In this article, we are going to examine why the "live within your means" mantra is now outdated advice that should be tossed in the trash can.
NIYI ADESANYA’S DEFINITION:
In the past week, I was privileged to be invited by a friend to attend a Conference organized by Pastor Ezekiel Atang’s God’s House of Refuge, one of the fastest growing new generation churches in Akwa Ibom State. It was a 4-day programme with the theme “Taking Responsibility”. A renowned speaker in Nigeria Niyi Adesanya was scheduled to speak the day I visited, Thursday Evening.
He spoke for about 2 hours expatiating on a particular verse of the Bible that is usually misunderstood and even abused – “But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.” KJV (Deuteronomy 8:18)
He gave us the Hebrew interpretation of the key words in the passage, namely: Power, Wealth, Covenant, and Fathers. For the purpose of our study, I am only going to concentrate on the first two.
He defined “Power” as “capacity” and “Wealth as “a force of men, means, and other resources”, according to the original Hebrew meanings of these words.
Substituting these interpretations into the definition, we would have something close to this:
“But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee (the capacity) to get (the force of men, mean and other resources), that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.”
This definition alone is enough to break some of the myths you may have harbored on wealth. First, it makes us understand that there is more to “Wealth” than money in the bank or cash at hand. In fact, money is not even mentioned. Second, it tells us that it is wrong to pray and fast for God to make us wealthy or “open doors of wealth” for us because that power already resides within us. It does not make sense asking God for what he has already given you, don’t you think so? He said “I HAVE GIVEN YOU…” not “I WILL give you….”
Which therefore means that if you are still struggling with your finances, the answer to your predicament lies within you. God, and to a lesser extent, the devil, have absolutely nothing to do with it. You are the one limiting yourself and allowing your beliefs to hold you down.
Let us break this definition down a little further according to the insights and divine revelation I received at that seminar.
When God says, He has given you “the Capacity” to do something, do you really understand what that means? Capacity means “the total amount that can be contained or produced, or (especially of a person or organization) the ability to do a particular thing”. It means that you have that ability within you to make it happen. God has given it to you already. All you need to is to obtain the appropriate knowledge you need to activate it and then you’re good to go.
At the same time, you are not expected to do it all on your own so that when “when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein….and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of (financial) bondage… And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.” (See Deuteronomy 8:11-20, emphasis are mine).
I am sure this is where many Christians get it all wrong. Some of them are of the belief that getting wealthy is actually bad because it will make one proud, pompous and eventually forget God in the long run.
Well, while this is true, I would say it is no cause for alarm because God already foresaw this, which is why he warned us in the above-quoted passage to be very careful when wealth comes and to always acknowledge God as the source of our wealth. The sooner you let go of the mindset that “wealth is evil in/of itself, the sooner you will open yourself up to the life of abundance that God has in store for every one of His children.
I think that is where the two rich men in Jesus’ parables of Luke 12:16-21 and Luke 16:19-31 got it all wrong. The Rich Fool in the first passage was accused of not remembering God laying up treasure to himself and not being rich towards God (vs 21) while the second rich man forgot God as well as his fellow man, Lazarus to the extent of denying him even the crumbs from his table. It is this pride of theirs that led to their downfall and destruction. Od is no respecter of persons. Wealth is not a license to forget God, live extravagantly and begin to oppress other people. God gave us wealth “that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers” and for us to multiply same for his glory (see Parable of Talents, Matt. 25:14). Expect more on this in the last segment of this series.
On the other hand, there are many rich men of God in the Bible that remembered God and used their wealth to accomplish great things for God and their generation. Think about father Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, King David, King Solomon and all the good Kings of Israel, to mention but a few. These are the people we emulate and measure ourselves to.
The Capacity to make wealth that God has given us is in no way something we should abuse. God has warned against that and there are grave consequences for forgetting God after we’ve become wealthy. We have to always remember that what “capacity” really means is that “with God- all things are possible” and you “can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth you”. It is not going to be by your power alone.
- FORCE OF MEN, MEANS AND OTHER RESOURCES:
I can still remember Mr. Adesanya saying that if he is suddenly dropped anywhere in Uyo with absolutely nothing on him, he can never be stranded. He will only make one or two phone calls and within hours, he will be on a flight to where he wanted to go. This one really made an impression on me. It goes on to confirm my saying that money is not all there is to wealth.
How is your relationship with your fellow man? How many quality people do you know? If you get lost, how many people will organize a search party for you?
In other words, what is the wealth of your “force of men”? It has been said that your Network is your Net worth. The rich spend a lot of time building their network and connections because they know that no one is indispensable. The poor on the other hand repel others with their poor mindset and negative outlook on life. They carry the impression of “a Jack of all trade, master of all”.
I do hear some pastors say that “the key to your destiny is in someone’s hand”, “pray for God to connect you with your destiny helper”, etc. These statements are true to some extent.
No man is an island. You can’t be successful on your own. You need “other people” and “other people’s resources”. These resources may include their money, knowledge, their own connections and network, etc. It is by creating and establishing a cordial business relationship with everyone that crosses your path that you can truly appreciate the beauty of “the force of men, means, and other resources”.
How do you build a force of men?
Start by getting to really know people for who they are. Get their contact details and know at least one or two things about their friends. Let them know that they can count on you anytime they need your help and imply that you want to be able to count on them as well. Watch out for each other’s back and keep one another informed of amazing opportunities that could be useful to yourselves.
Means is defined as an instrument or condition for attaining a purpose. This means that wealth is given to you to use for greater good, not as a status.
Other Resources could refer to a variety of things ranging from gold, silver, precious minerals, real estate, paper investment or other forms of income-generating asset.