Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Financial Wisdom for God's Glory 4

Leslie Basham: The Bible is clear: “Honor your parents.” Financial planner, Jan Thompson, says there’s a practical aspect to this biblical command.

Jan Thompson: Do you have any concerns about ongoing care for aging parents? Because that is a very important piece in your plan to be obedient to the Lord.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, July 29.

When you make wise financial choices, it will bring far greater peace to your life and relationships. But not only that, it will bring more glory to God. Jan Thompson’s been helping us learn how to do this more effectively this week, and she’s continuing to talk with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

We’ll start with some questions from our audience, starting with Holly Elliff.

Holly Elliff: I talk with a lot of woman who are like the couple you mentioned who had communication difficulties as they talked about finances. Lots of women who have a heart to obey the Lord but are married to a man who doesn’t have that same heart. Or they do sit down and talk about where the money’s going to go, but then he doesn’t stick with that or spends the money foolishly. I talked with a woman the other day whose husband is an alcoholic, and when her husband drinks, it makes no difference to him that he’s spending the grocery money or whatever.

What do you say to those women to just give them hope?

There are also counselors telling these women, “You need to file for separate maintenance. You need to protect yourself and your children.”

So how do you balance that for that woman biblically who has a heart to obey God but really, literally, doesn’t know what to do in that sort of circumstance?

Jan: That is a very real scenario, and those are ones that I really take on a case-by-case basis. There’s times when I have felt, around my conference table, I’ve been more of a marriage counselor than a financial advisor because there are some interesting dynamics that are happening when we see that.

I am all for making sure that a marriage counselor is involved in that process, and I’ve worked jointly with marriage counselors on the money issues that go along with very difficult dynamics in marriages.

I am not opposed to, under certain circumstances, implementing appropriate legal tools to protect one or the other spouse if there is really abusive sin going on in the home, but I am very careful to make sure that we have explored all of the avenues with the Christian counselor, with the pastor, with the church, and used all of the . . . In a multitude of counselors there is a great deal of wisdom, and there is safety. So I would never recommend, “Get a divorce.”

Let’s work on the problem, but in the meantime, let’s protect what we can. That’s what we can control, and what I feel, before the Lord, is appropriate to control. Let’s do so while we’re working through the other issues, and then trusting God for the things we can’t control.

Again, it’s that circle of control and circle of concern. We need to be working through and taking the appropriate measures for what we can control and for what we can’t. As long as we’re obedient and honoring to the Lord, I do believe in His power of protection, even over those. The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, and He is going to turn it.

Sometimes, though, God doesn’t change the circumstance until that circumstance has changed us. We’re interested in the end result. God is interested in the process. So He isn’t going to waste any of that process. That’s where, in the meantime, giving thanks, and working through His biblical principles, and not just trying to get through it, but to hold His hand and learn from it.

Woman 1: We have a child in college. Should we have some sort of a budget for her? We’ve toyed with the idea of her spending money that she earns in the summer as her spending money in college. Can you comment on that?

And the other question I have is related to long-term goals and saving for college. That’s kind of my real security problem.

Jan: Let me answer that one first. I don’t believe that you should sacrifice your long-term financial independence to use those dollars to pay for college. If there’s competing interest in that arena, I would rather see you save and work out some way for that child to either work student loans, whatever. Otherwise, you’re going to wind up living with them. I see that happening where their parents have put them through the best colleges, but have done nothing to prepare for their future, and now they are very limited in their choices.

Time is a tremendous tool, and that’s where getting money to work for you instead of you working for money, the sooner you start these savings goals, the longer money has a chance to work and compound. God will take care of the college.

I also believe children should be very involved in paying for college, either through working, through scholarships, and, if necessary, student loans. So they take ownership of that degree.

I’ve watched families who have fully funded college, and the children have come out very irresponsible. They’ve actually come home and demanded their parents that they have a right to live there rent free because, after all, they’re the child. Something went wrong somewhere along the way where that child did not take ownership of their responsibility as an adult.

We did the same thing that we’ve done all along, and the children both went away to college. We set aside a certain amount that we knew would meet their needs, and we funded that. We spent about seven years putting children through college. We just paid our last tuition payment on our last child. I can’t believe it’s done.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Congratulations!

