As part of human nature, many of us are hard-wired to generally feel fear or greed around money. The pandemic amplified these emotions as we worried about our health, family’s security, and finances. When the pandemic began in March of 2020, the stock market fell sharply, only to come roaring back months later with newly injected stimulus checks and job recovery. Through the rollercoaster of economic events, millions asked:
- “How can I make more money?”
- “How can I donate if it will affect my savings balance?”
- “Where will next month’s mortgage payment come from if I lose my job?”
In this episode of The John Chapman Show, John and Erica offer a third perspective, beyond fear and greed, that can help provide more peace and financial freedom. John shares his faith-based perspective of stewardship toward money that ultimately serves God, the true owner of our money, businesses, families, and lives.
Listen to the full episode to hear John and Erica describe the daily reminder and exercise that keep them grounded and focused on service to God and provide the framework for managing finances and life. John describes how he believes that when you can incorporate these practices into your daily life, they will help guide your decisions in your work, family, and finances:
- Gratitude and humbleness
Stream the episode to hear the entire conversation, as well as biblical scripture that supports this perspective.
Speaker 1: (00:02)
Welcome to The John Chapman Show, where we talk about retirement readiness strategies to help you grow and preserve your wealth so that you get the most from life with the money you do have. Are you on track? John is an employee of Worthpointe, LLC. All opinions expressed by John and podcast guests are solely their own opinion and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Worthpointe. This podcast should not be relied upon for investment decisions and is for informational purposes only.
John Chapman: (00:32)
Hey everyone, John Chapman here, and I’m joined again by my co-host, Erica Mary Hugh. What a perspective we have gone through. It’s been more than 12 months since the stock market fell over 30% in three weeks last year in March of 2020. And on today’s episode, I want to talk about a shift in perspective. And what I’m thinking about, Erica, is, you know, as humans, we almost always enter into a money conversation from either an angle of fear or greed. And that’s part of how we’re wired. And last year we felt a lot of greed. And especially on behalf of my clients, I know they did when our money went down. We had no idea what the future was going to be like; millions of people lost their jobs. Fast forward, like four or five months, you know, September, October, November, December—the market came roaring back.
There was all of this stimulus money injected and people started to get new jobs. And then there was this switch. It was like a greed switch. It was, gosh, if my stocks could only just keep outperforming or if my next job could just have a higher salary than what my previous job did. And while we may never get completely away from a fear and greed mentality, I want to offer something to our audience today, Erica, that is a small, small thing, but it’s also really profound. And it’s this, as a Christian, I believe God owns it all. God owns it all. He owns our house, our money, our bodies, our time. And that perspective is so fundamentally important because it takes us now to not just fear and greed, but it takes us to stewardship. God owns it all, not just me. And so I think today we should dive into a couple of the implications on that, but maybe Erica, just hit us with a little bit of scripture. I never want to kind of get off of that. So what does the Bible have to say about the fact that God owns it all?
Erica Mary Hugh: (02:32)
Yeah. Well, thanks again, John, for having me. Yeah. I think something so important is starting off with truth and then having that trickle it down from there. So the first truth that comes to my mind is that God created the earth, the universe, the animals, the plants, the solar system, it even says. So in Psalm 24, one, the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it. And the second truth that I want to bring up is this idea. Not only do we get to walk on this beautiful earth God created, but he actually created our body and spirit. You know, our bodies are made up by him to work, to function so that we can live and breathe in this beautiful world. In first Corinthians six, 19 through 20, it says, do you not know that your bodies are temples of the holy spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?
You are not your own. You were bought at a price, therefore honor your God with your bodies. And I just love that. Okay. So we’re in our bodies, a gift from God. We’re able to walk on this beautiful earth. And then the third point that I want to bring up is God has the power to give the wealth that we actually do have. He’s the one that gives us the ability to earn money in the first place. All of our giftings are skills, the intellect that we have to even drive a car to our jobs and be able to provide our finances all come from him. And I think that just gives me such a humble perspective that God is the clear giver of these things and the beautiful piece and the most humble part about it is that not one of these pieces are owed to us, nor are they even deserving of these things. And yet this wonderful God that we have delights in granting us his creation, his temple, and his power. And I just can’t help but ask the question, if our money comes from God, then shouldn’t he have a say in how it’s used?
Yeah, I think he does have a say and you know, it makes me think, too, Erica, even for those maybe they’re listening and this is the first time they’ve heard this. Or, you know, if they don’t feel like they identify as a Christian, I still would actually challenge people to just work through this because I actually think there’s some powerful perspective shifts. And I actually think that experiencing more financial freedom can come from this perspective when you realize that you don’t actually own it. And we’re just temporary managers of it. And so, okay. There’s three things I want to touch on for our conversation today. Just some perspective shifts. One is this idea of responsibility. The second is this idea of gratitude and humbleness.
And then third is this idea or perspective of accountability, right? Okay. So we’re going to revisit all three of these: responsibility, gratitude, and accountability. So as I’m thinking about responsibility, I can’t help it. I think of this image, Erica, of like a store owner and a general manager. And so my first job in high school, I was like 16. I had just gotten my license and my dad wanted me to get a part-time job over the summer. And I worked at Albertson’s and truthfully, I actually hated the job at the time, but you know, looking back at dad always said I would get a lot out of it. And, you know, unfortunately I really did get a lot out of it. So I think about that Albertson’s general manager.
