Occupy Economically: Positioned For Opportunity


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I’ve found two extremes among Christians when it comes to money. There are those who hold to the prosperity gospel. They believe that faith, positive speech, and donations to Christian ministries are all you need to increase your material wealth. On the other extreme is what may be called the spiritual gospel. Proponents believe that Christians should never be concerned about material things like wealth and should instead be focused only on spiritual things, leaving God to care for their needs.

I believe both teachings have led to terrible consequences. 50 years after independence, most people in Sub-Saharan Africa are on survival mode when it comes to money. We live from hand to mouth. We are in our economic infancy, both nationally and personally.

We primarily operate as recipients of donor aid – or in the best-case scenario, as consumers of other people’s goods, making others wealthy through our spending! But that was not what God intended for us. His ‘full-life’ promise was not given only to non-Africans! Let’s read Luke 19:11-27

One of the interesting things I’d like you to note today is that every single servant got the same mina. There’s a powerful lesson here. God gives all of us opportunity. The bible says in Ecclesiastes 9:11The race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong nor bread to the wise nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all’.

Opportunities show up numerous times for all of us during our lives but we often miss them because of ignorance or lack of preparation. The 10 servants each had exactly the same opportunity, but only two made something out of it. This is the year of opportunity. Help me ask your neighbor this question… Are you positioned for opportunity?

Do you recognize any of my friends…

1. Broke Brian: I don’t earn much yet; I don’t have a lot of money to be able to invest! (And you know I have to dress for success – swag costs!) Wait until I earn more to start saving.
2. Confused Clare: I don’t know where to start It’s too complicated! I ask my friends once in a while what’s going on and if I get someone who seems to know what they’re doing, I give them my money to invest for me.
3. Busy Bernard: I don’t have the time to follow what is happening in the interest rates, in the economy. My life is too hectic already to get the time to learn about money markets, investments, etc And anyway, I have time to do this later – still young!
4. Fearful Frida: I’ve had it with investing! I tried putting some money in several things. Shares, Sasanet etc and none of them worked out. In fact I lost a lot of money!
5. Comfortable Collins: Money doesn’t bother me. I’m just not excited about it! My friends always talking about buying plots and shares but I feel I have all I need.

I believe this passage reminds us of some of the most basic principles to position us for opportunities.

First is the OWNERSHIP PRINCIPLE. It’s clear right from the beginning that the owner of the money was not giving the workers this money randomly. There was a very clear purpose behind his investment in them. And it was only for a limited period of time. It was very clear that he expected to return home and that when he did, he would expect an accounting for his money. This is the fundamental principle for kingdom money management. When you begin to understand it, it changes everything! Every cent we have comes from God and belongs to Him.

God has given it to us to fulfill His kingdom purpose and will expect an accounting for it! Part of that purpose is to provide for our family but how many know that God’s purpose is much bigger than just our pockets! Now, it’s easy to say we agree with this principle but your first instinct with the 5m says something totally different! So be honest now, are you positioned for opportunity?

The second principle is the RETENTION PRINCIPLE. Seven of the servants seem to have been indifferent to the master’s wishes. They squandered his money and went about their own business. They didn’t even retain the master’s capital but spent it. In the process, they acted no different from his enemies and were most likely judged along with them. The lazy third servant at least recognized that the purpose of money was not just to be spent. God will not give you much when he knows you will consume everything anyway!

Why isn’t God blessing some of us? It’s called SWAG! A consumer mentality means that we increase our standard of living every time we receive an increase in our wages or returns. This year, I dare you to refuse to live a consumer lifestyle! Are you positioned for opportunity?

The third principle is the MULTIPLICATION PRINCIPLE. The 3rd servant just retained what he had been given but that was not enough. Listen to his master’s critique ‘Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’ Some of us may not be consumers but we like having a fat bank account. We feel safe just knowing that money is there. But money, just like a seed is meant to be multiplied. It cannot be stored but rather needs to be put to work.

The wealthy know the difference between assets and liabilities. An asset is something that puts money in your pocket, while a liability is something that takes money out of your pocket! The wealthy buy assets and increase their opportunities while the poor buy liabilities or keep money in their account. Are you positioned for opportunity?

