All posts by Kellye Johnson

Kellye Johnson is a Kansas native but currently resides in Oklahoma. She is a graduate of Langston University where she obtained a BA in Sociology. Her MBA with emphasis in accounting was acquired from the University of Phoenix. Kellye Johnson is currently Director of Financial Aid for Southwestern Christian University, but has worked at three different schools over her the ten years that she has worked in Financial Aid. Her positions as Director has enabled her to learn a lot about the higher education process and what a student should do to make the transition an easy one. Miss Johnson has also started a small financial consulting business just this year, Kellye Johnson (KJ) Financial Consulting that focuses on auditing and bookkeeping for small businesses. KJ Financial will also continue to help students and parents be financially savvy when dealing with higher education costs. She is also the Founder of Kurvy Kitten Women’s Clothing Company. To view Kurvy Kitten designs go to: www.Walkroyale.com. email address: kellyej@nouveauexposure.org

Saving Yourself

Have you ever thought about giving cheerfully to yourself? Change the way you think about saving and realize that it’s okay to give to yourself.

Sometimes the things we learn in church concerning money can have a negative impression on how money is viewed. Let’s review a couple of statements you may have heard. Money doesn’t buy happiness! For the love of money is the root of all evil! How do these statements make you feel when you read them? For real, take the time to think of what each statement means to you. Personally, they put me in the mindframe that money is evil and the demise of society, as we know it. On the other hand, one is encouraged to give cheerfully.  The Bible tells us, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (II Corinthians 9:7). Let’s explore how financial stability can actually enhance your mood and establish ways to reward yourself, as well as the importance of creating and continuing a tradition of financial literacy amongst your family and friends.

Evidence suggests that a myriad of factors are more vital to our sense of personal and life satisfaction than money. But evidence has also been mounting that our economic situation — especially our level of economic security — does indeed have a lot to do with the degree of happiness we experience in our lives. Now, some interesting new research sheds additional light on the role our financial situation plays in how happy we are.

According to noted mathematical economist, Christian Bayer, and his colleague, Falko Juessen, having more money is indeed related to happiness, but not in the way anyone might first suppose. Money may not be the key to happiness, but our level of financial security does affect our emotional and psychological well-being. It appears that we’re most satisfied with our lives when we have some confidence that our level of financial comfort will increase steadily over time and that we won’t have to kill ourselves to maintain that increased comfort level.

Planning to splurge or setting a goal amount of funds to save can create happiness. Research literature reveals that we experience the strongest positive emotional response when we make progress on our most difficult goals. Psychology today states, “Progress on our goals leads to more positive emotions and more satisfaction with life.” It increases our well-being. In turn, positive emotions contribute to our motivation to act. This is a win-win situation if we can “just get started.” Verywell.com says that Goals matter. Setting the right goals, having a plan to reach those goals, and following through on what is required to reach or maintain those goals, can make the difference between having a happy, fulfilled life or not having a life at all.  

Pay it forward to the next. Once you save to save yourself, share it with anyone that will listen, especially if you have children or relatives that are close enough to see you go through the process and start a new tradition. Expound upon one of the golden rules about giving and CHEERFULLY SAVE YOURSELF!

Be Blessed, Not Stressed

The end of the year is approaching and everyone falls into the familiar hustle and bustle of preparing for the holidays. The Bible tells us in, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life (English Standard Version).” If you are a believer, you know the story of Jesus’ birth and that we celebrate that birth during Christmas. You would think the season would be filled with joyous praise to our Heavenly father and the remembrance of the greatest gift to man. Matthew 2:2, in the Bible says, “Saying, Where is He who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him (ESV).” Unfortunately, this noble theme of Christmas has been transformed into a commercialized landslide of gift-giving and with that, comes a familiar mountain of DEBT! Analysts calculate that, according to the latest data, Americans will average $1,003 in debt stemming from the holidays (www.magnifymoney.com).

This is not including any previous debt from last year, current bills, or other debt one may have. To think that one or two holidays can add this amount of debt annually, is enough to cause warning and hopefully result in caution. My intention, is to suggest valid ways to battle this growing problem and help you save money during this time. Three major tips that will most likely change the debt game for you is 1. Crafting gifts, 2. Delegating portions of the dinner and finally 3. Choosing which parties and events to attend.

