t is with great delight that I welcome you to the month of August 2019, our month of Understanding Money Matters. Those who study numbers say the Number 8 stands for New Beginnings. New beginning means starting afresh or anew. It means going back to the basics. So this month I will like us to look afresh into money matters. Talking about money Solomon acclaimed to be biblically one of the wisest men on earth prayed - "Give me money enough so that I will not steal, don't give me too much so that I will not be proud". What Solomon is saying is give me understanding with regards to money so that I can live a balanced life. Money matters is beyond praying even though prayer is a critical component. We shall ask questions: Is money evil, is money needed, when do we have enough money, when are we short of money, how do we make money, how do we spend money? As a Pastor I find myself asking people to give so, our focus this month will be to learn some key principles on money making matters.
The Controversy. The issue of money is very controversial for many reasons. For instance, those who spend their life in pursuit of money are labeled money mongers. Those who spend their life preaching about money are labeled prosperity preachers. Those who don't talk about money are labeled foolish. Those who are poor are grumbling and wondering why me? Those who are rich don't know how to allocate their wealth. Many churches teach erroneously on how you can expect the miracle of prosperity without giving the people the right information to facilitate such.
What the bible says about money. Let's look at a few scriptures.
- "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus". Phil 4:19
- "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,' says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." Mal 3:10
- "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." 1 Tim 6:10.
- "In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" Acts 20:35
- "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender." Prov 22:7
Some Quotations about Money.
- "It's good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it's good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven't lost the things that money can't buy." -George Lorimer
- "Money is usually attracted, not pursued." -Jim Rohn
- "Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver." -Ayn Rand
- "It's not how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard it works for you, and how many generations you keep it for." -Robert Kiyosaki
- "I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but should get you pretty near." --Margaret Thatcher.
- Money is just a fluid- passes through hands- Amos Dada
The Way forward
- The teachings by pastors have to change. We have to teach people about hard work. There is nowhere in the bible where God answered prayers by making people receive already made physical cash. God's plan is for us to till the ground and make a living, do things that could be exchanged for money. In the wilderness when it was illogical for Israelites to till the ground God provided manna for them, bear in mind that he planned the journey for 40 days; he had to sustain them when it was elongated to 40 years but the moment they got to the promised land, "Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year." Joshua 5:12
- The Mentality of church members have to change. I am a pastor and I believe God helps us in life journeys, but I am not naïve to say that prayer alone will make you rich or wealthy. The mantra of 'sowing and reaping' should not be limited to giving physical money in church, praying over it and expecting prosperity. The likes of Bill Gate, Mark Zuckerberg who are rich did not pray about money they met the need of human being and money flowed to their bank accounts. You will not be rich just by praying or making monetary donations y in church.
How do we make money? (How do we make a living and get our basic needs)
1 Till the ground. Money making is important, good and necessary. From the beginning, money was never created by God. Money and the monetary system is human creation albeit very useful. But the plan of God for man was to engage man in food production to enable him have energy for existence in addition to the other basic necessities of life, clothing and shelter. " Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden (housing) of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree (food) of the garden you may freely eat;"18 And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." Gen 2:15-16, 18. Fast forward to Chapter three of Genesis where he made superior clothing of skin as opposed to the leaves. The question is how come we are now so money driven rather than food driven? Since food, not money is the basic necessity. God intends that if you will just till (cultivate) the ground you will have food. The human society diversified into division of labour where some people -farmers, are now primarily in production of food while others are producing other things that the farmer needs. I believe therefore that whatever business we are engaged in for money can be classified as tilling the ground.
- Find a way to create wealth. "But you shall remember [with profound respect] the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore (solemnly promised) to your fathers, as it is this day." Deut 8:18. The process of making wealth (tilling the ground as mentioned above) may be classified into two broad levels. First: Get education. Go to school- elementary, high school, university or vocational school - everyone does not have to go to university-but you must learn a trade- fashion design, movies carpentry, masonry or handiwork. Second: Start to work. At a point you can combine work and school. You can start by getting employed. It could be in a one-man business or multinational corporation or public service. The third level is become a business owner, whether sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation. The fourth level is invest money in stocks, mutual funds, treasury bills ,etc any process that makes money work for you by bringing royalties.
