Finishing Well

December 2015 Good $ense Newsletter: Finishing Well

As 2015 draws to a close I have been thinking about the concept of “finishing well”.  What does finishing well look like?  Is it the number of people touched with the stewardship message and discipled toward a closer relationship with Christ?  Is it the number of events completed or resources distributed by the Good $ense Movement?  Is it the number of people that are now generous, living on a budget, debt free, saving for worthwhile goals, and managing their finances as an act of worship to God?

All of these metrics and others could be part of finishing well. But ultimately what kept coming to mind is the health of the relationships in my sphere of influence….with family, friends, and ministry partners.  Are those relationships getting stronger or weaker….expanding or contracting?

In the midst of this season in which the value of relationships is most clearly brought to our consciousness, we can’t help but be saddened by how much of our behavior prevents the deepening of those relationships. We over-busy ourselves and over spend ourselves – two sure recipes for relational neutrality, if not disaster.  We further complicate things by giving and receiving more ‘stuff’ that we really don’t need and often don’t even have the space for. And that feeds a vicious cycle.

The cycle begins with our accumulation of things which, because of the time spent maintaining, protecting, storing and worrying about them, robs us of relational time. The isolation felt as a result of the decrease of relational time leads us to seek solace in acquiring more things – which the culture says will fill the void we feel. This, of course, further decreases the time available for relationships thus fueling the feeling of isolation and… well, you get the picture.

So I encourage you to ensure that your actions this Christmas contribute to deepening relationships – both human and with Him whose birth we celebrate. Something I read recently will be a help to me – and perhaps to you as well. It said:

“It’s not your birthday, it’s Jesus’ birthday. So why don’t you give the gifts Jesus would most like?”

Those words impacted me. Jesus declared in his ‘inaugural address’ (Lk 4:18) that he had come to preach the gospel to the poor, proclaim release to the captives and set free the downtrodden. I’ve concluded that buying gifts for those who already have abundance probably isn’t what He would most appreciate.

He probably would appreciate giving a donation to a ministry to the poor in a friend’s name as our present to them. Or giving a child a sum of money – with the stipulation that they decide how to give it to someone in need, would probably also be a gift Jesus would like.

God’s call to each of us varies. But passive capitulation to the messages of our culture will not result in actions or gifts Jesus would “most like.”  May this Christmas find you the giver of gifts that are meaningful and true gifts of love (Jesus will like all of those!) And may you also be the humble and grateful receiver of nothing less than God’s ultimate gift of love – His Son.

Let me close by saying I hope this has been a wonderful year for your ministry and that 2016 will see it taken to new levels of participation and effectiveness. What you’re doing has eternal value!

Sincerely in Christ,

Sid Yeomans
President, Good Sense Movement
Transforming Finances! Transforming Lives!

Finishing to God’s Glory

Truths That Transform: Finishing to God’s glory

Finishing strong is an important theme in Scripture. Among the last words that Paul wrote were these to Timothy during Paul’s second imprisonment in Rome: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

Paul had seen strong finishes and not-so-strong finishes. He had been present at Stephen’s stoning (Acts 6-7) and had seen the finish of a life changed by God’s grace and given over to following Jesus. He had seen Stephen’s grace and forgiving spirit even while he was dying, and had determined after his conversion that he wanted to glorify God by life or by death (Philippians 1:19-20), written during Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome).

He had also seen what it looked like to not finish strong. He mentions to Timothy (2 Timothy 4:10) that Demas, who had formerly worked with him (Colossians 4:14; Philemon 24) has now deserted him because of love for the world. Imagine the effect this had on one who had suffered and was suffering so much for the Gospel. The way we “finish” – whether we finish well or poorly – affects more than just us.

The strongest finish in history, of course, was Jesus’ finish. He prayed in John 17:4, “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.” Jesus hadn’t healed every sick Israelite. No doubt there were many who hadn’t ever heard him preach. But the important thing was that he had finished the work that God gave him. And he finished his earthly life with a sacrifice that secured eternal life for his followers through time.

This time of year, our thoughts often turn toward finishing. How are you finishing this year? Have you grown in the ways you believed God was leading you to early in the year? What other “finishings” are in your life right now? Finishing a project? Finishing a job? Finishing a schoolyear? Finishing a relationship or maybe your time living in a particular location? What will your legacy be in the areas that God is bringing to a close in your life? What would it take for you to be able to pray with Jesus, “I have completed the work you gave me to do” in areas that God is bringing to a close in your life?

Good Sense Movement Team
Good Sense Movement
Transforming Finances! Transforming Lives!

The Diligent Earner

Biblical Financial Principles: The Diligent Earner

is one who produces with diligence and purpose and is content and grateful for what he or she has.

God established work while Adam and Eve were yet in the Garden of Eden. God invited them to join him in the ongoing act of caring for creation. Work came before the fall of Adam and Eve and is a blessing, not a curse. All work has dignity. Our work should be characterized by the following principles:

Be diligent; serve God.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord (Colossians 3:23).

Provide for ourselves and those dependent on us.

Those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers (1 Timothy 5:8).

Be grateful; remember from whom income really comes.

Remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18).

Enjoy your work; be content in it.

It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life — this is indeed a gift from God (Ecclesiastes 5:18-19 NLT).

Be transformed workers.

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart (Ephesians 6:5-6).

Earn potential, share excess.

If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good, hard work, and then give generously to others in need (Ephesians 4:28 NLT).