September 03, 2014

Mistakes leaders Make #6: Faithless Frugality replacing Fearless Faith

I know, coming from a Chinese guy this might seem like a contradiction. I have been taught about the value of every peso and I was raised frugally by parents who came from a poor background. I have seen how they work so hard to achieve financial success in the world. And now as a pastor, I tend to put some of the business practices we do in church. Nothing wrong with our frugality but the question we have to ask all the time is:

Is our frugality based on fear or faith? Is our vision based on fear or faith? Is our spending based on fear or faith.

There is a saying that says: “Ships are safe in the harbor, but that’s not why ships are built.”

So true. When there was an opportunity for our church to expand in Greenhills – I had to wrestle with the idea of getting a place. We knew that getting a bigger place requires bigger faith and bigger place means it could add more people who can encounter Jesus. I am blessed to be surrounded by men of faith who challenged my faith-less thinking.

There is a temptation for us as leaders to back down from God given opportunities to expand His Kingdom. We tend to rationalize on certain situations but if we are honest about it – most of it are rooted in fear.

Sometimes our idea starts noble. We save money for the church. But if it is rooted in fear and unwise frugality – it can lead to hording. Dave Kraft suggested that we take healthy and appropriate faith risk while at the same time striving to be financially prudent and wise.

On the other hand, we must be careful not to make grand decisions without thinking it through or sometimes masking making foolish financial decisions with the reason that it was made in faith. I have seen a lot of leaders commit this mistake whether in business, purchasing a house or loaning one, or just expenditures that was way beyond them in the reason that God is good all the time and all the time God is good.

Ecclesiastes 7:18English Standard Version (ESV)

18 It is good that you should take hold of this, and from that withhold not your hand, for the one who fears God shall come out from both of them.

We want to avoid the extremes of faithless frugality and presumptuous faith – Dave Kraft