Having an active website on the blogosphere has allowed me to connect with other authors, leaders, influencers, and decision makers from a variety of sectors and industries, and from all across the globe. And since my primary focus in life, work, and ministry, is connecting the biblical principles of disciple-making movements and apostolic church planting, with the rapidly expanding mission field that exists in today’s marketplace, I always enjoy connecting with other Kingdom-minded “change agents” and believers who are positively affecting their workplace with their faith and the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
One such acquaintance, is Chad Hamilton, CFP ®, author of the new book, Redefining Financial Freedom: A Gospel-Based Approach to Money (PFI Publishing: Denver, 2016) and Deep Wealth: An Exploration of Money, Meaning, and What Really Matters (PFI Publishing: Denver, 2015). Chad and I share many similar interests, including both having a background in financial services, and a shared understanding of money as a heavenly resource from God, that requires intense responsibility, integrity, and stewardship.
Chad’s new book, Redefining Financial Freedom: A Gospel-Based Approach to Money address, what I think, is one of the most critical factors in stewarding finances, namely, the issue of idolatry. Jesus said you can’t serve both God and Mammon (or money, see Matthew 6:24), and in fact, our Lord actually teaches more about money and stewardship than he does even prayer.
Jesus knew that we become like what we worship. If we worship the Lord and handle our money in a biblical, God-honoring way, then we are more closely being made into His image. Its Christ’s character formed in us. If however, we idolize money, putting its attainment and accumulation as the centerpiece of our heart, then the Scripture is true that “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God” (Mark 10:25, NIV).
Not only does Chad’s book tackle the thorny issues of idolatry, but he also teaches how when the pendulum swings the opposite direction, that apathy can creep in. He argues instead for a “Gospel-Based Approach to Money” which will lead to increased faith and freedom in following God’s intentions for our financial futures.
The three big money questions that Chad uses to structure his book are Section I: How Did You Get It? (How we think about WORK) This part deals with the often neglected discussion of vocation in wealth building. Considering some of the recent works I’ve read on discerning God’s calling on your life, I found this section particularly helpful. The two ends of the spectrum, or pendulum –the metaphor Chad uses, is “Apathy”: I work in order to do the things I really want to do, and “Idolatry”: What I do is who I am.
As Christians, our identity is first and foremost wrapped up in who God says we are i.e., his beloved children. We have been adopted by our Heavenly Father through the atoning sacrifice of Christ Jesus. When we rethink our vocation, as the voice of God calling us into our deeper destiny and purpose in life, we understand then that our job is really just another form of stewardship. It is a ministry and a vehicle for adding value to the world while proclaiming the Gospel in word and deed. This is the middle-ground of Freedom that Chad advocates. It’s seeing work as a vocation or calling to serve someone else, not a chore, burden or curse.
The second question is Section II: What Are You Doing With It? (Considerations for INVESTING) which offers some amazingly practical observations on the so-called sacred-secular divide, the real purpose of business, and the role Christian values and a Christian worldview should play in investing.
The third and final money question is Section III: What is It Doing to You (The Importance of Giving & Generosity). This crucially important, and often overlooked, last topic discusses the effect our views and actions with money have on us spiritually. Chad shows how the “Apathy” angle creates in us a need to feel in control and self-reliant, counter-themes to the New Testament; while the swing to the other side, to “Idolatry” creates an expectation for money to fulfill your deepest needs and desires. He also mentions briefly four common financial motivators, including control, comfort, power, and approval, and shares a story of what he refers to as a “Miracle in the Free Market”.
Essentially, the message of Redefining Financial Freedom is that our only true hope is found in Jesus. The money will eventually disappoint us, elude us, and create a false sense of security. Christ is our salvation. He is our Rock and our Fortress. We should be generous because God was radically generous to us, giving up his one and only son to death on the cross, only to be raised again so that we may join him in an abundant and eternal life. Our generosity in financial matters and the way in which we live our lives can truly have an enormous impact on others around us, and actually, yield eternal rewards in heaven.
With personal and professional experiences from the trenches of financial services, Chad Hamilton, CFP ® offers incredibly practical insights and some penetratingly deep truths about the spiritual consequences of our potential financial behavior. With a focus on what Scripture teaches, and references from the likes of C.S. Lewis, Richard Foster, G. K. Chesterton, and Jacques Ellul, the reader is surely in for a treat. Redefining Financial Freedom is a book I highly recommend.
You can read more about Redefining Financial Freedom through my author interview with Chad found here: https://joshualeehenry.com/2016/06/27/redefining-financial-freedom-author-interview/