What most of us need is a paradigm shift in many of our lives areas. Mine happened months back when I came across Haggai2:8 which says, “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.” I live in a four-roomed house back home which had greatly conditioned my mind set and the view I had of myself. For a long time I lived with a poverty mindset, unable to break free from the limitations not only in the four-roomed house but my mind as well. My little sister was however different. She lived her life not confounded by the circumstances at home, giving generously and discarding every word, deed, or act that suggested poverty. We enjoy deep and long conversations together, yet on many occasions she would sit me down trying to convince me that we are not poor. We often agreed on most matters but when it came to the issue of money and poverty it seemed as if every word that she spoke entered into one ear and immediately exited on the other. She would tell me her plans; show me her visions on drawing, and in my head probably thinking…She is dreaming too much. Can’t she see the kind of house we live in? Can’t she believe our parents words when they say we’re poor? Cannot she see that this is our destiny?
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”~Proverbs23:7
One can be so rich yet so poor. It is all in the mindset. My sister and I usually received the same allowance every month but it always seemed as if she had more. She would host dinners, parties, buy food and stuff for others while I stingily clang on to my money. Giving only ten percent of it to church made me feel like I was more than generous and thinking that my sister was so wasteful. We would always argue about who likes money the most and knowing me, I would scream at the top of my voice trying to prove to her how much she loves money. She would calmly look at me and say, “Titi you are the one who loves money.” I was so blinded, so darkened, so deceived that for me her words were just a reflection of herself. I thought I was right and she was wrong, perhaps because I was born again, and I tithed and she didn't -perhaps that made me feel that I am way better than her.
“The love of money is the root of all evil.”~1Timothy6:10
The love I had for money though I was a born again Christian turned me into a real monster. When my sister cooked lunch and invited her friends over I would get so mad reminding her of how poor we are! I would hardly buy my loved ones gifts on special days and that prevented the expression of appreciation to them. I stole toilet paper at public places such as restaurants or campus because I didn't feel the need to buy one when I could get it “for free”. The bottom line is, somebody is paying for that tissue be it a sponsor or anything like that. I would do my groceries on the streets where they were much cheaper, yet not sustainable. I was so mediocre, everything that I bought was small- never planning ahead. I would take, and take, and take from others and felt that it was their responsibility to give me while I just received. I was deceived.
“The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.~Psalm37:21
“Give and it shall be given unto you: good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”~Luke6:38
"It is more blessed to give than to receive."~Acts20:35
"It is more blessed to give than to receive."~Acts20:35
My sister had gone to the States when I experienced a paradigm shift with regards to money. When I saw that verse in Haggai2:8, I asked myself, “If God owns all silver and gold, and He is my Father, then why am I still living like a poor person?” For the first time I was enlightened to my sister’s words when she continually strived to convince me that we are not poor, when she hopelessly looked into my eyes and said, “Titi, you are the one who loves money.” I realised that for too long a person can try convincing people about a certain truth but if those people are blinded, prideful, and deceived it will be of no good hence many of us need many events of paradigm shifts, moments where something just clicks in our minds. For me I experience those moments in reading God’s Word, reading books, flocking with people who add substance into my life, faithfully attending church and listening to my pastor preach week in and week out, and lastly being involved in church leadership where our minds are stretched to think beyond what we see.
Today, I'm a better person, I'm a giver and I'm not boasting about it because it is my duty as a Christian to do so. When Jesus talked with his disciples he said, "When you pray, when you fast, and when you give, do it in private and your Father who sees what you do in private will reward you publicly.” When he talked about those three things, he never said “if” but “when” and this demonstrates that praying, fasting and giving are the three primary duties of every Christian. I have developed a habit of giving generouslybecause I have seen how giving has opened doors even for my sister who is less enlightened about the precepts of God, yet unconsciously obeying the principles in the bible with regards to giving. She is prosperous, flourishing, and still continues to find a way to give. The bible says that he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed and I am seeing my sister continuously being refreshed.
When you’re a giver people may begin taking advantage of you. In my commune, I'm the only one who usually buys healthy food and everybody just comes to me and asks for them. I had to learn to press through the pain of giving away the things I like and faithfully be generous. "Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back." -Luke6:30. One day I said to one of my house mates whom I dearly adore, “You see, I buy healthy food and people just come take them from me.” And she said, “Yea, why should they buy them when they can get them for free.” I guess sometimes we have to be careful of what we confess. It was quite disappointing hearing those words from her but I realized that people will definitely use your good service of giving to their advantage and that could either stop you from continuing to obey God’s precepts or it could motivate you to give some more. Everything in life is a matter of sowing and reaping, if you reap generosity you will indeed sow generosity. If you sow nothing, you will reap nothing. You will continue being a taker, draining the life out of others as a parasite, and continue living in your small little space. You are unwise when you live to take away from others; you are destroying not only your future but your children’s future as well. All meaningful relationships will suffer because they will be based on what you can get from them. All life’s adventures will not be experienced because of the continual murmuring and complaining of how there’s insufficient money.
Here’s some life advice: Whenever there's an opportunity to give- do it whole heartedly especially in the things that enhance the kingdom of God. As a matter of fact everybody is investing their money into something. There are people who would spend money on a church conference ticket and there are those who would invest in secular music concert ticket. Those who sow into the church conference will reap the benefits of the church conference; on the contrary, those who sow into worldly events will reap the benefits of the worldly things. I have learned that if you sow into an event where drunkenness, lust, all kinds of sexual immorality, and anger takes place you have no choice but to reap those benefits in your personal life as well. We live in a spiritual world and many people fail to see beyond that and they wonder why things are not going well in their lives.
I got up one morning with these words of gratitude, “Thank You Jesus. I could've been a slave to money but you saved me.” I was a born again Christian, tongue speaking, home cell leader and all that but I still needed a paradigm shift. I needed something to click in my mind and open my mind set as how to approach the issue of money. In my church we are encouraged to give not only our gifts or time, but our money as well. Instead of being angry and thinking that the church is only after our money we discovered that the church has indeed removed the grip that the power of money had upon us. We were slaves but now we are free! Our minds have been challenged to think beyond now into the future, to see and plan things ten years from now, to give not only in the church but to those who ask and are in need, yep even those taking advantage, it is really not about them.
To every woman who would love to get married some day do not settle for a stingy man who just takes away from you. Avoid the disappointment and heartache of living with such a taker who would also use you to satisfy his sexual needs and leave you the rest of the day to spend time with his unmarried buddies! You want to be smart when coming to this and you have to wait in God with all wisdom and patience. People are controlled by the love of money just as I once was. They destroy each other because they don’t know why they are here, and the very things that they were created to rule end up ruling them. Break free from the power of money by giving generously, that is the only way. You start at an early age, you start when you consider yourself not having much... with the small stuff. You start today!