Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Financial Wisdom for God's Glory 3

Leslie Basham: Jan Thompson and her husband made a deal with their teenage daughter. They’d match whatever money she could save for a first car.

Jan Thompson: Consequently, at age 21 she had saved a significant amount of money, presented it to us and told us what kind of car she wanted, and she had enough to pay for half of it.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, July 28. About a year ago we first heard from Jan Thompson on Revive Our Hearts. She’s a certified financial planner and author of Managing the Money Maze. Jan described the differences she and her husband Tom brought to marriage. It was very helpful and you can hear that series at

Jan’s back this week providing more helpful counsel on managing finances for God’s glory.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You and Tom have developed over the years a very wise and prudent approach to financial living and planning and future thinking while still having a great heart for giving. In fact, it’s the planning and the prudence that enables you to be more generous. But you didn’t wait until you had a lot of resources coming in before you developed a heart for giving.

You were telling me when you and Tom and I had dinner this week about a time early in your marriage when you had just a tiny little bit in your bank account. Tell us the story.

Jan: Some of the dramatic early stories that we documented in what we call our Blessings Book, we still refer back to those when God keeps putting bigger challenges in our life of giving and we keep wondering can we trust Him again.

We had been married for two years living on the road in his ministry. We then left that ministry to go back for him to finish his last year of college. It was a wonderful year because I finally got a home. I had a nesting need, and I got to move into an apartment. All of our wedding gifts were still brand new, and it was like we were newlyweds.

After a year, he finished school. I had my first job in the financial services industry. This was back in the '70s when it really was not a popular field. I was thriving. I loved my job, loved our environment, had a blast with Tom going to school, and we actually had some money to work with to actually start incorporating these principles.

Tom came to me one night, and he said, “Honey, I believe that God wants us to go back to that ministry.” Of course, my first thought was we had only had a year. We hadn’t had enough time to save to purchase any kind of a vehicle to travel in. I would like to say I was a truly godly, submissive wife and just laid down and said, “Okay, honey, let’s go.” I didn’t. I kicked and screamed for about three weeks. I liked that mediocre stage of just being comfortable.

Nancy: And this was a ministry where you weren’t going to have a salary.

Jan: No, it was going back to no salary, going to be living in people’s homes again and putting a lot of stuff in storage. I am not a great road warrior. I really do like my home. I like being able to put something on the dresser and knowing it’s going to stay there and I don’t have to put it back in a suitcase every week.

But I knew from his actions, from his patience with me, from letting me work through this process with the Lord, that he truly had heard from the Lord and it was time for me to get right with the Lord. It was a heart issue.

So we surrendered that. We packed up our belongings and moved back, put everything in storage and went back to traveling on the road. It wasn’t but just a few weeks after that that we had our own time of preparing our hearts for the things that we were teaching in our ministry, and that is giving sacrificially, honoring the Lord with everything you have.

Nancy: The ministry team had come together . . .

Jan: Right, for what we called at that point a spiritual renewal or revival week. We had I believe around $130 in our checkbook. No income coming in again. We had not raised our support yet.

Nancy: So that was your net worth.

Jan: That was our total net worth. Now, we had no debt because we had not accumulated debt in that one year of school, and we paid his college in full that last year and had no college loans. So we were free, but we had a total of a whopping $139, I believe it was, in the checkbook.

Through the ministry of God’s Holy Spirit during one of those services of preparing our hearts that night, separately God moved on both our hearts to clear out our savings account and give everything we had sacrificially. God knew that I needed a home, I thought, and I knew $135 wasn’t going to do much to buy any kind of vehicle to travel in anyway.

Nancy: Not to speak of groceries for the rest of the week.

Jan: Right! So we wrote that check. We went on the road. Then within a week or two we got a very, very interesting phone call from my former employer of the job that I had just left. His comment to my husband was, “I understand (he was a Christian) God has taken you in a new direction. I just landed a huge business deal, made more money than I expected. God’s put it on my heart that you need a vehicle to travel in. I want you to go pick out a truck and trailer, and I will pay for it.”

Nancy: So a vehicle to travel in and a vehicle to live in.

Jan: And a vehicle to live in because we were living nine months out of the year on the road. His comment was (and I thought this is the way God puts a punctuation mark on things), “If you pick out something cheap, it’s your own fault.” I just love the way God doesn’t just do a little. He does exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.

Now I can multiply those stories one after another. That was such an early dramatic time of us understanding these sowing and reaping principles. We didn’t give the $135 with any expectation that God was going to give us back. I think at the time that was about $35,000 back in 1978. But what a blessing that was.