God does not promise to give wealth but he promises to give the power to create wealth. Deut.8:18 says ‘remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth’. I read a quote that I liked ‘your bosses job is to give you a job, but it’s your job to make yourself wealthy!’ Some are still waiting to get a pay-rise so they can be wealthy.

Here’s a curious principle that we learn from the servants… Money will always leave the hands of those who don’t use it well and come to the hands of those who know how to multiply it! If you have not trained your hands to be skilled in using money, then your money won’t stick to them but will instead flow to others. Are you positioned for opportunity?

The final principle is the FAITHFULNESS PRINCIPLE. Something very interesting happened at the end of the story. When the king gave the unused mina to the servant who already ten already, some questioned the fairness of his action. ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’ Basically what they were saying is, isn’t it unfair to give him more when he already has so much? But the master knew exactly what He was doing. God’s rewards are on the basis of faithfulness, not fairness!

Nigerian author Chika Onyeani states that the African immigrants are the most educated immigrant group in America. Yet despite having such a strongly educated class both abroad and locally, the lack of moral accountability among the African elite means that whenever we have money in our hands, we use it to make our own lives better. The result of our consumptive lifestyles is a continent that remains in economic enslavement, while our vast resources only make others richer!i

The interesting thing is that for most of the first 2000 years church growth, economic change and development followed the spread of the gospel. In Deuteronomy 15:4, Moses had taught that Israel was to have no poor, and the early church took this seriously and dealt with poverty among members as one of it’s earliest agendas. The Protestant Reformation in the 16th Century led to a rediscovery of the individual’s responsibility before God and resulted in what is known as the ‘Protestant Work Ethic’.

For example in early 17th Century Norway, evangelist Hans Nielsen Hauge worked his way from one desperately poor village to the next. As he planted churches, he also taught biblical business practices and helped new converts start business. Not only did people get saved but an economic revolution started across his nation. Others did the same (e.g. John Calvin in Switzerland) and through the efforts of such, Europe’s economy changed dramatically.

This is a far cry from the fruit the gospel has produced over the last century in Africa! 2/3 of the world’s poorest 40 nations are African; including 8 of the poorest 10 nations! With the growth of Christianity, people have become poorer and the moral and social fabric of society has continued to disintegrate fast. As Prof. George Kinoti says in his book ‘Hope for Africa and What The Christian Can Do’, ‘Christianity is clearly not making a significant difference to African nations’

I believe Africa today is hungry for a holistic kingdom gospel. Rom.8:29 says ‘The creation groans in eager expectation for the sons/daughters of God to be revealed’. Children need to be educated, poverty eradicated, families reunited and resources to be well managed. Africa is waiting for you!

You may be praying that God gives you a financial breakthrough this year. But what are you doing right now with the money He has already put at your disposal to extend His kingdom? Which poor children are you educating? Who are you pulling out of poverty as a family? What kingdom goal are you contributing to? As we learnt last week, God rewards faithfulness with what you have in your hands today! Are you positioned for opportunity?

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22 Responses to “Occupy Economically: Positioned For Opportunity”

  1. Pastor?
    Four principles, all thumbs down?
    A squanderer?
    A slave?
    I can even add thief or con woman Ouch! of the kingdom b’coz ,surely what do we call me when i tithe sometimes and not others?

    I take my salary as my own, use it for swag and climb with class as the salary dictates….i look like i have it going, but like your surgeon pal, if i dropped out of employment this minute,all i would have to show my master out of the mina? ha!!!(a very tensed ha!!) would be pairs upon pairs….breath with me,… upon pairs of shoes! having eaten the seed straight from the bag to the shoe rack!

    As i speak am looking at my shoes, and they are more than i will ever need in this lifetym and the next all in the name swag?….

    I dont know if you had seen me this morning? because i passed by my ATM to get a statement…the figure left me smiling…Me? wicked lazy servant….thumbs down!!
    I needed help and i still do need coz its a journey from slavery to occupier..i did not even stand to confess, not because, i had thumbs up but my knees were weak! suddenly my seed(read shoes!!!!) could not support my weak knees, i have never felt so poor!

    I will defy swag this year and atleast make one needy person smile…so help me God

    Pastor, Though pushed out of my comfort slumber, am so glad b’coz jubilee wont be delivering me when my seed is on my feet! i need to be faithful to my master with His Mina before he takes it and give it to the haves…woooi!