CRAFTING has been trending for almost two years. With the growing popularity of Pinterest and other Do It Yourself (DIY) sites; crafting and/or re-purposing items is a wonderful way to gift. Think about the likes and interests of your family and friends and find quick and easy projects that enable you to create multiple gifts at one time. Forget the old rules about gift giving that states you have to get each person a unique gift. For example, a specific Christmas DIY was the treat-filled slippers. I know for a fact that this gift is a treat for all because I’ve done it for both Mother’s and Father’s Day gift sets. I will purchase packs of small items that can fit inside the slippers and then choose the slippers for each person I’m gifting. I then fill the slippers with one item from each of the packs. I didn’t have to spend a large amount of money or time. Check out Pinterest, Weebly.com, Thespruce.com or Apartmenttherapy.com for gift giving or those lovely holiday decorating ideas.

DELEGATING the cooking is definitely not an easy feat. Can you imagine a grandmother delegating who will make her famous recipes for the holidays? Well, there’s one that has done this and it’s my MOM! Mother Jackie Johnson says, “I have one of my daughters fix the mashed potatoes, because she makes them really creamy, and she was chosen to fry the chicken because she can fry big batches and still make it taste delicious.” Mother Johnson goes on to say, that she elected “pie-fixing to daughter #3 because she is known for making new and exciting cheesecake flavors.” Our family is continuously growing and my mother and oldest sister usually man the kitchen, but with over 40 mouths to feed at times, it can get overwhelming. I’m glad they both realized that the amount of time and money is a team effort. Keep your favorite dish you like to cook and let the rest of the family help out.

CHOOSING which holiday parties, church services, or family events can also ease the strain of spending money and time while participating. If there is a Christmas program and a Christmas Eve service, it’s okay to choose only one to attend. If your family is large and you have to attend several services, members can split up and tackle the multiple programs in groups. Reducing the number of paid events you attend will lighten the load on your pockets. If a friend or organization has a charity event, opt to donate if the price of tickets are high. I’m sure they will appreciate the thoughts and efforts you have offered in lieu of attending.

Don’t let the holidays stress you or your pockets. Remember the traditional reason for the season and steer your family toward saving, rather than creating new debt for a day or two of celebration. Let us all be grateful for what we have and pray that we can start new traditions. This will, in turn, save money and stop the cycle of frivolous spending. God gave us a gift that keeps on giving everyday of our lives, why not follow suit?

Even the Score for Financial Freedom

Proverbs 13:11 reads “Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow (NLT).”

Dishonest money dwindles…let that resonate for a little bit. Really think of the words and picture the dollar bills shrinking in size to nothingness. Can you see it? Can you feel the panic at the thought of losing money? Now couple that feeling with the guilt of doing something wrong and you get a good lesson on ethics. It is imperative that finance professionals follow strict ethical rules because money or lack thereof can cloud a lot of decisions. This article will discuss some major cases that have fallen into troubles because of personnel or leadership failing to administer funds properly. There are many excuses for an ethical breakdown but being oblivious to the problem, intentionally ignoring the issue and greed are amongst the most popular explanations to describe unethical individuals.

A popular case in ethics occurred a while ago with Ford Motor Company. In the 70’s, Ford produced its compact car, the pinto. The Pintos were produced with faulty fuel tanks and the problem was actually noticed during pre-production crash tests. According to Harvard Business Review, “…Ford had rushed the Pinto into production. Engineers had discovered the potential danger of ruptured fuel tanks in pre-production crash tests, but the assembly line was ready to go, and the company’s leaders decided to proceed (1).” At first glance, it seems that the leaders were being malicious and scandalous in their approach but maybe their business plan and goals clouded their better judgment. Their poor judgment was the cause of many injuries and deaths before they put out a recall on the product but some argue that it was ignorance more than malice in their decision. The employees stated that when any questions arose the leaders would often tell them to review the business objectives and follow them accordingly. There was no active lobbying against the production with the faulty tanks people just followed the rules and did their jobs. In this case, if ethics were a bigger responsibility within companies instead of an afterthought; lives could have been saved.

