People And Money: 5 Types Of Players –Part 1
– by Brett Johnson
Start by knowing where you are. Imagine having 15 minutes to pick God’s brain about money: what would you ask? Or, if this is too much of a stretch, what if an earnest young person asked you to tell them the key principles of faith-based financing in the same 15 minutes: what would you say? I have given this some thought and, in my view, it depends more on who you are than who Jesus is. Is this a relativistic statement? Why would I say this? Surely God’s truth is truth and applies evenly to all?
I published a book, 50 Principles of Faith-based Financing. Readers can rightly expect to gain wisdom from it for their financial present and future. I then began to wonder how I could boil these 50 principles into the top 7 or 10 tips that could change a reader’s view of money and perhaps their financial habits. Are there one or two principles, per category, that might sum up what Scripture says about finance? Or what question or two might unlock God’s intended plan for money? In the book, I break the principles into categories:
1. Sources of funds 4. Generosity & Giving
2. Uses & Nature of finance 5. Investing
3. Stewardship & Spending 6. Remedial action (where there has been financial wrongdoing)
This led me to thinking that there is not a “one size fits all” answer. Why? I have observed different categories of Christ-followers when it comes to the matter of money. I concluded there are four groups, and each has a particular lens through which it views finances, and will take away different things from what I say. Let me explain these groups a little more:
Planners are those who follow the basic principles of working hard, spending less than they earn, giving to charity, saving a little, and having something set aside for a rainy day. Theirs is a predictable life, and one that relies on faithful application of basic principles. Working professionals who are “Planners” prefer steady jobs over risky endeavours.
Pilgrims are the “water walkers” who have stepped out of the boat of predictable income and decided to trust God for unusual provision for their adventures. Some call this “living by faith,” but this is a misnomer in that faith is required for all four groups. Pilgrims are different from Planners, but not better. Pilgrims in the marketplace are often involved in entrepreneurship or “deal making” that may bring in once-off income.
Planters are those who work the system of compound interest, stock market investing, and property accumulation to generate either capital for reinvesting, or alternative (often passive) income streams. The extra capital they create is invested in noble causes, giving to charity, or investing in “Kingdom” businesses. They aim to leave a financially-fueled legacy. At a base level, however, they accept the reality of financial systems as they are, taking the good with the bad, and aim to use them for noble purposes.
Platform-reformers are a relative handful of people who see the errors of what they call “the world’s system” (which they see as being based on debt, excessive interest, fiat* currencies, and greed) and aim to reform the system as a whole. [*Paper money or coins of little or no intrinsic value in themselves and not convertible into gold or silver, but made legal tender by fiat (order) of the government.] These people are intent on returning to a more Biblical system, not just maximising returns from the current system.
What type of money-person are you? We will unpack this in next month’s article.
JOY! Magazine (February 2018)