    Mavuno is a God send church
    God is blessing the city through us..

    Njeri

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  2. good sermon

    apart from the part he calls the OCUPY WALLSTREET movement an ‘easy answer’

    that was waaaay below the belt. way way below.

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    • I don’t think he meant it as an easy answer where the hurting folks in the US are not hurting or making a difference. I think he meant it’s an easy answer as opposed to changing reckless spending habits (which the American middle class is notorious for, and ironically the upper class isn’t; example Warren Buffet’s lifestyle). In my opinion, the American middle class has spent itself into deep debt then looks for a scapegoat in the 1%, Washington and Wall Street.

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  3. Reblogged this on mathugz.

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  4. thats a great message,Gog bless and give you more insights of His word

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  5. This definitely comes at the right time. My new years resolution is to be honest with God & I figure occupying with my time & talent is the bottom line of being honest with my God. Well done, good & faithful servant -Pastor M, for sowing your seed on this hopefully fertile ground!

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  6. Hi Pastor!

    Really awesome message there, been listening to it over and over and also referred it to some of my friends….however I am in a dilemma. Last year I started a business ‘na ikanichoma sana’ but I did not give up but chose to reinvest over and over again. I only made few success stories…Pastor am willing to invest in an all round aspect i.e. not just for myself but as a good steward of God’s wealth…but why is it not working???

    PS1: I tithed even with losses!
    PS2: I helped pay school fees for one of my worker’s son who was in form four

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    • @kim, pole sana for your business misfortune. A large % of small businesses fail within the first couple of years. The maxim is ‘high risk, high return’, and business is one of riskiest forms of investment. I encourage you to find a business mentor and recommend the book ‘EMyth’ by Michael Gerber as a virtual mentor. You didn’t talk much about this but if not doing so, I also recommend that you also learn to save regularly and invest in less risky forms as well (if not first) e.g. a money market account, a piece of land in a growing area etc – to build up you capital for future investments.

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  7. fannymwaka Says:

    I’m one of the people who invest through savings, and it’s not easy especially if you have a big family depending wholly on you.How do you become like the 1st servant with the 10 mina? My issue is not a reason for me not to occupy, I want to make a difference.

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    • @fanny, I feel you and know that there are many others in your situation. James 1:5 says that God will give you wisdom if you ask for it so that’s a great first step. As a family, you must figure out ways to increase income and/or cut expenses! I believe part of the answer lies in seeking God’s help to create solutions that help others in the family carry a share of the financial responsibility, no matter how small. But I would also counsel you to learn to put aside 10% of your income as an inaccessible savings, paying it out first like it isn’t yours in the first place. This is the ‘seed’ that will in the future multiply to provide for your family. As I’ve taught before, ‘No seed, no harvest’ – check out that sermon from Sep 17th/18th 2011 on this blog.

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  8. Anonymous Says:

    Prior to this series, I never really understood what it meant by to whom much is given, much is expected. Now I know better 🙂 and will strive for better.

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  9. The Gospel is “salvation through the kingdom of God.” It is an error to separate salvation and God’s kingdom; it is an error to emphasize one at the expense of the other!

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    • @JohnKigada – I prefer to say the Gospel is ‘the kingdom of God through salvation’. Point noted though – it’s impossible to separate the two! We must however remember that salvation (though critical AND necessary) is only the first step – the door to the life of the kingdom.

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  10. work in pogress Says:

    This sermon was, well, a bubble burster for me.
    When it first began I had my thumb up high because when pastor M asked about what I would do with Ksh 5M & I immediately thought of giving it for God’s work before anything else. I stopped feeling so smug somewhere along the sermon when I realized that my attitude towards giving may have been because I am a Comfortable Collins. I have no qualms about giving, its only money anyways, big deal, I will get more. In fact, I really have never understood what the fuss is about money. even when am “broke” I’m still happy.

    So I’ve always had the mindset of “so long as i have a well paying job, a decent bank balance, a comfy house with necessary conveniences, as long as I can afford to take my kid to an upmarket school. As long as I and afford chinese, nyamachoma at Olepolos like this, a car, an expensive hair-do and suit, tithe (every now and then (cringe!), I’m home free.” Like that’s what I went to school for, right? I’ve been putting off investing for later when am older in spite of me being highly educated and exposed enough to know better. I have been living a consumer lifestyle at best and have been able to maintain it somehow.