There is an uncommon term called “willful blindness” that may be used by an organizational leader. This term refers to the leader knowing about information but “intentionally ignoring” said information. This strategy is often used by leaders in an attempt to gain the greatest profit from something that may be risky business but will keep their intentions pure. For example, Richard Fuld, CEO of Lehman Brothers perfected his commute to and from the office to avoid employees.

Lehman was the fourth-largest investment bank in the United States that filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008. So it’s easy to see why the CEO would want to hide; the company is accused of being involved in excessive risk taking along with allegations of negligence and malfeasance. Leaders of the 150 year old company not only ignored signs that affected the company but some think it help to spark the global financial crisis that happened in the later 2000s. This way of thinking has been deterred because legally an executive of a company can be held accountable for things not known but should have been known to him or her.

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” This passage found in I Timothy 6:10 (NIV) is quoted often but is shortened to “Money is the root of all evil.” That phrase is often thrown around in the wrong context but it’s definitely relevant when talking about greed. It’s simple that leaders of companies often lose sight of ethics in hopes of obtaining more money. One of the biggest corporate scandals was that of Enron. CEO, Jeffrey Skilling, had a way of hiding financial losses and other operations of the company and CFO, Andrew Fastow came up with a plan to show that the company was in great shape. These leaders knew what they were doing and no other explanation is needed other than their greed influenced their decisions. Not only did they hurt the company but their greed affected other investors and employees connected to the Enron empire. The stock began to decrease and the truth of the opening statement happened to them. Their dishonesty caused their monies to dwindle in the blink of an eye.

Financial freedoms and wealth are priority to many and can absolutely become a way of life but we must remember that anything good is worth working for. Use your knowledge and skills to gain the prosperity you deserve but make sure to include ethics in your accounting practices.

Funding Fun

I know what you’re thinking, “How can I have any summer fun if my finances aren’t expendable at the moment? I want to enjoy some quality time with the family and/or friends but I don’t think I can afford it.” Don’t fret and get into a financial frenzy. There are ways to have an exciting new adventure and stay within your allotted budget. Not only can you find deals in your city, but you can even get out of town with a few tips and tricks. This article will examine hidden treasures within you city, exploring the idea of mini-vacations and things you can do at home in lieu of a vacation.
Hidden treasures within your city limits may seem far-fetched but can be a fun way to get the family away from its normal routine. All cities have tourist attractions, museums, and amusement parks. Explore your zip code for those forgotten gems. Search for something new that you and your group have not experienced before. One example, is historical tours and sites. Most will only think of history during school and with that comes sighs of assumed boredom and less enthusiasm. Ignore those preconceived notions while getting online and searching for cool historical facts about your city. Get your group excited by showing and/or telling them stories about the past and maybe even find some type of connection with a relative or someone you know. There’s always museums and its tours if there isn’t a specific attraction available in your area. Just keep in mind that a familiar story or connection will only heighten the excitement of all involved.

If you have the itch to get out of town, you can still do it. Instead of booking a week-long trip opt-in for 3-Day weekend specials. Groupon, BookIt, and LivingSocial.com are a few examples of sites that advertise a plethora of vacation deals. Sometimes, a special offer is given for becoming a member or simply signing up for a rewards program or newsletter. Take advantage of all reward offers and watch the discounts and specials come rolling in.
In fact, Groupon is offering inviting romantic getaway packages that include trips to New York or the Caribbean. If those places are too far for you, Expedia has an application that will find getaways specifically 3 hours from your location. If you are already a rewards member for certain hotels such as Holiday Inn, they also offer 3 day getaways for reaching a certain number of points.

Vacation at home might seem lackluster to some, but can open up a whole new world of new possibilities, with little, to no additional costs. Take off from work and if you have kids, let them stay home and together you can work on new ‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY) projects. Applications such as Pinterest have spiked an interest in all things creative, so get on board and find projects that peak your interests! BoredPanda.com and Topdreamer.com are two sites that have multiple ideas to assist in decorating your home and organizing items. One cute DIY example is making a photo clock to cover one wall in a common room. This project involves painting the hands of a clock but instead of painting numbers to tell time, framed pictures will hang in their places. What a wonderful way to showcase a photo story of special family moments!

