September 1, 2014

An interview with pastor Bill Hybels on the secrets for living life with more energy, focus, and peace. Bill is the author of Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul.

BILL HYBELS:  One of the ways we get financially reconciled to God is to believe that all we have comes from his hand. If you think about it, it all comes from God, it all belongs to God.

When we were born he gave us life. He gives us talents and abilities. He gives us educational opportunities. And later on, he givesus vocation or employment opportunities. And then if we honor Him and go His way, He blesses our life and our earnings which are really just a manifestation of the goodness and the providence of God.

If you get that wrong and you start thinking that this is really your stuff, that it was all because of you that you earned it and you get to control it because it’s yours – that can be a dangerous way of thinking about money.

I like to draw a line on a piece of paper and I’ll say, if this is your current income, this is what I call God’s provision for your life during this season. Now he’s asking you to accept that and to live beneath that provision level so there’s a little margin in your life. And when people understand this they say, “But it’s hard for me to live underneath the amount of God’s provision.” And I say, “Well that’s where contentment comes in.”

Contentment is a virtue that can be cultivated in your life. You can actually come to a point like the apostle Paul who was able to say that he had learned to be content when he had a lot of God’s provision and when he had only a little of God’s provision.

Now what some people do is they say, “Hey God, I think you screwed up with my provision level.” So what I’m going to do is I’m going to use debt to add to the provision level that you should’ve given to me. I’m going to go into debt to increase my provision level. And then we all know where that leads.

There comes that day when you know you’re a slave to that debt and you feel in bondage. You look back at the time when you were content and lived within the means of God’s provision and you go, “Oh I was smarter then. That was a better move.” So if you can just keep in your mind that there is a current level of God’s provision – with contentment – you can live within that provision, live a joyful life, and stay out of debt and bondage.

See Part 2, Creating a God First Schedule from our interview with pastor Bill Hybels.