God knew I had a need, and I tried to hang on and tell Him how I thought He should be running our lives. He asked me to let go, to not try and control the situation, but let Him have His will, let Him have His way and He will make our paths straight. And He did. He supplied a need and let me even pick out even right to the color of the carpet, the color of the wood, the color of the vehicle, and it served us well for the next eight years that we traveled.

Nancy: You and Tom are now in a different season of life. You have a home and you both have income coming in, but you’re trying to operate now in such a way that long-term with your lives, you can give even more. That initial $130 that you gave that cleaned out your bank account, that was a small deposit on what in your life time, Lord willing, the Lord will enable you to give toward His work.

Jan: Absolutely, and I look at it now and I think $135 is nothing. It’s that widow’s mite. It’s not how much. It’s how you respond in obedience to the moving of His Holy Spirit. So quantity, amounts, and that’s why I never define significance as a dollar amount. It’s a heart. It’s a determined purpose to live for eternal values and have a significant impact on kingdom purposes.

Nancy: So what would make you and Tom happy as a couple at the end of your lives should the Lord give you both a long life? If you could sit there and look back and say, this is what has happened, this is what God has done through us in terms of resources and stewardship, what would you feel was success?

Jan: That every day we did something that would outlive us and last for eternity and that our children are carrying that legacy on with any financial resources that we leave behind. We have designed our estate plan so that our children have very clear instructions of how we expect them to manage whatever assets that God has allowed us to accumulate to use for His purposes. They know in a heartbeat that God will be holding them accountable. They better be ready and prepared for that.

We have had a responsibility as parents to make sure that we are equipping our children to carry on this legacy because if that blessing of whatever God has taught us through our 30, 40, 50 years of marriage and whatever assets He has entrusted to us stops at our level, then I truly will feel that we have failed by not teaching our children how to carry on that legacy and prayerfully multiply whatever we’ve done.

So far, our children seemed to have caught it which tells me that we have taught it. But they know that we won’t hesitate to go back and revise those plans if at any point they’re not walking with the Lord and honoring Him with financial principles.

Nancy: So let’s talk about how you taught your children to think about money, to use money, to have God’s perspective on it. I assume you didn’t wait until they were getting close to being out of the nest before you started dealing with this. How did you start early on giving them God’s perspective on money?

Jan: Well, first of all we tried to model it with our children. I tried to include them when I was paying bills, help them understand how this worked, what kind of money was coming in. While I didn’t get into the details of how we were doing it, just teaching them the basic principles—you got to spend less than you earn. You have to know where it’s going.

"Before anyone builds a house, they draw up a blueprint first. That’s a Scriptural principle. And Daddy and I have gone away, we’ve developed this blueprint, and this is the way that we believe God wants us to run with whatever He’s going to trust us with. But you know what, things are going to happen in life we can’t prepare for, so we’ve got this fund over here, our 'woulda, coulda, shoulda' account."

We are working toward long-term goals. All of these concepts that we teach on an adult level, we started acquainting the children with those at a young age.

It was at about age 11, I believe, with our daughter. Our daughter shows the propensity to be a spender. Our son takes after his mother and could care less if he spends anything. So we saw with our daughter in particular that we needed to set up some accountability for her as young as age 11. And while they had little bits of allowance, there was no structure to it.

So we determined what we spent annually on clothes and gifts for her friends’ birthday parties and activities and set a dollar amount of what we felt was appropriate at her age and put her on a spending plan. I actually took the same spread sheet I used for us, developed a plan for her and together we sat down. The Lord was first, savings was second, just like my Daddy taught me. Then all the rest we were able to use for Jayme’s discretionary items. At age 11, how many nondiscretionary items do you have.

So she thought this was pretty cool. Her first month of getting this what appeared to be a large sum of money for her was gone in a few days. I mean it just burned right through her hand. So she had a birthday party to go to and she said, “Mom, I need some money for the birthday party.” And I said, “Well, Jayme, do you remember we had this in your plan? What did you do with it?”

“Oh, I spent it on something else.” “Well, I’m sorry, unless you can find money on the money tree in the back yard, you’re going to have to wait.” So it took her several months to get the idea that she couldn’t just spend frivolously, that she had to start making responsible choices.

Nancy: Did you bail her out?

Jan: No, we did not bail her out, and it was painful. Now, I’ll tell you another item we did though. Along with this lump sum that we gave that was determined to be appropriate for both children, we had a chores list up on the refrigerator so that if they wanted to make more money, they could go to that list and they could do some extra activities in order to supplement additional things they want.

We wanted to create in them a work ethic that work is associated with increased reward. However, I don’t like to tie a basic allowance to that ethic because you may have a child who’s not motivated by work or motivated by money, which is the case of our son, but they don’t learn how to manage money if everything is tied to a reward.