Everyone deserves a break and the summer months are perfect for relaxation and rejuvenation. Do not let your financial situation prohibit you from joining in on the fun. Innovation and initiative can go a long way with the convenience of technology that lives at our fingertips. Psalm 128:2 reads, “You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be!” (NLV) So reward yourself with a financially fun summer!

Female Financial Freedom

Being a financial guru is not for everyone, but learning the ways of the gifted can increase the likelihood of obtaining financial successes. Money matters rule the world, but few are privileged to gain knowledge for financial growth. One may assume that these matters are handled by men; but there are women who are just as savvy with money. It is no secret that women have had to fight the stigma of being treated unfairly in the work place. From not being able to get certain jobs, to being paid a lesser wage for the same job as their male counterparts. In honor of National Women’s Month (March), this article will applaud prominent women in finance while highlighting proven tips to reach financial goals.

Zaneilia Harris

Zanellia Harris of Harris and Harris Wealth Management Group is a profound financial professional. She created a “financial boutique” that focuses on advising, educating, and supporting professional women and their communities, to build and transfer wealth. Miss Harris is sponsoring a wealth retreat titled “Finance ‘N Stilettos,” that will take place April 27-29 of 2017. Harris feels that the black woman is, oftentimes, the breadwinner in their families but don’t have time to take care of themselves. The retreat is designed to provide a relaxed environment for women while learning about managing their money and investments.

This retreat will allow high achieving, professional women strategize their financial future and become the best, most prepared version of themselves. Participants will meet one-on-one, with a female certified financial planner, to learn strategies on how to make money work for them. While mapping out the ultimate prosperity plan, attendees also have the opportunity to network with other women and take advantage of full body massages, sample exclusive wines, and enjoy luxury shopping. Women in attendance will rejuvenate physically, mentally, as well as financially. More information about this awesome opportunity can be found at http://hhwealth.com/retreats/.

Michelle Singletary

A national syndicated columnist and well renowned author knows her way around financial burdens. Her column, “The Color of Money,” appears in the Washington Post on Sunday and Wednesday. She speaks of learning the importance of wealth from her grandmother who gained several economical wins with an annual salary that never exceeded $13,000. The early teachings of financial responsibility gave Miss Singletary a necessary advantage in the finance world. She is also the author of “The 21 day Financial Fast” that can be found at https://youtu.be/mmswAtbp6sY. The Financial Fast fashioned after the familiar “Daniel” fast is Singletary’s exceptional way of getting people to give up spending on things that aren’t necessary in an attempt to train in money management. Her passion speaks volumes about not only gaining wealth, but gaining it to further the kingdom. Financial successes will assist in helping others and the communities we live in. Singletary is also a media personality as she has appeared on the “Diane Rehm Show,” “Oprah,” “NBC’s Today Show,” “The Early Show on CBS,” “Nightline,” and CNN.

Sallie Krawcheck

Krawcheck, co-founder of Ellevest, “realized the investing industry has been, frankly, “by men, for men” — and has historically kept women from achieving their financial goals (www.ellevest.com). Ellevest is an investment firm built to help women invest based on certain goals and timeframes customizable to their lifestyles and incomes. The website advertises that women can start investing in as little as 15 minutes directly from their cell phones. The site is full of tools and descriptions that will ease women into creating portfolios and taking the leap. There is no minimum deposit and there are several pricing options affordable to women at all income levels.

Women have become the leaders of many households and have the responsibility to provide for their families. The job does not stop there, there are opportunities to drive women beyond providing, and step over into gaining wealth that can be passed down through generations. The way has been paved by the phenomenal women mentioned, but it takes ambition and discipline to follow in their footsteps. Don’t let fear stifle your dreams. Take advantage of the tips provided and put them into action!

New Cash, New You

The New Year brings notions of new beginnings. New Year Resolutions flood the timelines on social media and takes over conversations worldwide. The promise of a new era, a second chance or a “do over” excites the masses and often motivates people to tackle a certain goal or goals. According to a recent newscast on the most common New Year resolutions, “spending less money or saving more” is among the top 5 (www.abc7.com). It may be commonly said but how often is this goal reached? In fact, the same data showing the most common resolutions also shows the gross lack of follow-through. Why not make this year different? Proper preparation for achieving financial goals can almost assure success. Creating a strategy is the key to unlocking your financial dreams. A career in financial assistance has inspired me to design a simple plan for saving, called C.A.S.H. Calculating, applying, saving, then helping the next person is a roadmap for any financial goal.