Permit me to share my life experience in modesty on how God has helped me to combine the 4 points above.
Principles of creating the wealth. What are the biblical ways to wealth?
1. Hard work. Getting a business idea and starting the business or securing an employment alone cannot make you live well or be rich. You must engage the principle of hard work. You might think this is cliché and obvious, but the Bible clearly spells out in Proverbs 14:23 "Work brings profit but mere talk leads to poverty"! Chapter 28 of the same book says that "He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows frivolity will have poverty enough." These passages clearly suggest that earning money should come from hard work. Still, a lot of people lack tenacity or the ability to stick to what they're doing, and they'd rather follow vain people's advice or quit altogether!
Personal Experience. It took me time to get my bearing in life. After my high school education, I wanted to be a taxi driver not to make money but to be hailed, how naïve? My first job was as a Laboratory Assistant. I did not get my bearing in life until I got a late entrance to Federal School of Science (FSS) Victoria Island in 1975.
I failed first exam I took in Math. The Christmas break of that year was spent indoors studying Additional Mathematics books that changed my grades. In those days, I needed to leave home around 5am get to school by 9am, return from 6pm-11pm. I would stand in the LSTC bus and read "Hardly Chase" novels: "The Guilty are Afraid", "He Won't need it now"!! Thereafter I gained admission to the University of Ife (Now Obafemi Awolowo) to study Chemistry but I was determined to study Chemical Engineering. I decided to take the electives meant exclusively for the Faculty of Engineering students; Vector Analysis etc and I passed them. I applied for a transfer to Chem Eng. Only 2 of the 25 of us that desired to change got the privilege. That did not happen until I engaged myself in a series of praying and dry fasting. I was the first to attain university education in my entire Dada generation-by his grace. I was determined to work hard not to let them down.
By February 10, 1977, I had given my life to Christ and was attending Christ Apostolic Church Bethel. I immersed myself in the church. I drove the church bus, joined the Choir, the prayer band, accounting department, Christ Apostolic Church Student Association (CACSA), United Joint Christian Mission. (UJCM). I served as Music Director, Drama Director. Wrote Playlets, acted and travelled to other campuses with them. I recall one of my seniors in high school, also in the university at that time, prophesied my failure by warning me in these words paraphrased- "Dele you are following Professor A.M.A. Imvebore, ( My Pastor then), it will interest you to know that Pastor Imevbore got born again after getting his PhD"! I was not deterred, rather than fail I passed so well I moved to a more difficult academic discipline to the glory of God. As a student studying Chemical Engineering, I decided I will not read anything academic on Sundays. When I had exams on Sunday I will go after attending service. Very rare for me to miss Bible Study, Prayer meetings and Evangelistic Programs. On many occasions I drove my Pastor, Prof A.M.A Imevbore for preaching engagements practically everywhere needed with joy.
Postgraduate Days. Of the twenty-two of us who graduated from the Dept. of Chemical Engineering in 1981, I was the only one who returned for the Masters' degree after I served in the 1981/82 session of the yearlong National Youth Service Corp (NYSC). During my NYSC it was still hard work. A few of us formed the Drama Wing of Light Bearers. A popular gospel band in the 70s through the 90s. We acted the plays and took many to universities across Nigeria. I remember living at Oko-Oba Agege, working at Apapa, doing rehearsals at Festac and Yaba Tech, all in very different parts of the Lagos State.
When I was studying for my Masters' I was a teacher at a high school in the city of Ife. I lived in the staff quarters on campus and volunteered to teach high school students after school hours. I was a Part-Time Tutorial Lecturer in The Department of Chemical Engineering. Apart from attending regular church programs, and fully engaged in many church activities as mentioned above, four of us created a prayer fellowship to pray for church members. Three of us formed another team- to pray for one hour virtually every Saturday for three years for a good wife.
I was the first to earn a PhD in Chemical Engineering at the University of Benin and the only one in my 1981 graduation set. That was from 1989 to 1995. The first to secure scholarship in NNPC for a PhD. At that Time I worked as a full time Engineer in Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company a Subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) and as a full-time pastor at CAC Bethel Effurun.
