. His wife and one daughter. Now he realized it but he’s living in a world that wants to use him. What happened is that everything he had sacrificed to get, he realized that he had a bad trade-off. He was trying to go back and fix what he had lost. What was sad is that in the material world that we live in, they were using him. His daughter wants nothing to do with him but she wants his Ferrari for the weekend.
He only talks to him when she wants something.
“I want this new thing, and I want this.” He’s like, “Here, here.” He’s thinking that it’s going to cause her to want a relationship, and she’s using him. I watched him. His first name was Jerry. He came to the realization that he was cursed because now he wanted meaningful relationships. How do you find somebody that is unaffected by the material world when you go on and pick him up in your convertible Bentley to go on a date?
Their mind is like, “I’m in love with you.” Anna Nicole didn’t marry for love. I would laugh because he would bring these girls to his house for breakfast and pull out a box of great nuts and milk and sit down at the table. He’s trying to figure out, “Are you just chasing me for my stuff?” I felt so bad for him because he was empty. I don’t know how it went there.
It’s a great story. The last subject we’re going to close out with is in terms of finances, and God is charitable giving, blessing others, and tithing. I remembered a few years ago, and I was new to your church. Maybe a couple of years in. There was this Sunday when I had not yet put my charitable, giving, my tithing on autopilot. Where it was a monthly automatic. I was giving generously but not every month, and it wasn’t the first time.
I remember we were saving up to be able to upgrade our home. We wanted a new home. I got on my checkbook, and I’m like, “Be obedient. Stay the course. Give, and you will figure this out. You will figure out how to get your dream home.” I thought if I gave and tied, I was going to be putting this off even longer, then we won’t ever arrive and get our dream home.
I wrote the check. It was pretty big. I put it in the offer, and my hand was shaking. Now we don’t have the offer and go around anymore because of COVID. It’s all virtual giving. I put it into the bucket and said, “I’m letting it reap.” That day, I was on the computer and never looked for houses. My wife is always the one that was looking for houses. I was on it for like ten minutes and saw the house that we are in now. I saw it.
This had been on our dream list for a couple of years. I said, “If this house ever goes on the market, we are getting it.” It was on, and I caught it in time. We got our offer a day before somebody else. I always think, “I was doing the right thing by staying the course, keeping my tithing and playing, and I got blessed.” That’s my general theory but what does God say about his whole subject? I know you’ve got a huge amount of wisdom when it comes to this.
I will give my two cents. Money is a reflection of my heart. In the Bible, Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, he can tell where your heart is.”
Where you spend your money shows what’s in your heart.
It reveals what’s a priority team.
We could look at your bank account and all your credit card statements, and we will find out what you value.
If you are into horses, then horses show up or finances. If you are into fishing, that fishing shows up. That’s where your heart is. It’s not a legalistic issue. It’s a hard issue. To reel it all the way back to when we first started, it’s an inside thing. If I’m not healthy on the inside and the inside is, “God, you are first in my life. You are first.”
He said the quickest way he can tell if he’s first is by what we do with our money because it’s connected to our hearts. If I say, “I love God but I don’t honor him with my tithe.” The word tithe doesn’t mean 10%. It means the first temp. Sometimes people use the term tithe, which means 10% but if you look at it means the first temp. Usually, whatever you do with the first of your pay reveals your priorities.
The very first thing that you do like even with us. The Bible says that it’s not a legalistic thing. It’s a freeing thing because this world’s systems take on the material realm and destroy people. It destroys them. Recognizing God as my provider and putting him first there cuts the tenacles and the talents of this world system that tries to drive me and tell me.
It basically says, “My allegiance is here, and this is what I believe.” We’ve always, me and my wife, you say, “You are a pastor.” Even before I was a pastor, it’s something we got hold of. In my family, my dad had a curse of poverty in his life. What I mean by that is that a curse of poverty is not lacking but what it is. It’s a mindset of hang on. “Hang on to everything. You never know. Hang on.” He never was free.
I looked at that and thought, “I don’t want to live like that. I don’t want to be like that,” but it was a personal choice. I said, “God, you are first in my life.” When you read the Bible and the big thing is that God takes faithfulness. You can tell when somebody is faithful. When somebody is consistent and faithful and says, “Lord, you are first, whether I feel like it or not, you are first.” That is a reflection of their character, which is a reflection of their inside.
That is blessable. I know a lot of people in our church that have got hold of that principle. I’m thinking of two people in particular who God is beyond their wildest dreams. They basically said to me, “If you ever want us to talk to somebody about our journey and what God did when we began to put him first in our finances, we will talk with him.” That was a revelation moment for them. It’s not the givers in their life. They love to give but God is poured out. We got to get rid of the stingy mentality that God is stingy. He’s not stingy. You read the Bible and say, “His streets are paved with gold.” That is not stingy.
Ever since we started tithing, it’s mind-boggling how we have been blessed. Our income is tripled. Our net worth is probably up twenty times and that’s despite buying a much bigger house and buying a Tesla that auto drives. That’s with some stupid financial decisions that I’ve made that you and I have talked about. God got me through all that, and he continues. It’s incredible. I can testify to what happens when you stay the course.
For me, the best thing that’s kept me on track is simply automating it. You and I talked about this at lunch. I was inconsistent. I get a month and miss a month or two, and then I would do another month. I wanted to be where it was automatic every month, so I set it up with the online app and automate it every single month, same date, same amount, and it comes out. That has been incredible. I recommend that to all my readers. Pastor Mike, thank you so much. I appreciate all your wisdom. Our readers appreciate your wisdom. How can they follow you or where would they go if they want to hear more of your message?
Do you livestream all your services?
Every weekend’s livestream. There are archives there.
You have a podcast, and you livestream.
No, I don’t have a podcast.
I don’t know if you know but your team puts your message on a podcast. I listen to them at the gym.
There you go. It’s huge. I don’t know where your readers are at but it would be to get plugged into a Bible-believing, God-honoring church that respects the leaders and gets plugged in. The Bible talks about being planted in the house of the Lord. He said that, “We would bring forth fruit in the right season.” I would super strongly encourage it. It’s the difference between dating and getting married. It’s like, “I got a girlfriend.” You know nothing about commitment. There are podcasts, livestream, Sunday morning services, and anything we can do to help.
Thank you so much, Pastor Mike. I appreciate you. Again, thank you, folks, for tuning in and reading. I will see you on the next episode of Indestructible Wealth. Have a great day.
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