You know, those boxes of Cheerios. You know, the mayonnaise, and the cleanliness of the aisles. That wasn’t his store, but he was the manager of it. And it fundamentally changed how we showed up for work and how he was dressed and how we treated the store. And, you know, I think that’s important to just think about what’s my responsibility to the things that I have been entrusted with: my home and my family and my job and my money. What’s my responsibility? And how can I show up for God in that way and do the best with the resources that he’s entrusted to me?
Yeah. I love that. That reminds me of a quick story. I remember being at church with my husband not too long ago, and he had it in his heart to give away a certain amount of money for an organization that they were talking about. And my husband just said, Hey, I have this number in my head, Erica, just pray, pray through it. See what God reveals to you. And long story short, I was in my car and God pretty much responded by saying, Hey, Erica, it’s okay if you give away my money and it was just this, Hey, I’m giving you this responsibility. I’ve given you the money in your bank account. Now go from there and be responsible with it. And God has entrusted me with that reminds me of a really sweet story. My daughter now is six, but when she was about three years old, every year, she asked for a little baby doll every year. No matter how old she is, it’s a doll.
She wants a doll and she’s the only child. So of course I asked her cousin to come over. And the first thing her cousin does is take that doll away from her. And of course a natural three-year-old response would say mine, mine, that’s my doll. Give it back, give it back. And as embarrassed as I was as a parent to witness my only child not be able to share as well as I’d like her to, it actually gave me some perspective. When I look in the mirror and I ask myself, is that how God sees me? And my husband says, Hey, pray about this number. I want us to give this amount. My first reaction is no, no, no, no, no. That’s my money in my bank account. And I want that control because somehow that makes me feel safer. And you know, I think you know, we have this entitlement that, you know, I don’t want to give money because it might hurt the bank account. And I would argue that maybe we aren’t giving enough if it doesn’t hurt just a little bit.
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, the thing about your story about Lucy just makes me laugh because I can’t help but think, and this is sort of in the imaginary part of my brain, you know, there you are looking at Lucy like five seconds ago. You didn’t actually own that. I just gave it to you as a parent. Like, can you just be a little bit more gracious and share with your child? And I’m saying that jokingly, because I fall into this, too, because you know, three years ago I changed jobs and I didn’t do that on my own. God gave me the chance and the opportunity to change jobs. And then I sort of walked into my new job. Like here I am, I’ve got this new cool job. It’s just how quick I am to fall into this trap. And that’s why I said at the beginning, I don’t want to just reiterate, this is a daily reminder to ask myself who owns this.
I’m reminding myself, God owns it. I want to be responsible with this. I want to be gracious and have gratitude and I want to be accountable. So let’s talk about the last implication and being accountable to God. So similar to the scripture verse you talked about earlier, but it makes me think about the parable of the talents. What’s my goal? Ultimately, with this, I want God to be able to say something like, well done, good and faithful servant. Well done, good and faithful servant. It kind of gives me chills even just thinking about it, Erica, I feel as if I’m going to have to give an account for how I spent my money and how I built my business and how I helped the clients. And that makes a pretty big difference. I mean, think about it when you’re at home and you’re by yourself and you’re doing stuff around the house.
I know this because at certain times when I was a bachelor, I didn’t keep the best kept house. And then I got married. And then who had the cleanest house? It was me because I knew my wife was going to expect it and hold me accountable for doing that. And so in the same way, I think that we should remember that there is some accountability that God wants to hold us to. And I just think that helps with all these small decisions that we bump up against to ask ourselves, okay, let’s do the right thing here at whatever that may be.
In this specific context, I love asking myself this question: if I’m not willing to be obedient and accountable with what I have now, why would God entrust me with any more? You know, this practice of obedience to Christ and this accountability that he gives us, it’s an act of worship. Worship is this acknowledgement of who God is, right? And I love asking, or even telling myself and in a humble posture, Erica, just so you know, God doesn’t need my money. He is going to get his work accomplished and move forward, whether or not I choose to be involved in his plan. And I think that’s where we’re given the opportunity and privilege to use his money and act of faith. That God’s word is true and essentially an expression of his love.
And I think just to recap on this, and as we come to a close, Erica, it’s a daily reminder. I encourage everybody out there. Maybe if you’ve got to keep a journal, or if you keep a to-do list, I challenge you every day for the next five days to wake up and ask yourself who owns this, who owns my time, who owns my business, who owns my money? And that way you can remind yourself, you know, that God owns it all. Okay. And so I want to work hard on his behalf and I want to be responsible to my clients or my job. And I want to be grateful for the fact that I didn’t earn this. I didn’t. I don’t deserve any of this. And I can even give a little bit more away because I’ll always be taken care of to some extent, and then last, I’m going to be held accountable and I’m going to have to give an account for everything that I did. And I think if you do that, I really believe you’re going to experience a greater level of financial freedom, because you’re going to be less stressed out about just looking at life through a prism of fear and greed and mine, mine, mine.
Yes. I love that. Yeah. Everything that you said. I feel like I need that daily reminder. So thank you so much.
Good, Erica. Hey, thanks for joining me again. And we’ll see you back here next week.
All right. Sounds good. Thanks, John.
Speaker 1: (12:41)
Thanks for tuning into The John Chapman Show. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify. We encourage your questions, comments, and feedback for additional information. Check out the John Chapman show.com or look for John on LinkedIn and Twitter. See you next week.
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