Hard Work in Warri. To the glory of God, I was the first to start CAC Bethel Church outside university campuses with the Assistance of the Adegboyegas. I worked for 16 years in NNPC (1985-2001), an engineer in the day and as a pastor in the evening. God used my family and I to grow the church CAC Bethel Effurun from less than 10 to over 1,500 to the glory of God, we built two gigantic buildings, still the largest in all CAC Bethel Churches in Nigeria and beyond in terms of population. Over 20 branches have come out of that church by the grace of God. Remember during this period 1989 to 1995 I was studying for my doctorate, shuttling between Warri and Benin, on poor roads, no Internet. In those days you could spend an entire day in the ill-equipped university library searching for one academic paper from one journal; a huge contrast to my post-doctoral research at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and technology (UMIST) in 1996 when I was introduced to Internet search engine.
Hard Work in Toronto.
What is called 'Canadian experience" is real, I tried to get a job but because I didn't understand the system it was a huge challenge. I could not make sales selling vacations. I got highly recommended to work in a shelter as a relief staff, they started me with light jobs, documentations, laundry etc, and how I left? It was my turn to wash toilets and scrub the floor, extremely alien to me!!, I remembered Luke 15:17, when the prodigal son could not get what belongs to swine as his meal he said "I will arise and go to my father." I too went back to God to strategize. - I Changed FROM WORKING HARD TO WORKING SMART. I went back to college to take some courses and my professional engineering Chemical Engineering examination. That day I told my children it was 20 years ago since I sat for an exam. 1984 for my Masters and 2004 for Professional Engineers Exam of Ontario. That opened the door for me to work at Sarri Refinery in Benghazi, Libya. My wife and I started CAC Bethel Toronto that fully took off in April 2001. We were also able to Start International Gathering of Eagles Ministry-A forum for leadership training since 2003 which holds a major conference called International Gathering of Eagles Conference. By God's leading since 2009, we have held the conference in over 40 nations. Through the conference we have planted churches in India, Uganda, Ghana and Kenya…… HARD WORK!
In addition to working hard it is imperative you work smart. Here are some highlights; In 2000 I went to New York, I preached in a church where I did not know that many were taxi drivers, I challenged them to change, do something better even after 20 years and many of them were offended. Even though I did not use the word work smart that was my message. If they are still driving that taxi in 2019, UBER and Lyft would be dealing with them now! Today everyone is developing an app, blogging, the same phone you are using to burn data - is making someone laugh to the bank.
Find one expert here, if you live in the western world, to take to Nigeria- Work smart. Be a bridge in one business between North America and Africa. There is a billionaire in Nigeria- He has sole Franchise of sales for Rolls Royce, Jaguar, BMW and all expensive cars you can think of. Invest in stocks, mutual funds, let your money work for you. There are some multi- level businesses you can engage in, not MMM not, pyramid schemes. There are lot of opportunities in Canada that you must take advantage. Someone started all the factories and industries that you are working in. Start your own company, work hard and smart at it, visions don't speak in the beginning they speak at the end -though it tarry wait for it. Hab 2:2
OTHER IMPORTANT FACTORS IN MAKING GENUINE MONEY
- Why borrow Money-Psalm 37: 21- The wicked borrows and cannot pay….
I have never borrowed money in my life for anything not for any project. Some people live their lives borrowing. Borrow shirt, borrow shoes borrow, 'gele', borrow dress for party, church. Stop it. My wife and I agreed we shall not borrow to send our 5 children to school and God helped us. What about our house Mortgage- I called that investment loan. Investment loan is permissible- if you will not lavish it on frivolities.
Some people borrow money to throw a birthday party, children's party, wedding party, parent party! Stop it. Why must you go into debt to impress people that cannot be impressed? Why buy cars you cannot afford. Why buy a house you cannot afford to pay mortgage? The concept of borrowing is not in the borrower's interest. "The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously" Psalm 37:21
- Resolve not to do shady (Fraudulent) business. "I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I [a]look upon a young woman? Job 31:1 Even business that are not fraudulent but are ungodly. I decided I will never work in a breweries or cigarette making factories. I will never gamble. Why are you wasting your destiny around Casino, lottery slot machines that are primarily designed to wreck you? YOU must make some covenants that will guide you in the process of your living or making money.