So we determined that we were going to set the base amount for them to learn good money management principles under our umbrella but create the work ethic if they wanted additional resources.

Nancy: So out of that lump amount, I know some moms are listening and wanting some specific handles, what was she responsible for?

Jan: She was responsible for—now we would clothe her at her birthday and at Christmas with the basics—the shoes, underwear, all of the necessities for school. So her clothing budget was really discretionary for additional things she wanted or if she wanted a particular brand of tennis shoe.

Nancy: Or if they were going out to eat with friends.

Jan: If they were going out to eat friends. Gifts. Jamie is a huge giver just like her father and wants to give to everyone. It taught her to be more resourceful. Instead of mom buying all of these gifts, she learned how to make some beautiful things. She found a whole part of her that has a very creative side. Her mother doesn’t have that, so I always admire the way Jayme is so extraordinarily creative. It just developed a whole new personality in her that was not dependent on economic resources but using more of that creative side to her.

We would pay for all of the school activities that were required obviously. Once a year we would make sure that she went to camp. But she wanted to go to all of the camps. So we would pay for one of them. She had to save—we would pay for half of the other, but she had to save the other half if there were any other additional camps that she wanted to go to. And I say, we did the same thing with our son, although again he wasn’t motivated quite as much by money, so we changed some of the dynamics for him.

Vehicle purchase is typically a big thing that I see. Should we buy our child a car? From a very young age, we headed that one off at that pass with something that worked out very well. We told the children that we would match whatever they saved to purchase a vehicle when they showed us that they were responsible enough to handle it.

Well, Jayme caught onto that real quick and started saving feverishly from the time she first had an opportunity to start earning money. Consequently, at age 21 she had saved a significant amount of money, presented it to us, and told us what kind of car she wanted and she had enough to pay for half of it.

Now, we knew that she was accumulating, and we had been saving alongside with her, so it didn’t come as any big surprise. But our son, it took him a little longer to catch this concept and really didn’t care about saving for a vehicle. So we used to—on family vacations or when we’d be in the car—we’d look at this old, beat up car on the side of the road that was turned upside down and we’d go, “David . . . oh, no, I don’t think you have enough money for that one.”

Just trying to instill in him not the kind of car you drive but you may not have anything to drive if you don’t catch this idea. So he was several years behind Jayme before he caught onto that concept. But he actually is going to be getting the keys to his vehicle when we get home in July because will have saved his half of his money for his vehicle of choice.

So in the meantime was it inconvenient that they drove our cars? I would much rather have bought them a car and been done with it. But we did it for them, that deferred, delayed gratification of saving for something, of paying cash for something. While they now have fully paid for vehicles, we have stressed to them this vehicle isn’t going to last forever. You better start preparing for the fact that in a few years it’s going to need some maintenance, and eventually, it’s going to need to be replaced.

Nancy: Tell us about how Jayme—this was amazing to me—in terms of now getting into home ownership.

Jan: At age 16 when her friends were all getting vehicles, Jayme got a Roth IRA for her birthday. It’s an individual retirement account, and the Roth has some special tax rules that make it very advantageous. Actually, most people in my opinion should have a Roth that qualify for it. The rules were coming into play where the money could be used for the down payment on a first-time home purchase.

Nancy: Did she even know what it was at age 16?

Jan: No, she didn’t. Well, only because her mother is so involved in this industry. She knew it was probably a good thing, but she wasn’t real excited about seeing the account statement because she would have much rather had a great toy to show her friends and showing a Roth IRA statement to her friends was not real impressive.

Nancy: Was she a little disappointed?

Jan: Very disappointed, quite frankly. I love to hear her tell this story because she makes a face that I can’t duplicate. Tom and I told her when we gave this to her, “You don’t appreciate this now, but someday you’re going to see how this type of tool, God’s going to leverage it to allow you to do greater things, and your only requirement is that you fund this every single year with the resources God’s going to give you.”

So bless her heart, while her friends were doing great things, Jayme was funding her Roth IRA to the point where when God called her Raleigh at age 23, she lived there for a year. Of course, real estate prices were much more affordable than they were in Southern California, but she was able to use the Roth IRA tool she had to put a down payment on a first-time home purchase.

Not many 23-year-olds have the opportunity or the privilege. But again it’s not how much she had. I really believe that as she learned to be faithful to the Lord, putting God first, staying out of debt, saving toward these long-term goals, funding things when the impulse of her spending would want her to do things a different way, and for Jayme that was pretty dramatic to defer gratification.

But God reflected that back in giving her the ability to trust her with a home at such a young age. It’s been a great joy to watch. Watch your children walk in truth. I wouldn’t say it’s anything that we have taught them. We’ve tried to model it; we’ve tried to teach it, but if they don’t practice it, that’s an ownership and a control issue that they have to do before the Lord.

