Money Lessons from It’s a Wonderful Life

money lessons c and c

In the classic Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey, who’s considering committing suicide, is visited by an angel who shows him what the world would be like without him.

Not only is It’s a Wonderful Life a great movie about the difference 1 person’s life can make, it also teaches us some very valuable lessons about money! Here are a few of them.

How a bank really works.

When the stock market crashes, a mob rushes to the Building and Loan. When someone wants to withdraw their money, George says they are thinking of the Building and Loan all wrong, as if he has the money out back in a safe. He explains that their money is in the houses other people took out a loan to build.

A bank works the same way. They don’t simply store the money you deposit, and pay you interest for letting them store it. They loan out the money you deposit, and charge a higher interest rate on the loans than they pay you. In other words, they make money off of your money, and pay you a little of what they made off of it. Not only that, but they actually loan out many times more than what is deposited with them. They keep a certain amount of money on hand, but not enough to give everyone back their money if they all demanded it at once. That’s why banks get in trouble if too many people try to withdraw their money at the same time.

Buy in a down market.

When the stock market crashes, Potter offers to pay the Bank and Loan shareholders 50 cents on the dollar for their shares. George responded by telling them that Potter was buying, not selling, and that he was picking up bargains. Potter was trying to take over the bank and loan by purchasing all the shares 50% off. The people were willing to sell this low because things weren’t going well.

To succeed financially, buy when everyone else is trying to sell. You can score some pretty big bargains on investments in an economy that has taken a turn for the worse. Then when the economy recovers, you’ll have a bunch of assets waiting to make you tons of money!

When you panic, you lose money.

George told the frantic crowd that Potter was buying, not selling, because they were panicked and he wasn’t. Think about it – the people were willing to receive half of what their shares were worth, because they figured it was better than nothing. Making a snap decision out of panic would have cost them half of their money!.

Never make a financial decision in a state of panic. Let yourself calm down, and think things through rationally so you don’t make a choice you will later regret.

 

You Have Been Gifted by God

IH7A5892.CR2

In Woodlawn, sports chaplain Hank sees potential in black running back, Tony Nathan. He tells Tony that he has a gift, and he needs to decide what he’s going to do with it. He says that if Tony plays for himself, he could be great, but that if he chooses to play for something higher, that’s when the extraordinary happens. He further states that God has a plan for everyone, and though he doesn’t know what God’s plan is for Tony, he thinks it is for him to be a star. Tony is skeptical, stating that there’s no such thing as a black superstar – at least not in Alabama. However, Coach Gerelds begins to notice him, and puts him in instead of the white player that had been filling his position. Tony Nathan excelled in his new position as running back, and ended up in fact becoming the star of the team!

Tony Nathan had been gifted by God as a running back. As he used the gift he had been given, he gave people hope, and brought glory to God. God has given each of us gifts and abilities, as well. Because each of us are unique, our talents and abilities are also unique. You might not be as gifted as someone you know in a certain area, but you are probably gifted in an area that they’re not. God wants us to use our talents for Him. As we do so, God will use us to bring Him glory, and share His love and grace with those around us!

As Tony began to use his ability as a running back and gain recognition for it, he encountered opposition from a variety of sources. White people didn’t like it that a black player had replaced a white player, and was the one who was in the limelight. Some black people didn’t like it that he was spending so much time with white people. As a matter of fact, someone threw a rock through a window of the house he lived in, with a note attached telling him to quit football, as well as burning a jersey with his number on it. Through it all, he persevered. He didn’t let opposition prevent him from following the path God had for him.

Just like Tony Nathan, sometimes when you’re using your talents and doing what God has called you to do, you’ll encounter opposition. There will be people who will say you’re too young, too old, not good enough, come from the wrong background, or pose some other objection. You might face a few speed bumps along the way. If this happens, just remember that God is on your side, and He’s got your back. Don’t let opposition keep you from doing what He’s called you to do!

God has a plan for your life. He’s gifted you in incredible ways. Use those talents for Him. Don’t let opposition stop you from following that path that He has for you!

Protection in the Midst of Chaos

WR_W6_F-11
Photo Credit: David Whitlow, courtesy of AFFIRM Films/Provident Films

In one of the scenes from War Room, the latest Kendrick Brothers movie to come out in theaters, Elizabeth and Miss Clara are walking along when a guy comes up to them with a knife in his hand, demanding that they give him their money. Elizabeth is super scared and about to do so, but Miss Clara refuses. She commands him in Jesus’ name to put down his knife. He responds by putting it away and leaving! When the police come, and are filing a report, Miss Clara tells them to remember to write down that she told him to put away his knife in JESUS’ name, because people leave Him out all too often. Throughout the entire situation, Elizabeth is extremely nervous, while Miss Clara remains calm because of her trust in God.

In today’s crazy world, tragic events take place quite often. How can you feel safe and secure in the midst of the chaos around you? By putting your faith in God’s protection! In Psalm 91, God promises supernatural protection from all kinds of danger to those who belong to Him. Here are a few of those promises –

  • Thousands may fall all around you, but what is affect them will not come near you. (verse 7)
  • If you make God your refuge, no harm will overcome you, nor shall any disaster come near where you live. (verses 9-10)
  • He will command angels to guard you. (verse 11)
  • He will rescue, protect, and deliver you. (verses 14-15)

God’s Word will never return to Him empty. It accomplishes what He sent it to do (Isaiah 55:11). When He promises you protection, you can be certain that you are safe!

There is power in the name of Jesus! His name is above all others (Philippians 2:9). John 16:23 promises that whatever you ask for in His name will be done for you. If you ever need someone to come to your rescue, call upon His name. He is the Savior – He wants to save you!

Because of God’s protection, you can feel safe, even in the midst of a crazy, chaotic world. With Him on your side, you are well protected!

Experience True Change

WR_W3_F-102.jpg

Photo credit: David Whitlow, courtesy of AFFIRM Films/Provident Films

In War Room, as Elizabeth begins to pray, we see change take place in more than just her marriage and the life of her husband. Elizabeth herself begins to change, as well! At the beginning of the movie, she is angry and frustrated, gets into arguments with her husband when provoked, and doesn’t make the time to spend with her daughter that the little girl longs for. As the movie progresses, she begins to invest more time in her relationship with her daughter and respond to her husband in a gracious and loving manner, showing him respect even when he doesn’t deserve it. Her husband takes note of the difference, and wonders what’s going on. Here’s what happened – as she began spending time with God, she started to become more like Him!

As believers, we are to follow God’s example (Ephesians 5:1). The problem? No matter how hard we try to do this, we end up failing. Why? Because God is perfect and in and of ourselves, we aren’t. Even if we’re doing the best we possibly can, we will still fall short one way or another. The answer? Spending time with God, allowing His love and grace to transform us!

Have you ever found yourself using your mom or dad’s favorite expression, or thinking something was cool that you had previously disliked because your friends at school were into it? The people we spend most of our time with really do influence us. Spend enough time with someone, and they will rub off on you. In the same way, if you’re spending enough time with God, He will begin to rub off on you. You’ll become more like Him without even having to try hard, just by taking time to hang out with Him. You’ll be transformed effortlessly!

If you’re having a hard time living the way that you know you should, don’t give up! Instead of struggling on your own, focus on spending time with God, getting to know Him better, and experience true change in your life!