I resolved from a young age not steal, not to offer bribes, not to engage in scams. One day when I was really young, one of the Elders of the church came to accuse me before my father that I came to his house to steal walnuts. My father stood his ground that it cannot be me. It turned out it was not me. I had a difficult time when I lived in Nigeria, the police showed me pepper but I never gave bribe and God also always come to my rescue. One of my teachers said "they life fast, die young and leave a beautiful corps!"
"The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it. Prov 10:22. Making money is not just about working hard or working smart, you must have some personal resolves like Jonathan Edward that will drive your Christian journey. What is the point of making all the money and NOT making heaven!
- Make a covenant to live a life of integrity. Honesty. Transparency. Psalm 26: 9-12, 15:2-3 Say No To Corruption. Job 31:1 Tell yourself I will not be a fornicator, adulterer, a bribe giver or taker. I will not be a scammer, 419. I will be a good role model. It is not the quantity of money you make it is the quality that gives you peace. The story of a king was told who wanted a successor. He called the potential successors. Gave them a seed each to go and plant for one year. When they noted the seed did not grow they all went to get a new seed to grow, except one man, who was wondering why his own did not grow but he continued to water it. Of course, he became the new king. Stand out in your community. Don't be part of the rut! Among the corrupt businessmen/women, politicians, legislators, men of the bar/bench, academicians, bankers, public servants etc
- Live by Faith (Church). There were times in my university days that the only money on me was two naira, that was big money then that could feed you for a week on Campus and I will deliberately drop it in the offering tray and say "I want to see how God will provide for me or let me go hungry!" I will not borrow. There is a faith component in making money that you must engage. Praying for job requires faith. Running your own business requires faith. You need God's help that can only be activated by prayer and fasting. That is the church component. "So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy" Roman 9:16. The issue of giving to God's work is important and it's a mystery how it works. I will discuss it in full details in future. Whether you call it offering, tithe, vow, donations seed, first fruit, pledge. If you want to make money, make a living on earth you must learn the act of giving back to God. Peter was puzzled about giving all and he asked the question that can help us all: Then Peter began to say to Him, "See, we have left all and followed You." "so Jesus answered and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time-houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions-and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first." Mk.10: 29-30. Scripture says "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you." Lk 6:38. You cannot make money and make heaven without learning to give to God by faith. Furthermore, it is important, that you know you have to pray and study the word of God. "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you[c] shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success" Joshua 1:8
Conclusion: Let me conclude by giving you some of these instructions I found online on how to spend money and what should be your attitude when you make money. Finally, 1 Timothy 6:17-18 offers divine instructions for the wealthy among us. The passage reads: "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share." Reader, there is no way you can do what I have shared in this piece that you will not have money or make a living. I don't mean stupendous wealth and it could be also! But by the grace of God you will be comfortable in life. I have shared my personal experience out of modesty not that I am rich or perfect, but believing it could help someone and by the grace of God according to David-: I have been young and now I am getting old, I have not seen the children of God who live by his principles begging for bread that includes me. But I want to plead when your season of material wealth arrives, if it hasn't already, this 1 Timothy 6:17-18 passage is telling you to do the following four things;
- Don't become arrogant. Work hard and become successful in life but don't think of yourself as better than others because of your material wealth. In Deuteronomy 8:18 Moses reminds us, "But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth"
- Don't put your hope in your wealth. Proverbs 23:5 says, "Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle." A good job or business and its steady earnings can be here today and gone tomorrow.
- Be rich in good deeds. A good deed is a free and voluntary act of service toward another person. Doing good deeds for others is the fruit of your salvation in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:10 tells us: "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works."
- Be generous and willing to share. Generous people create synergy. They build organizations and contribute to the success others. By the grace of God since 1997 I have been awarding scholarships for nothing less than 10 people in tertiary institutions each year. I don't joke with giving my tithe and church tithe to God not because it is in OT or NT, but I have enough understanding from Scripture which says "John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven." Work hard, work smart as you may if God doesn't proper you, your labour is in vain. Psalm 127:1. Think about it: who wants to do business with someone who only takes? Give to your biological and spiritual parents. Take care of your children, spouse. Give to those who helped you to succeed. Give to your church family. Give to God. When your wealth comes remember to give to your Pastor- Amos Dele Dada!!!