    I feel so shallow all of a sudden and my fake modesty and self righteousness about being the “grounded one ” in my clique has suffered a rude shock.(apparently I’m the simpleton, who even goes to church kiasi & is the most sufficiently philanthropic and charitable of my friends) I digress.

    Thank God and Pastor M for this sermon. I realize now that I have been misusing my masters resources. That I may have passed up opportunities due to my ignorance in thinking that God given and owned resources are mine own to squander as I please. I will strive to change my apathetic attitude towards money,typical consumer lifestyle,and I pray for wisdom n God’s in helping to manage His resources in the way that is right and the way that He expects me to; and one day influence my buddies into doing the same. Amen.

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  11. Didn’t know I could cringe that much in a span of 1 hour!! Yaani, i’m feeling shame on me!!
    On all the four principles, it was thumbs down like gravity just had to have its way.

    I have zero savings, I always start some sort of saving scheme and pull out after an average of 3 months of saving, i buy shoes like almost everyday, (and feel elated when my colleagues say i got taste!! talk of swag huh!) i’m the true definition of an impulse buyer,only 25 years old and in debt!!! and the list goes on and on and on….. I think i’m a combination of all the above broke, confused,busy,fearful & comfortable….woooiiiii

    This point….”Money will always leave the hands of those who don’t use it well and come to the hands of those who know how to multiply it!”….was such a “light bulb” moment for me,enyewe i’m doing so badly. I need help.

    Thank you Pastor M for this eye opener. Ive purposed to embark on this journey, being faithful with the “little” he has given me coz i don’t want to continue robbing God of what He has so FAITHFULLY given me.

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  12. Sometimes what we need is someone to give us a slap on reality check. Thanks pastor for the message, atleast you have opened my eyes to see where I was going wrong

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  13. wkthegospel Says:

    The “Occupy” sermon message is a wake up call, especially to all young people. For if we apply these principles in our lives we are destined to finish well in latter years. Take for example, principles like ownership, retention, multiplication and faithfulness:-)

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    • JENNIFER NYARUAI NGATIA Says:

      This is very true ,very real .the sermon was meant for me and I pray that the Almighty God gives me the strength to defy swag .It is not easy on my own given the pressure that is usually around us from peers and sometimes family.take for example the temptation to buy every latest phone just to fit in and the list is endless…

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  14. Talking to God is something I’ve always done. I grew to believe, he is my instinct. The voice inside that told me what to do. what was right. Concerns of my probable insanity, drew beyond questions. So this year I began by urging the Lord, to speak more clear/simply, to me, and just let me know the plans (if any) set out for my life. The sermon was an absolute God send, in every way. In deed Gods plans are in action. Not only did I get the job, promised by, -Oh yea faithful-; (last weeks sermon), but knowing how to control every single coin, and merciful blessing, I am all that stronger, wiser and absolutely sane.
    thx b2 God and Pastor M

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  15. […] Edit: For context, check out the Occupy Economically sermon here […]

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  16. Wangari Mwaura-Smith Says:

    What a revelation….have to get my husband to either read or watch.
    Thank you for a timely word.
    Wangari

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  17. HEWILLCHANGEME Says:

    What? Im bila words for the sermon notes which I just read.I didn’t attend that sermon, isn’t technology great?
    I’m a hoarder. I feel good, kinda safe, knowing there is cash in my account
    Only this morning I was asking God to reteach me about money,seeing as I love it so much (let me just confess). You see, I’ve lost so much cash,mainly because of what I now see was pathetic judgment and decisions in my attempts to get rich or invest in this or that. I didn’t consult God either on how to utilize what He’d given me. I don’t care much for swag.I don’t go out of my way to impress anyone so I view myself as living a simple life. but this morning I realized that all the cash I have lost is a message to me – relearn money management principles from God’s word – and I knew this blog was a good place to start relearning!!!!!!!
    so in short Pst. M, the sermon was very relevant to me.
    This year going forward I will trust God to teach me how to master money and use it for His glory, and not use it to give me a false sense of security that didn’t last anyway.

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