Jan: As the years went on, they had increasing amounts that we would support for them for their particular lifestyle, but, again, it was a spending plan. Of that money we gave them, tithing was the very first thing from that amount that we gave them. They were responsible to God, and then responsible to manage. They had enough to pay for their books and their rent and a modest amount for food and some vehicle expenses, but their jobs were going to have to pay for anything above and beyond that.

I think somehow taking them from the stage where they are fully dependent on you to becoming interdependent. College comes and you start transferring more of those reins over to where they are fully independent. It’s a process. It doesn’t just happen overnight. It is gradually seeing how much of this are they grasping, how well are they doing.

We immediately took credit cards out for both of our children when they got in high school because I so believe in the power of using credit wisely, but I told them the first time they blew it . . . Those statements, by the way, came to our home, so I knew exactly what was going on with those cards. But the first time they didn’t pay that balance in full, they had lost that privilege.

I wanted to teach them under our roof that if there were any mistakes to be made, we were there to help work that through with them because as soon as they get to college, the first thing they do when they sign up for classes, the credit card companies are there ready to sign them on.

College students are graduating with an enormous amount, not just the school loan debt, but of credit card debt. No one along the way taught them that the pizzas and the late-night cokes and studying for final exams, all of those things that go on that credit card are there to haunt them as soon as they get out of college. It’s nothing for them to think about, and they’re going to be paying for that pizza for 30 years by paying the minimum balance.

Nancy: I encourage people to think about what to leave their children. I know it’s not the same answer for everybody, but what’s the process that you think should direct people as they think about wills and the next generation?

Jan: Right. I think the thing with, and, again, if you’re talking about an affluent family who is not creating a work ethic, the children know that the inheritance is coming. Therefore, it’s like the couple I was working with who said their son’s just not going to pay rent because, after all, it’s just going to his inheritance, and that doesn’t make any sense.

I’m thinking, “There’s something wrong with this dynamic here if it’s an entitlement.”

Again, it starts very young with you modeling those financial priorities, making sure you understand that any resources you have are ultimately for kingdom purposes, that money is a tool. It’s not an asset to be consumed; and then involving your children in those spending decisions.

In our estate plan, we have spelled out how the children are to manage our resources and the types of organizations where they are to give those resources and how to give those resources so that they know that they may inherit an estate, but it isn’t for consumption. It is to carry on this legacy. Again, how well they’re going to do at this? I don’t know.

Nancy: I also know that while you’re living . . .

Jan: If we see that their lifestyle and their character or the choices they’re making are not in line with the values that we have taught and are trying to pass on to them, then we won’t hesitate to go back and redo those estate plans.

We also are of the persuasion that if God gives you additional resources above and beyond all of the commitments He’s put on your heart to do, those resources are to enjoy now, not just to accumulate to pass on to them later. We want to enjoy those experiences with our children, not just let them have all of this after we’re long gone.

Part of that comes from identifying in your life how much is enough and knowing when it is enough and where you can go into that significance phase and do something truly significant for the kingdom work, to bless your family, to bond your family to create memories for your family that they in turn can turn around and pass on to their children as well.

Woman 2: In your estate planning and different things, I’ve not heard you say anything about helping to care for your parents. I know that I’m facing that, and a lot of my friends are facing that, and I was just wondering what counsel you would have in regard to finances.

Jan: Well, we are speaking from a life’s message here because my husband’s mother has lived with us for twenty years in our home. I can only say wonderful things about my mother-in-law. His mother has been a huge blessing in our home.

Tom’s dad was a pastor who started churches up and down California. They would get the church up and running, and then he would move his family and go start another church. He was a church planter. I believe the most he ever made in his lifetime in one year was $8,000, raising five children. So there was an enormous amount of scarcity mentality in that home.

His mother, again, has given me permission to share these stories because she doesn’t want this to ever happen again. The philosophy was that dad took care of the ministry and that God would provide for the family. Consequently, he wasn’t very involved. Their solution to financial problems was to go down and borrow money and use credit cards.

Again, this is kind of the way Tom was raised and why he came into the relationship with such a different set of dynamics. But that also meant there was no preparation for financial independence. When his father passed away, there was no income. All she had was Social Security to live on.

I truly believe that Scripture: “Honor your father and your mother . . . that it may be well with you” (Ephesians 6:2-3, ESV). I remember the day that Nancy moved into our home, and I said to her, “Mom, you are probably the best insurance policy I’ve ever bought because God said if I honor you (and it’s truly a privilege to have you in our home) that it will be well with us.”