Calculating

Don’t be afraid to calculate what money you need to save for your specific goal. It can be a very specific ambition such as saving $3000 for a vacation or as broad as saving $500k for retirement. It can be as aggressive as trying to invest or as simple as wanting to start an emergency fund account. The goal to simply start saving only requires one calculation, finding out the amount you should save each month. Look at your net salary or wages per pay period. Take the amount and multiply that by 10% and the total is what you can use to save each period. For example, John D sees that he takes home $1000 per check. He multiplies 1000 X 0.10 and that equals $100. John D will put $100 into savings each pay period. Financial analysts agree that individuals should save between ten and twenty percent of their net income. You can adjust the percentage to whichever amount you’re comfortable with.

Applying

After settling on the percentage amount, make mental and physical notes it. John D has figured he would stick to the 10% and writes down $100 in his checkbook. He also tells his spouse about his new goal; unofficially asking her to be his accountability partner. Once the amount has been solidified in writing, you should the decide on a time period to track your progress. After the time period lapses, check your savings and be amazed at the amount you accumulate in a short period of time. John and his wife decide that he should try this percentage for at least 90 days.

Saving

You have calculated how much to save and how long to save it for progress, now it’s time to put the plan to action. Next, you should decide on where to place the savings. You can open a savings account, put into a safe deposit box, or hide it away in a secret stash. As you get started, make sure you pay into your savings plan first. We often worry about paying other bills with the funds if the money isn’t stored away first. Treat your savings plan as if it were another utility bill and don’t forget to track your progress. John D gets paid bi-weekly which caused him to save $200 in 30 days and $600 in just 90 days! This motivates him to stay with the plan and solidifies his new quest to save.

Helping

Now that you have conquered the art of saving, it’s time to share the information with your friends and family. Share your successes and struggles (if you have any) with them. Matthew 5:16 states, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (KJV)
John D’s success energizes his spouse to start saving. They also implement a new family tradition and teach their children the C.A.S.H. plan when they get their first jobs. The plan can start with one person and actually strengthen the financial health of the entire family.

If “saving more money” has become a struggle; try something new this New Year. Adopt the C.A.S.H. plan and use it to enhance the new YOU!

Dreaming of a Debt Free Christmas

The holiday season can really become a burden for some families. Magnifymoney.com states, “between gifts, hosting parties, family emergencies, and for some, fewer work hours, it’s easy for debt to add up if you don’t have savings on hand. While the $986 of those surveyed added to their debt on average is a manageable amount, it can easily snowball (1).” In a time where building wealth and living a comfortable life is top priority in many households, the want to shower loved ones with expensive Christmas gifts does not fade. The Christian doctrine preaches that the “reason for the season” is to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior through charitable works and goodwill toward mankind, but it’s just words, if no real action is practiced. Christians can make an impact on the war against debt by simply leading with our faith. Family leaders can create new traditions that will promote healthy financial decisions and deter common debt occurred during the holiday season.

model: Alyssa Banister photographer: Emajhn Johnson
model: Alyssa Banister
photographer: Emajhn Johnson

 

Start shopping early. Striving for a debt-free Christmas does not have to mean a ban on gifts. One of the common fails of creating debt is families struggling to come up with large sums of cash to get gifts. Millions of people prepare for the Christmas sales, when some of the same discounts are offered all year. Catch the Valentine’s specials or the special coupons for Mother’s Day and purchase a few Christmas gifts during that time. Spreading the costs over time will lighten the load on your finances and decrease the need to borrow or charge large amounts to credit cards. Slow and steady shopping will relieve the stress of impulse spending and may even create a more pleasurable and economical giving experience.

Give repurposed gifts. Repurposing has become a hidden treat amongst the craftier people of the world. With the help of Pinterest, Instagram and other social media, recycling has become cool again! The key to this new trend, is to take old items and change them to be used in a way other than its intended use. Here are a few examples to try.

