by Damon Carr, For New Pittsburgh Courier
It’s been said that Christmas is the season where you buy this year’s gifts with next year’s money.
During a Sunday service, pastor Michael Smith of Destiny International Ministries made a comment, “Christmas is the only holiday where people go broke!” As a financial columnist this peaked my interest—so much that I asked him a question. “How do we place Christ back into Christmas?”
He answered, “I believe that the world would be a lot better off if we could learn to place Christ back into the heart, soul, and mind of the people of this earth. Colossians 1:27 says, ‘To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery which is CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory.’ If we can learn how to get Christ back into our lives then we can learn how to live, act, walk, talk, think and be like Christ.”
His comment left me with a lot to reflect on. I began to wonder why people purchase gifts for other people on Christmas. If it’s Christ’s birthday, shouldn’t Christ be the recipient of gifts? What can you give a person who owns everything and wants for nothing? My questions were quickly answered by recalling tidbits Pastor Mike has made during other sermons. It turns out that the greatest gift that we can give Christ is actually a gift to ourselves. Christ’s goal, mission and purpose in life is to get us “the lost sheep” in one accord with our father. That’s why we say The Lord is my shepherd. The very definition of a Christian is one who is crystallized into oneness with God. Wouldn’t it be nice if you and I can say like Christ said, “I and my father are ONE?” David, the author of Psalms says, “You are all gods, Children of the Most High God!”
Since I’m a financial columnist, you may be wondering what does any of this have to do with finances? It has everything to do with finances.
I don’t know about you but I don’t serve a BROKE God. Furthermore, there are over 800 scriptures dealing with the subject of finance. A careful study of the Book of Proverbs will award you a doctorate degree in finance. The best financial scripture in my opinion was stated in Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” The late Larry Burkette, founder of Crown Financial Ministries, says that this scripture means that you spend your money based on your priorities. In other words, if I was to review your check registry, I can tell you what you value most and what you value least.
Personal finance is more about character makeup behavior, and personal preferences than it is mathematics. Debt is a symptom. Overspending is a character shortfall and the root of most problems associated with debt. Being broke is a combination of making too little, spending too much, or not properly managing your income and expenses — thus creating a shortfall. Jesus is about correcting all of the shortfalls in all of us. Regarding overspending, in the book of Luke 14:28-30, it reads, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, “This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.”
Sounds like this scripture is talking about the importance of having a budget before you spend money on building a tower. It’s foolish to start and not be able to finish because you didn’t estimate the cost. So it is with Christmas. We know Christmas comes on December 25th every year? It’s important to sit down, estimate the cost so that you don’t end up BROKE or worse, DEEP IN DEBT buying Christmas gifts. Last week I shared an article Titled “How to avoid DEBT while Christmas shopping this year.” Be sure to read it.
To be more Christ-like is to take on the characteristics of Christ. I asked Pastor Mike to share some of the characteristics that makes Jesus such a noble being. Here is what Pastor Mike had to say:
“I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some of the outstanding qualities about Christ that made him a man worthy of following and emulating.
Jesus Christ was known for His passion and zeal for life, for His Father, for the word of God, and for the people He was called to serve. The word zeal comes from the Greek word zelos and it means to be hot, fervent, strongly committed, to be passionate. Albert Einstein once said that I would rather be a failure doing something I love than to be a success doing something I hate.
I have good news for you. If you are passionate about anything in life and you have a zeal for that thing, you never have to worry about being a failure. When you are passionate, you’re focused, powerful, and determined without even having to try. Your body, mind, and spirit are working in unison towards the same goal.
Christ was a man of passion and zeal. His goal was the Cross of Calvary which opened the possibility for Christ to come into you.
Remember: The Perception of your Purpose Produces Passion, the Pursuit of your Purpose Produces Patience, the Possession of your Purpose Produces Peace and Prosperity.”
Damon here: Happy Holidays! Instead of breaking the bank this Christmas, why don’t WE break the bad habits and character shortfalls that’s causing US to go Broke and keeping US from OUR purpose in life.
(Damon Carr, Money Coach can be reached at 412-216-1013 or visit his website at www.damonmoneycoach.com)