She has proved to be the biggest blessing in my life. She’s a prayer warrior, a truly godly woman. She’s so careful to stay out of our lives, to not give advice, but she’s probably the only babysitter my children ever knew because if we were gone, Nancy was there to watch the kids. She’s a true grandma.

So I understand that dynamic of parents. Not everyone has the wonderful situation I had with such a godly woman. I’ve heard the horror stories, and I’ve watched it in my clients’ lives, and I can only go back to that principle: “Honor your father and your mother.”

What honor looks like, we quantify that with clients in my office. It’s really an individual thing because it depends on the dynamics and the resources and what you do.

We actually built two homes. She lived with us in our back yard in a trailer for the first few years and then God miraculously provided. We never thought we would be home owners based upon the kind of resources we had, but, again, in God’s economy, that really doesn’t matter. He gave us our first home. We built an apartment for her right in the home. Then a while later, Tom’s aunt, Nancy’s sister, was a single woman and didn’t want to live alone anymore, and asked, “Can I come live with you?” So we just figured we’d keep building wings on to this house for all of our extended family. Then we built our second home and actually built a separate apartment with two bedrooms.

Again, God’s economy doesn’t make any sense, but when you honor your father and your mother, it is well with you. He’s given us so much more than I could have ever figured out as a financial advisor. How could I have gotten into this situation? I’m not a good enough planner to do that, but I know the One who is, and I just determined I was going to plug in and honor the Lord.

The only thing I can give you in that situation is that honoring principle. And how that looks in your life, either seek counsel from an advisor or from a pastor, and just make sure that you are honoring, and regardless of the personality, you are honoring the person and the position.

Nancy: Part of honoring them, then, may mean that part of your financial plan is to make provision for them if they didn’t have a financial plan.

Jan: Exactly. One of the first things I ask every client in my office is, “Do you have any concerns about ongoing care for aging parents? Because that is a very important piece in your plan to be obedient to the Lord.”

It is a little overwhelming when you take all of these concepts, and you look at them all and try and figure out, “Where do I start?” Find the one that resonates in your heart. The Holy Spirit touches a particular area, and for everyone I find it’s a little bit different.

I don’t have any set way that I build a financial plan for a client. We look at all of the needs, and then we determine, “Where can we make the biggest impact?” and then make it as easy as possible to start putting our arms around this. We just deal with one issue at a time, and it’s typically the issue that’s closest to our heart that is creating the most conflict. Then we start taking on all of these other areas, one at a time, until eventually we’ve done everything we can in the planning process.

Nancy: Jan. I want to ask, because as you and Tom and I have talked, you shared some things that were very challenging and encouraging to me about your heart for giving. Early in your marriage you decided to tithe, but you felt, early on, this was when you were making very, very little, that 10% was less than where you wanted to start. Could you some of the goals God has given you in relationship to giving that you would feel free to share. I think that will be a challenge to a lot of our listeners.

Jan: Well, when I look at giving, and teaching the whole concept of giving, the emphasis is not on the amount or the percentage; it’s the heart. God isn’t interested in how much we give. He’s interested in the heartbeat of our heart. So we knew early on that while tithing is a typical 10%, God had given both of us that heart to give, and we wanted to go above and beyond that. So we set out right at the early part of our marriage in setting an appropriate amount for us that we could answer to before the Lord.

Our goal every year as we go through the spending plan is to make sure that that amount has increased, regardless of the income coming in. There’s been some years where the income has gone up and some years that it’s gone down, but if we put it in our heart to do something significant, and, again, not the dollar amount, but the impact, the eternal impact, then we wanted to try Him, trust Him, believe Him for the things we couldn’t figure out. As long as we weren’t violating any of the other principles, to the point where we do have that goal—and it still seems a little impossible to me—where we can be giving away 90% and living on 10%.

Are we there yet? No. And is the percentage amount significant? It’s really not. It’s the heartbeat that God put in our heart that we continue to evaluate every year that spending plan in light of, “Does this allow us to continue to move forward to a level of significance where we are doing something every day that outlives us and will last for eternity?”