Turn an old picture frame into an earring holder. A person that loves jewelry would appreciate a thoughtful gift such as this. You’ll need some sort of wire (picture wire works really well) to hang your earrings on. Just run the wire across the frame and then hang up your earrings. This is a great gift idea for girls of all ages and you can run as much wire, making as many levels, as you want. If you have longer earrings that dangle, make longer levels.

 

Instead of hauling that old entertainment center off to the dump, take a couple of hours and turn it into an adorable play kitchen for your little girl. The center doesn’t have to be in perfect condition as you can reinforce anything that needs it and it won’t really be expected to hold much weight, anyway. Just a little paint and imagination are really all you need to turn that old eyesore into something that any little girl will get hours of pleasure from. Plus, it’s a great place to store all those play cooking toys.

Pay it forward. Charitable acts usually peak during the holiday season, but there is always room for more community service. Start a tradition of some special charitable act that your family can enjoy together. Proverbs 19:17 states that “One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, And He will repay him for his good deed.” Following the example of this scripture emanates the very essence of the reason for the season. The name Christian or “Of Christ” compels us to be the Good Samaritan. Find a local soup kitchen or church that is serving the less fortunate for Christmas. Utilize this time to create fun memories and instill a desire to help those in need along with the family celebration.

The burden of debt eats at our destined happiness and creates the type of stress that is not easily shaken. Refuse or release the shackles of debt, by adjusting habits and traditions and relax into financial freedom. Once debt is eliminated from the picture, a white Christmas can once again invade our dreams!

Gifts Do A Man Good

Are you a woman juggling several priorities in your life such as spouse, children, and career? The department of Labor Statistics shows that nearly sixty-two percent of all married women work both inside and outside of the home. With all of those things going on, how would one find time to do something special for the person or people in their corner? This article will highlight ways to make the man or men in your life feel loved. There are plenty of unique and financially savvy gifts that will make your husband/boyfriend or your father realize that they are the real MVP in your lives.

The significant man in a woman’s life takes on the role of best friend, lover, and protector. That is a huge undertaking and deserves great reward. Women should take the initiative to offer something special, something different for the man that plays the biggest role in their life behind our savior. A new idea that is gaining popularity is starting a savings account or plan for one of his favorite past-times. If he is a big football fan start an account that is strictly for saving the funds for an all-expense paid Super bowl vacation for him. What better way to show appreciation than to show responsibility and creativity for hard-earned cash.

The relationship between a woman and her father can be very special and gifts become harder to find after years of birthdays, Father’s Days, and other special occasions. There’s also the common phrase that Fathers will use, “I don’t need anything.” Men like the idea of leaving a legacy by making a meaningful impression on their children. Do some research with the help of other family members, if you need it, and make a life size collage of a picture storyboard chronicling his life! His chest will burst with pride as he marvels at the hard work and dedication put into something so lasting and timeless.

There is no doubt that any gift given to the men in our lives would be loved and cherished. Why not continue to step outside the box and think of financially sound ways to honor and show appreciation to our loved ones. The end result will not only cause satisfaction for the receiver of the gift but also to the giver. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, {so let him give}; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

Presssed Down, Shaken Together & Running Out of Reasons

There are so many ideologies, concerns, and expectations surrounding the most appropriate way to give but what is the correct way to handle the act of giving? Why must there be regulations and structure to something that mentions a free and cheerful giver? 2 Corinthians 9:7 reads, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” If God loves a cheerful giver, why isn’t simply giving enough to satisfy the requirement? The basis of tithing needs to be presented as a culture of pure benevolence instead of a race to fund raise blurry projects. Let’s discuss the basis of tithing and offering, what the instructions were for tithing, and how Christians should show the world why we tithe.

The Bible reference to sacrificing or giving begins in Genesis, but not as a commandment from God (Genesis 4). It actually tells of how Cain and Abel learn to sacrifice from Adam. The offering was that of blood and not from work of their own hands, they did not tithe. The first mention of tithing was a unique incident and relates to a specific person, Abraham. Genesis 14:20 reads “And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Abraham gives a tenth of the property to King Melchizedek as a gift for a recent battle victory. The tenth that was given was not his earnings or property to give they were actually spoils from the war. This incident was not described as a seed or as a payment in hopes of getting blessed, which is a popular justification for tithing and offerings today. This tithing happened once to the king; no other story mentions tithing from Abraham. Even in later practices tithing was an income for kings, more like a tax. These offerings varied with different cultures.

