Matthew 4:19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
From the Desk of A.B. Ridgeway: Sometimes my loneliness gets the best of me. I sit in my dark room, with my head down, and just think. I wonder why God has placed me on this path alone. Unlike the prophets in the Bible, this separation from friends and family as he prepares my purpose is not a literal one but a mental one. Abraham was told to leave his family and country. Moses left the only family he knew in the great Exodus. Jesus leaves his family and comes back the Messiah. Noah separates from his people as he prepares for the flood. And in my heart and spirit, God told me, I needed to mentally separate myself from my peers. So let me discuss today's topic: The Surprising Truth About What I Do. As Christians, and followers of Christ, we are called to structure our lives, emotions, and behaviors, according to God's Word and the example we see through Jesus. Jesus was very direct when he was gathering his disciples. He didn't:
try to convince them with logic
spend hours talking about the process and his mission statement
develop Tik Tok dances (okay, the last one wasn't fair, but you get my point)
Jesus was very direct, authoritative, and secure in his capabilities. There is a story of when he is calling his first disciples in the book of Matthew: “While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers…and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.” (Matthew 4:18-22) You will be surprised by the number of requests I get to join my firm. Yet, when I start speaking about their faith and how we see our finances need to align with the Word of God, they slowly start to dwindle. When I quote Proverbs 21: 5- The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty. They become uncomfortable when I tell them that if you are not willing to at least give it 5+ years, then in your haste to get rich, there will be many detrimental mistakes that can be made. The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and the organization responsible for identifying recessions show that a business cycle typically lasts about 3 years on average since 1854! That means if you are looking for major results, and buying and selling in a down market, even if they are perfect picks, you won't see the results of those picks until you are OUT of that business cycle. I am not immune to this as well. Currently, the markets are down. But some of my clients have been with me for years, and they are so far ahead, even in a down market, they are miles farther along than if they would have put it in a savings account. Why do I bring this up? Because the strategy of investing according to the Word of God, seems unnatural because the unnatural has become so natural. The question I hear the most is "if I switch my investments to your firm, will the performance be the same?" Traditionally, this is a question that is not out of the ordinary, it is appropriate, and in most situations, it wouldn't be a problem. But in my case, they aren't worried about my expertise, they aren't worried about my investment knowledge, they aren't even worried about my tools and resources, they fear losing money, more than doing the right thing with their money. Maybe it is because people think, that if you do the right thing, you are going to suffer for it. It reminds me of that old adage "good guys finish last". Or maybe because they never heard of Christian investing and the fear of changing is scary because they are afraid of leaving the perceived "safety" of the group." I mean, when was the last time you compared philosophical investment strategies with your friends? When was the last time you quoted 1 Timothy 6:17-19? As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. Can you imagine that conversation?
Friend: Hey buddy! How are your investments doing? I made about 15%, thinking about picking up a few more stocks while the market is low, how about you? Christian Investor: They are doing well. Because of the growth in my account over the years, we have been able to give a little extra to the food drives that we serve on the weekends. We also were able to sponsor a few children to go on the Vacation Bible School trip to the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida. I'm not worried about it much. I just check it sometimes to make sure we are not overextending ourselves. When the markets are low we become more aware, and when they are high, we find more ways to give. What about you? Why are you investing? Friend: Uhhhh?... *** These are the situations, I want to put my clients into. I want them to discuss how their investments are changing their lives and the lives of others. I want people to discuss their impact and not just their profit. Trust me, I know, numbers are important. I would be naïve to think they weren't. My job is predicated on making sure that YOUR numbers make sense for your life situation. My job is to crunch numbers, do research, study trends, follow the economy, analyze your situation, bring in experts in specific fields, and bring you the best recommendation. Your job is to enjoy life. That is the surprising truth about what I do. I don't try to haggle, I don't try any marketing or sales techniques to close deals. And to be honest, like I said. It gets lonely. Because there are NOT many firms out there that structure their business as I do. And God has blessed me for it because I have the BEST clients in the world. Do you know how good it feels, when the markets are down to get a message from a client that says, "I see that it is down, but so is the whole market, make the changes that you need, I trust you" Or Having lunch with a client and you talk about everything except the market because you truly care about each other's well-being? Or Someone who says that they learned more about the market in my newsletter than they learned in school. All I can say is " To God be the glory" because it is you, who read my newsletters, and who send heartwarming messages that make this journey, less lonely. So if you are looking for a hot-shot financial advisor who wants to explode your portfolio to 200%, I'm sorry. I am not the one for you. But if you need an advisor to help you see your finances as a way to worship God, to be a living testimony, to be a blessing to others, and maximize your ability to give, then I am the one for you. I will walk with you and you will not be alone on your financial journey. *** Yesterday, I had you read the Parables of the Talents in the book of Matthew and jot down some ideas you had. In that parable, the Master got mad at the servant who didn't multiply his talents (money) but simply buried it, yielding no interest. What is a gift that God trusted you with that he would be furious if you just buried it and didn't do anything with it? I'll tell you mine. Patience. I think God would be furious if he chose me to be a fisherman of men and follow him, and I couldn't be patient enough to allow him to work. Unable to wait like Noah. Unable to wait years like Moses. And unable to wait like Jesus for 40 days and 40 nights. So today, my Tithing Titans and my Gifting Gals, I want you to focus on your gifts. When things get lonely...just know that God has a plan for you. Because when God said in Hebrews 13:5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” I believed Him! Until Next Time, God Bless P.S. If you are new to the newsletter and haven't subscribed or need to schedule your consultation. Be sure to click one or both of the buttons below:
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About the blog:
Many Christians struggle with the seemingly conflicting views about our faith and the pursuit of financial gain. They were taught that poverty was piety and that a lack of money was the only way to truly detach themselves from the love of money. Our blog debunks some of those claims, teaches you that you can be rich and righteous, and at the same time fulfill your obligation to tithe and give to the less fortunate. We are dedicated to helping you become cheerful givers by organizing your personal finances, providing investment tips to help you create wealth, and encouraging you to create a gifting strategy that will make your family and God proud.
Meet the Author:
A.B. Ridgeway, MBA (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the owner and Christian Financial Advisor with A.B. Ridgeway Wealth Management. With a decade in the finance industry, his goal is to give believers clarity around the most confusing topic in the Bible, money, and tithing. A.B. Ridgeway helps tithing Christians become cheerful givers but unlocking their money-making potential, so they can prosper and be the great stewards of the wealth God has entrusted them with.
This communication is not intended as an offer or solicitation to buy, hold or sell any financial instrument or investment advisory services. Any information provided has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but we do not guarantee the accuracy or the completeness of any description of securities, markets or developments mentioned. This is strictly for information purposes. We recommend you speak with a professional financial advisor.