Nancy: Let me say, it’s not going to happen overnight. You didn’t get into trouble overnight, and I’m sure Jan can attest to this in your practice, that what took people years of bad habits, the holes that get dug, you don’t get out of those holes overnight.

Jan: No you don’t, but you do get out more quickly if you do begin tithing. I have seen that happen over and over again where God defies the logic of the financial plan by reigning control over all of the other areas.

Nancy: So don’t get overwhelmed with how far you have to go in this matter. Take the next step.

Jan: Right.

Nancy: Take advantage of some of these resources, some of the principles that you’ve learned from Jan and not only be committed to living them out yourself, but to teaching them to your children, to teaching them to others. There are people around you who are in so much bondage, depression, anxiety, fear, marriage conflicts and issues because they’re not thinking biblically about money.

Why did Jesus talk so much about money? Because He knew what an issue it is. It exposes our hearts. It shows what we really love. It shows where our true values are.

My dad used to tell us, and I’m sure it wasn’t original with him, “If you want to know where somebody’s heart is, what they really love, look at their checkbook and look at their calendar.” Isn’t it true? That’s a dead giveaway to what’s in our hearts.

So we want to please the Lord. We want to honor Him, but we also want to reflect His glory and represent Him well by saying, “This is my Father’s world, and all of it will be brought into subjection to Him, and we demonstrate that by the way that we use those financial resources for His glory.”

Jan, thank you so much for living out your mission and for letting God teach you His ways and passing those on, not only to your children, but to women and couples and others like us who are wanting to glorify God in this way. We are so grateful.

My prayer is that what God has taught you will be multiplied many, many times over, and that your legacy will not only be what you and Tom have done personally for God’s kingdom, what happens through your children, but also the many, many people that you will have impacted to think more to the glory of God in this whole area.

Jan: Then it will have been worth every moment of the investment, and that’s truly where we want God to return this multiple times over in His ability to do kingdom work. There is more than enough money transferring into the next generation to fund the great commission. So my goal is to get done whatever little bit God will allow me to do to be an influence in helping people capture these concepts and be a part of funding that great commission.

Leslie: Jan Thompson and Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back.

Let me help you take one next practical step in organizing your finances for God’s glory: Get a copy of Jan’s booklet Managing the Money Maze. It begins in just the right place: putting God first.

This booklet will help you evaluate your heart and your finances. You’ll discover the right place to start making helpful changes. You’ll study examples from women in Scripture and discover all they have to teach you about your finances.

It’s all in the booklet Managing the Money Maze by our guest Jan Thompson. When you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts, we’ll send you a copy. You can make that donation online at ReviveOurHearts.com. Once you’re on the site, you can indicate that you’d like this booklet, or you can ask for it when you call us. The number is 1-800-569-5959.

The Bible describes singleness as a gift. Often figuring out how to accept it as a gift can be a challenge. Nancy addresses practical questions about glorifying God through singleness next time on Revive Our Hearts.

Now Nancy and Jan will wrap things up.

Nancy: Jan, would you just pray for the women who are here and those who are listening to this program and ask the Lord to show us how to live out these principles and how to bring glory to Him in this area?

Jan: I’d be honored.

Show us Your way, Oh Lord, and teach us Your truth. We can tend to get overwhelmed when we look at getting started with this area of understanding biblical stewardship and our responsibility to You to answer for everything that You are going to entrust in us through our lives. But I pray that You will bring clarity, that You will touch that one area in each heart that is listening and stir up a passion and a desire to be obedient to You, to bring honor and glory to You, to be willing to address the hard things, to put boundaries around our lives so that we can evidence the fruit of the Spirit in an area that You know is such a tremendous area of temptation and weakness for us, particularly in the Western World.

I thank You for this opportunity to share just this little bit of time to reach people with the passion that You’ve put on my heart to understand Your Word in this area and to do something about it. Ultimately, Lord, I pray that everyone would capture that desire to move from survival through success to the point where we are living in a realm of significance, preparing to leave a legacy to those we touch, ultimately impacting Your purposes for Your kingdom work.

We love You. It’s such a privilege to be a little part of this. We thank You for Your Word, Your provision, the fact that You are the source and the supply of all of our needs, and we commit this time to You now, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Nancy: Amen.

Jan Thompson is a registered representative offering securities through Securities America, Inc., member FINRA SIPC, and advisory services through Securities America Advisers, 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.