No. 198



There is not a day that goes by that I do not hear or read about some person who is having serious financial problems. The reasons are many but the end result is usually debt created by the unwise use of credit cards. We all know that its easier to hand someone a piece of plastic, and the power that goes with it, than to hand someone a one hundred dollar bill, especially one that we have just earned. At this point, I realize that what I am saying may not apply to you but if you, family members or some close friends are deep in debt, I want to encourage you to share this column with them.

Its by no means original but I have a formula for financial success that I can guarantee will work and its so simple that anyone can take advantage of it. Here Im not talking about earning money, but rather what we do with it after we earn it. This is the formula; tithe 10% of your income to the Lord, save and invest 10% and live on the other 80%. The first part of the formula, tithe 10% of your income is a commandment of God that is recorded in the Bible in several places but most notably in Malachi 3:10 where it says, Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and test Me in this, says the Lord of hosts, If I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until there is no more need.

There is much more here than meets the eye. When we obey this commandment we are placing our priorities in the proper order. In a very real sense, this is the reason this formula works. When we honor God by giving Him our first fruits, He will bless beyond all measure. I might add here, for most of my life I did not believe this and did not do it. However, a few years ago I started tithing and God has blessed me and my family beyond all measure. From a point where I didnt think I could afford to tithe, now I know that I cant afford not to. The more we give with a pure heart the more He will bless us.

I will be quick to add here, this is not the prosperity gospel that many people believe which says, give $10,000 and God will give you a return of $100,000. No, what Im talking about is giving to God because He is God and we love Him and because this is what He commands us to do. Once we get our priorities right, it is time to implement the next part of the formula, to save and invest 10% of our income on a regular basis. Talk with someone you know who is financially successful and they can help you with this. Over time, financial success will come to you and be a source of real satisfaction.

Now lets turn to the part of the formula where the real rub comes, living on the other 80%. This is really a psychological battle for most people who are in debt. Granted the people who are living below the poverty line have a real tough time but the formual will still work. But there are millions of people in our prosperous nation who earn in excess of $100,000 per year who are still deep in debt. Just drive through the most affluent neighborhoods in your area and notice how many of the homes are for sale. Many are for sale for valid reasons but many others are for sale because the occupants cant afford to make the payments.

In reality, there are so many things we dont need or have to have and most of us can get by quite easily on 80% of our income. If you struggle financially, I hope you will think seriously about the formula for financial success that Ive shared; tithe 10% of your income to the Lord, save and invest 10% and live on the other 80%. As you know, nothing worthwhile is ever easy but this could be the solution you have been looking for. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)