By Eric Vogen
Five weeks after completing a successful heart-valve replacement, I gave my niece, Bridget, sprinting lessons on the beach during a family vacation. As I showed her a few running techniques I remembered from my championship cross-country team, I dreamed of being a famous racehorse with nostrils flaring. I could slightly hear the song from the movie “Chariots of Fire” in the distance.
But I could only dream of running that day, because I had only gained enough strength after my surgery to do a moderate walk. Fluid still surrounded my lungs causing significant pain, and I would soon be coming down with a fever. A fever with a new heart valve is not a good combination. I knew that once I called the doctor, I would inevitably jump back into the medical system. As I joked with a nurse … it’s kind of like U.S. Customs, once you are admitted to the hospital, you’re really not in the US.
So, I asked the Lord, “Why is it such a rough road to recovery?” I sensed a whisper from the Holy Spirit, “For supernatural patience and empathy!”
My first thought was that I wasn’t sure if the cost of the pain was worth these gifts of patience and empathy. Then I reflected on how these gifts have already positively impacted not only my relationships with greater depth, love and trust, but also my career with a sense of fulfillment, wisdom and peace. I went on to think … could these two gifts lead to a supernatural improvement in someone’s finances?
Supernatural Financial Patience
I love Monday mornings! Maybe it’s because I was born on a Monday morning, or I’m excited to see what the Lord has in store for the week, or maybe it’s because it’s the start of a new week of trading in the financial markets. Unfortunately, many people wake up Monday morning afraid to look at the news because we may be on the verge of yet another crisis. It is said that fear and greed run the financial markets and this is as natural as human nature.
On the Monday morning of our beach vacation, Bridget said she didn’t want me to intervene for her to help move along her dating life. Instead, she wanted things to move along naturally. I said that the natural progression of nature is atrophy and decay. And maybe it’s the same with finances. It’s natural for us to feel giddy when things are going up and up, and scared when things seem to be falling with no floor in sight. So, maybe it is supernatural to have any patience at all when it comes to money.
God seems to be very patient with His financial planning purposes. For instance, the interpretation of Joseph’s dream in the Bible led to a long-term vision for the Egyptian region, which would cover seven years of surplus, seven years of scarcity, and years beyond. Think of the Lord’s long-term patience as being a rock to stand on. For example, when I was given a vision in 1994 that we would have two children, Mary and I stood on this like a rock for 15 years until it was reality.
Proverbs 21:5 says it pretty clear—“Steady plodding brings prosperity; hasty speculation brings poverty.” But why do so many people do the exact opposite of this principle? Because it’s natural.
Supernatural Financial Empathy
One way that I believe financial wisdom is born is through empathy. Why? If the Lord gives you supernatural financial empathy, one of the first things you’ll ask is what the Lord wants you to do with your money. And it may not be to give it all away. It may be to invest into your education, or to start to a new business, or to build up some emergency reserves like Joseph did in Egypt.
Deuteronomy 30:15-16: “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.”
The next area in which the Lord may use empathy is toward the financial feelings of your spouse or family members who may be impacted by your decisions. A friend of mine recently started a new business and went ahead with a big lease. His wife and I said not to do the lease. But he barreled ahead anyway. The company didn’t make it, but the lease burden lived on. This led them to declare bankruptcy and then later to begin divorce proceedings. I have seen many people be spared huge financial blunders by simply being empathetic to their wife’s feelings.
Another area where the Lord may use empathy is in your heart for others. I am always amazed by the empathy in Americans over age 70. Many of them scrimped and saved for potential emergencies, but also for their children and grandchildren. This generation’s legacy is the largest transfer of wealth in history, from one generation to the next.
Finally, having empathy for those in desperate need may lead your heart to overflow with creative ways to help. I have seen many people open the door to charitable giving only to receive an array of returns on their investment in the form of deep significance, fulfilling results, and loving long-term relationships. Others have gained wise perspective, timely solutions, and uncommon favor on what to do with their own finances.
1 Peter 4:10: “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
May the Lord give you patience and empathy to bless your relationships, career, and finances!
Eric Vogen, CFP, MBA
P.S. I’d love to hear from you and the progress you may be making with your faith and finances. Contact me at [email protected].