It is true that different cultures are expected to tithe different amounts. Some cultures follow the tenth rule but there were others that would tithe as high as twenty-two percent of their earnings. Although we have been conditioned to automatically think tithing means money; money or earnings are not mentioned as part of the act. Unfortunately, loose interpretations of tithing that have been and are being taught by some ministries have turned the act of giving into a concern and maybe even stress. Pressures to sow seeds or give specific offerings for the sole hope of gaining something in return seems awkward. How cheerful a giver can one be if he/she is tithing a certain percentage but not able to provide basic necessities to their families? If tithing is a requirement for salvation will those that are less fortunate miss their opportunity for grace, mercy, and or blessings? The answer is simple. No. Those that are able to give have a purpose for such gifts.

Tithing has a purpose. “At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes’ of that year’s produce and store it in your towns so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands,” Deuteronomy 14:29. Specific instructions that prove tithing and giving should not be a catalyst for a few stewards to be wealthy. The blueprint has been laid. Tithing is not law and not required to be saved but it is necessary to carry on the mission of Christianity. Worldwide leaders and evangelists need to re-evaluate their motives for heavy tiding and offering and be transparent to their followers. There is no law or shame in tithing a certain percentage, but a strategy and plan should be in place for these monies so that the mission of aiding the less fortunate is being followed at all times.

For the Love of Money

We’ve all heard and/or used the phrase that money is the root of all evil…

…. but realistically we need money for one’s most basic needs in today’s society. Money is used to pay for water, shelter, and food for example; so how could that equate to evil. The fact that you have money does not mean that you love it and having none does not automatically mean you don’t. The interpretation is where confusion comes in. The LOVE of money can be the root of evil; although extreme; it is relevant. This article will discuss some ways to realize when you may be IN LOVE with money. Are you physically affected? Has your passion for money ruined a relationship or your family life? Have you become greedy, you never have enough money?

Wanting to live comfortably and have the finer things in life is not a bad thing, but what will you sacrifice to have it? Are you so stressed about money that other parts of your life begin to suffer? Bill wants to take his family on a real vacation this summer but he knows he will need at least $3000 to cover travel and expenses. He got a second job to try and save up for the trip without bothering his wife, but money issues just seemed to keep showing up. He was so stressed because his body was missing the rest it needed because of the extra hours he was working.

The stress kept building and Bill realized that his health was beginning to fail because of it. He was making more money but it seemed that he still could not save the funds needed for the trip. So he was willing to sacrifice his health which could easily lead to his life, for extra money. Kudos to Bill for wanting to make his family happy with a vacation but it won’t be much of a vacation if he is too sick to go.

Has a relationship become strained because of some situation dealing with money? There are some people who will not loan or borrow money from friends or family members because of the risk of an issue arising.
Jane was one of those people that took pride in being independent and doing things on her own. Unfortunately, this caused her to be a target for her friends to want to ask to borrow money from her. Her best friend had a major car issue and begged Jane for the funds to fix the car. Jane agreed but only after her friend promised to pay the loan off within two months. After six months passed with no payment, Jane became angry and grew tired of literally begging for her money back. She felt that she did not have any other choice but to take her friend to court, which ultimately ruined their friendship. Their ruined friendship trickled over into their families and caused a lot of grief.

Can a person really be honest with themselves and realize that they have become greedy? Any amount of savings is not enough, even when bills become less, they still aren’t low enough. John grew up poor and vowed once he was grown that he would not live poor again. He became obsessed with money no matter how much he had, he always needed more. In his mind, he was simply preparing for his future but he didn’t realize that his constant search for money made people uneasy. Money was the first thing he thought about in the morning and the last thing on his mind before bed. It soon took over his life and he became very lonely and realized that loneliness was living poor in a much worse way.

Money issues are hard to talk about but it is inevitable and necessary to educate our culture about it. If anyone reading this feels that they are falling in love with money please talk to someone close to you. That’s the first step to fixing any problem; admitting it then getting some help to walk through it. Reach out to friends, family, or your pastor for help. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you need an objective person to simply help you sort things out. I want to leave you with this scripture:

I Timothy 6:9-11
“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.”