The starting point for true wealth is dedicating all our time, energy, possessions and money to God. This affirms the fact that He is the rightful owner and we are simply stewards of that which He entrusts to us. A good steward makes wise investments and returns double. (See Matthew 25:20.) This means seeking wisdom and counsel for every expenditure.
Our purpose in life is not to pursue our own ambitions or wealth but to advance God’s kingdom and His righteousness among the nations of the world and in the Body of Christ. This is done by living out all Christ’s commands and teaching them to be disciple-makers. Jesus promises that if we seek His kingdom first, everything else will be added to us. (See Matthew 6:33.)
The Mosaic laws of tithing have been upgraded by Jesus to the laws of sowing and reaping. A sower has two bank accounts: one for his personal needs, which he keeps as minimal as possible, and the other to give away. God promises to meet the basic needs of a sower “and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness” (II Corinthians 9:10). When we give, God prompts others to give to us. (See Luke 6:38.)
Expectations of other people destroy relationships, because even the closest friends will fail. We also damage relationships by demanding our rights—Jesus laid aside all His rights in order to provide our salvation. When we give all our rights to God and He gives them back, they become privileges for which we are thankful.
To covet is to want something that God has withheld from us. Scripture points out that coveting is idolatry, because we look to what we covet for what only God can give, such as security, fulfillment, pleasure, etc. (See Colossians 3:5.) When we covet, we also cut off our way to escape temptations and fall into sin. (See I Corinthians 10:13–14.)
Successful businesses are based on a desire to benefit the lives of other people with goods or services. The more necessary the goods for living and the better the service is, the more successful the company will be. In order to serve others we must find out what their needs are. This means meeting people and asking the right questions
The secret of being a successful provider is not in taking care of our own needs and desires but rather in meeting the basic needs of others. The first and most important need that people have is to establish an intimate relationship with our powerful God. People are searching for the god whom they perceive as the most powerful. For this reason, Jesus declared: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations” (Matthew 28:18–19).
There are four clear purposes for money. None of them is for security, yet most people today are building up retirement funds for future security. If we try to use money for our future security, we will subject ourselves to fear, worry, insecurity, and the disciplines that come from the love of money, which is “the root of all evil” (I Timothy 6:10). By using money as it was designed, we will have true freedom and joy.
A slothful man will never be successful in life; however, the problem is that he does not believe that he is slothful. He can find many reasons for not working: “The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason” (Proverbs 26:16). There are seven major symptoms of slothfulness that we must recognize and overcome. If we fail, God gives us a final remedy for slothfulness in II Thessalonians 3:10.
Piling up debt on a credit card is a way of life for millions of people, but by so doing they have become voluntary slaves, for “the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7). When we borrow to buy needed items, we bypass faith and rob God of providing them for us in answer to prayer. There are at least ten Biblical reasons for not borrowing money. One of them is that by doing so, we presume upon the future, and as James warns, such presumption is evil. (See James 4:16.)
Many believers ask for needed items and do not believe that they received them because they failed to take the next steps: “For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:8). There are several reasons that would hinder God from hearing our prayers. These need to be identified and resolved.
Jesus promised a special reward for those who prepare a dinner for the poor and handicapped. (See Luke 14:13.) By learning about the needs of the poor and disabled, creative ideas are developed on how to help other people with similar circumstances. This process has been the catalyst to begin prosperous ventures.
A growing number of very clever people make their money by cheating other people out of their money. Their schemes are very enticing, and even the most intelligent people have become their victims. What are the “secrets” of their success? How can we identify them? What can we do if we have been swindled?
Advertisers are skilled in getting people to buy things that they do not need or can get along without. They employ two basic human motivations. Do you know what they are? Do you know how to build up mental and emotional defenses against sales pressures? If we really need something, there is a series of questions we should ask before we buy it. Do you know what these questions are?
It is common for friends to ask us if we can loan them some money. They explain their unexpected hardships and assure us that they will pay us back in a short while. If you give in to this appeal you will lose your friends, because they will suddenly become servants since “the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7). There are much wiser ways of responding to the request of a friend who sincerely needs some money. We need to find out what these are and faithfully apply them.
In the mid-nineteenth century, Oscar Burke, head of the U.S. Patent Office, stated, “Everything that could have been invented has been patented.” By being alert to needs and finding creative solutions, there is no limit to creating goods and services. Our goal in Embassy University is to train every young man how to support a family by the time he is sixteen years old.
The foundation of business success is being able to negotiate the best price. Wise negotiating is a win-win for buyer and seller. The buyer learns how he can help the seller be more successful in exchange for giving him a lower price. This skill opens up great opportunities to make money. Negotiating requires special skills and takes time, but the rewards are great.
“First impressions” are extremely important. We have only one opportunity to make them. The people who see us will form quick impressions of how attracted or repulsed they are toward us based on their perceptions of our appearance. We need to learn what responses people will have to the things that we wear. Many job opportunities have been offered to those who are well-dressed, reflecting good character.