The first component of faithful stewardship is making money.
We must make it before we can manage it, and we must manage it before we can invest it. It all starts here.
The ways to make money are virtually endless, but there are important guidelines which must be followed in order to do it right, and for the right reasons. See How To Make Money for the proper perspective on making money.
The Bible admonishes and encourages us to work, to build, to plant, to tend, etc., and we are to do it all to the best of our ability. Providing for the needs of our family is crucial, and money is the main way we accomplish this. Making money takes work, it takes diligence, and it takes planning. As the saying goes, “plan the work, and work the plan”.
Employment – God designed each one of us for a purpose, and work is part of that purpose. Sometimes it feels that our job is nothing more than a chore. But it is, in fact, the very core of what sustains us financially, and a mere change of perspective can help you to see it not just as your job, but as your "livelihood”. No matter whether you’ve landed your dream job, or feel “stuck” in a job you dislike – whatever employment you’ve been granted --- work at it with diligence, excellence and integrity. Not only is this expected of a faithful steward, but it is a springboard for maximizing your employment, thereby boosting your income. Having a reputation for being a hard-worker, loyal, and trustworthy will propel you higher within your occupation, and perhaps even beyond.
Additional Income – this is a necessary component as a stop-gap between jobs, or to generate what’s needed to eliminate debt or build your emergency savings. Additional income could come from money-making hobbies, selling items on ebay or craigslist, picking up a second job for a while, hiring yourself out to babysit, mow lawns, or paint bathrooms, and even includes adjusting your lifestyle to cut expenses. Don’t underestimate the power that these “little things” can have on your ability to generate extra income! (For more on this subject, see Making Extra Money.)
Passive Income – this is the “work smarter, not harder” category of generating income, which includes investments, rental income, royalties, and such. This requires hard work initially, with far less work later to keep it going. It takes time and commitment to build up an income portfolio, write a book, invent a gadget, etc., but the long-term financial benefits are well worth it. Give this area some serious consideration, especially with respect to some of the other categories mentioned here.
(For more info specifically on investing for passive income, see Providing Future Income with Closed-End Funds.)
Skills and Abilities – the best way to maximize your income potential is to match your skills, abilities and interests with your employment. We have been equipped with particular aptitudes for particular endeavors. As such, we are happiest and most successful when we are doing what we were designed for. This sense of “a great fit” in our jobs naturally propels us up the employment ladder.
Entrepreneurship – this is taking what you know to the next level. Whether it’s a craft, providing a service, or buying a business, entrepreneurship is a lot of hard work, a huge commitment, and can provide extraordinary rewards. It is important to be careful here --- never look at being an entrepreneur as a way to get rich quick. If you do, you will fail. Building and running a successful business takes time, effort, patience, and fortitude. It's not for everyone. Some people are natural business leaders. Others are much better at focusing on smaller areas, not having to worry about all aspects at once. Evaluate this one carefully.
Today, there are opportunities to build a business online, making entrepreneurship accessible to just about anyone. It still takes hard work, commitment, and time to become successful. Recognize it for what it really is, and if you're prepared for that, then dig your heels in.
Finding Work – finding work can be tricky. When this is where you are in life, make everyone you know, even everyone you talk to, aware that you are looking for work. Put together a solid resume. Apply with a personnel agency in addition to becoming a job-finding sleuth, following every lead you uncover. This can be a discouraging endeavor, but it will lead to work as long as you keep trying. It helps to surround yourself with people who support and encourage you.
Spiritual Gifts – as mentioned earlier, you were designed for specific kinds of work and ministry. This includes natural skills and abilities, but also spiritual gifts. Some are gifted in teaching, others with mercy or diplomacy, or generosity. These gifts factor in to where you best “fit” in your quest for making money for your family. When your work matches your gifts, you know you’re doing what you were meant to do.
These are some areas of Making Money in a nutshell. The heart of the matter is, whatever income opportunities you’ve been granted, work at them with diligence and integrity, and you will succeed.
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