EARNING | JAN 13, 2022

Financial Success in the Kingdom of God

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Leo Sabo

I've been fascinated by the many new and creative ways people are making a living these days. By using platforms like Etsy, Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube, to name just a few, many people are ditching the 9-5, climbing the corporate ladder, way of making a living. These solopreneurs, mostly the younger generation, are seeking something that the standard career paths cannot provide.

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine hosted the movie premiere of Playing with Fire. The movie is a documentary about the FIRE movement. Here's a definition of what FIRE is from the Playing with Fire website:

FIRE is an acronym that stands for Financial Independence Retire Early. There's a growing movement of people who are practicing FIRE principles and retiring decades earlier than expected as a result. Ambitious, often middle-income earners are using a simple formula of high savings rates (50-70% of their incomes) + frugal living (minimalism) + low-cost stock index fund investing (Warren Buffett's standard investment advice) in order to reach financial independence within a short time period — usually around ten years. For obvious reasons, FIRE is sometimes referred to as "the ultimate life hack."

The solopreneur and the FIRE movements have one thing in common. It stems from the desire to live life on your terms, not conforming to the standard path so many feel enslaved to. It's choosing to be your own boss, make your own schedule, and break free from the mundane, often unfulfilling work so many people perform each day to pay for the fictitious lifestyle that's portrayed through the Mainstream Media and Hollywood as the ultimate prize.

This ideology is growing and is becoming more appealing to many, especially to younger generations. I'm neither an advocate nor a critic of these movements. To me, these represent a different way to pursue a life worth living. I'm fascinated by the motivation behind these movements because they speak to a deeper issue, something we all long for; a life that provides us with a sense of freedom, enjoyment, and a deep sense of meaning.

For Christians, having a Biblical worldview is essential to living a joy-filled and meaningful life. For us, the Bible is not just a set of laws and rules to follow; it reveals the heart of God and His purpose for the world and our individual lives. It's in God that we find our purpose and meaning, not in the world. Jesus made a clear distinction between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world. By God's will, His followers are sent to be "in" the world, though they are not to be "of" the world (John 17:14-19). This reveals that the life of a Christ-follower should be distinctly different than those that are "of" this world.

Since the fall of man, the world has been subject to a different system and ruled by Satan, whom the Bible refers to as the ruler of this world. (John 12:31 ESV) Although the world was created by and belongs to God, the current world system is not of God. It's not based on God's laws and principles. It's why trying to find fulfillment and meaning in life by the world's system always ends in futility and dissatisfaction.

The enemy wants you to reject God and his laws and embrace the world system. If he can't do that, he will try to deceive you into believing you can love God and love this world also. Thankfully, the Bible tells us this is not so.

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." - 1 John 2:15 ESV

Loving the world means agreeing with and embracing the laws and principles by which it operates. The world system works on the principles of buying and selling. It promotes a non-ending increase of material goods, and its definition of self-worth is directly tied to our net-worth. How much we make, where we live, what we wear, and what we drive are a few ways that the world ascribes value to people.

In contrast, the kingdom of God operates on the principles of giving and receiving. God himself operates by these principles. He freely gives us all we need, that He might receive our love and worship. God offers us the most valuable thing He has; a relationship based on love, mutual trust, and generosity. Through His kingdom principles, we are encouraged to love others by sharing with those in need that we may increase in the only thing that truly lasts, human relationships.

Conclusion

The FIRE movement and the solopreneur approach to life are great pursuits, but only if the life achieved through them is founded in God's will and purpose. Success, by the world's definition, is no success at all. It's a tragic waste and a great loss of the potential and purpose God has put into every human heart. There is but one righteous kingdom that will last forever, and through our lives, we can reveal it to the world.

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