Nancy: This is a huge part of the discipleship and training and nurture of your children. I have, as we probably all do, friends whose young and even older adult children are still very much dependent on their parents. I see some heads nodding here, not because they’re physically unable to earn a living, but because they haven’t learned the basic disciplines of stewardship and dealing with financial resources from God’s perspective.

Tom and Jan made some choices to make some sacrifices, to require some things of themselves and of their children early on that were probably not easy at that point. It requires self-control, not only of yourself, but of your parenting to say instead of giving my child for their 16th birthday what would make them think I’m the greatest person in the world, I’m going to give them something that is an investment in the future.

But now they’re experiencing the benefits and the blessings of having children who are responsible, who are godly in their thinking process, who think biblically, who make wise and prudent decisions. To have two children in their 20s who know how to think God’s way about resources, that’s got to be a great joy. I expect now you’re seeing some of the fruit of those tough decisions.

Jan: Finally. Our son, when he got his first job out of college and he found out what he was going to be making, I remember coming home from work a couple of months ago when he came out of his bedroom and said, “Mom, I’ve worked through my spending plan. Will you come and see if there’s anything I’m missing. I know how much I’m making now, and I’ve got it all laid out on my spread sheet.”

I’m thinking, “What 23-year-old young man can hardly wait for his mom to get home from work so he can show her his spending plan.” I almost wanted to take his temperature. That brought great joy to my heart, not so much because of what we had taught him but I saw him take a hold of the Lord’s hand that day and recognize his own ownership and accountability to the Lord.

I didn’t have to say, “Honey, did you put tithe in there? Are you doing all of this?” It was the first line item on there, his tithe commitment, his savings commitment to his Roth IRA, and what he projected would be his living expenses.

What’s a very interesting dynamic on this people in ministry typically are making a choice to earn less, right?

Nancy: And your son is headed into professional ministry.

Jan: He’s headed into ministry. He has no debt. He has a fully paid-for vehicle now because he finally caught that saving concept, but he is not making a great living salary there for southern California. But because he has no indebtedness, he didn’t have the bondage of "how am I going to make a car payment?"

So let me tell you what else God did. God has given him free housing for, as the people said, as long as he wants to be there. God orchestrated circumstances where David wound up for a short-term time in a person’s home because they called him to this job immediately, and he had no time to go up there to look for housing.

The people came to him after ten days and said, “David, we just want you to know we have nine kids. There’s only a few left in the house. We’ve got this extra room. You can stay here as long as you want, and the only stipulation is number 1, we get to meet your mom and dad and number 2, that you don’t insult us by offering to pay rent.”

I mean, total strangers. But that’s where again living above that level of mediocrity. We can figure out all these plans, and we can say, “David, you know what, this probably isn’t enough to get you a decent apartment, but let’s trust God and not compromise putting Him first and let’s see what He can do with the little bit that you’ve got.” He is loving living with that family. It’s just a tremendous environment for him. He is thriving in it. God doesn’t do anything halfway.

Leslie: Jan Thompson has been talking with Nancy Leigh DeMoss and she’s been presenting a very important challenge to all of us whose children are nearing adulthood.

Are you preparing your kids to glorify God through finances? To make the kinds of wise decisions that will benefit them for a lifetime? For a lot of listeners, the first step is getting their own hearts lined up with God’s Word when it comes to finances. Jan’s written a booklet that will take you through this process. It’s called Managing the Money Maze.

We’d like to send you the booklet when you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts. You’ll get a lot of helpful information and work through some questions to help you evaluate your heart. You’ll also get some practical next steps in forging a solid financial future for you and your kids.

Just donate any amount at and indicate that you’d like Managing the Money Maze, or ask for it when you call 1-800-569-5959.

Well, imagine a woman who has a heart to obey God and respect her husband, yet he’s making foolish financial decisions. What should she do? Jan will address that tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Jan Thompson is a registered representative offering securities through Securities America, Inc., member FINRA SIPC and advisory services through Securities America Advisors, Inc. The information provided in this program is for general education purposes only and should not be construed as specific investment advice. Please consult a financial advisor regarding your specific situation prior to implementing an investment plan.

The names used in this broadcast do not necessarily represent the experience of any one client. These examples are intended to illustrate various examples of investor psychology and should in no way be construed as an endorsement of the performance of services provided by Janice Thompson, Strategic Financial Solutions, Inc., or the Securities America companies.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the speaker, Janice A. Thompson. This material is for general information purposes only and should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Because the information is general in nature, you should discuss specific advice with a financial professional.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.