Money Lessons from It’s a Wonderful Life

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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.

 

The Ultimate Life, and How You View Money

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The Ultimate Life, prequel to The Ultimate Gift, tells the story of how Red Stevens discovered the series of “gifts” (important life lessons) that he passed on to his grandson, Jason. After finding the woman of his dreams in The Ultimate Gift, Jason Stevens gets so caught up in the busyness of life that he almost loses her in The Ultimate Life. When he comes to the end of his rope, Hamilton, long-time friend and lawyer of Red Stevens, gives him his grandfather’s journal. Through it, he finds out how his grandfather went from a poor young boy to a billionaire financial success, yet threw away all that mattered most in the process. As he reads the journal, Jason is reminded of what is truly important, which helps him figure out the next step to take in his own life.

In The Ultimate Gift, we meet Red Stevens as a determined teenager who sets out on his own, bent on achieving billionaire status. Throughout his journey, he displays initiative and drive that enables him to overcome any obstacle in his path. At the same time, his focus on gaining wealth causes him to neglect other important aspects of his life, such as his family, until he discovers that becoming a billionaire in and of itself isn’t enough to fulfil him. When he nearly loses his only true friend, he is forced reconsider the path he’s heading down.

The Ultimate Life says a lot about how we should view money. In and of itself, wealth isn’t at all a bad thing. As a matter of fact, God wants His children to prosper, and this includes in their finances. The problem comes in when we put money above all else, and begin to view it as the only thing that matters.

1 Timothy 6:10 tells us that the LOVE of money, not money itself, is the root of all evil. In other words, what matters to God is how you view money, and where your focus is when it comes to your finances. The right way to view money is as a tool to take care of yourself and someday your family, to bless others, and to enable to gospel to be spread throughout the world. The wrong way to view money is to prioritize it above other things in your life that matter just as much or even more.

Red Steven’s poverty as a child led him to become so wrapped up in gaining wealth he neglected other important matters. Wealth isn’t what causes love of money. There are both rich and poor people who love money, and both rich and poor people who view it how God wants them to. Instead of trying to figure out where the limit is on how much money it’s ok for you to have, trust God with your finances, and focus on using the money you have in a way that honors Him. If you’ll do that, not only will you be blessed with the financial success God desires to give you, but you will also come to view money the way God desires for you to view it!

What God Has to Say About Our Financial Success

Financial Success

Earlier, we discussed whether or not it’s ok for Christians to prosper financially. We talked about how it’s the love of money, not money itself, that is the root of all evil (1 Tim 6:10), and how it’s not so much about how much we have, but whether or not it has us. Now, let’s look at what God’s Word has to say about our financial success.

  • Proverbs 10:22 – His blessing brings wealth, and adds no sorrow with it.
  • Isaiah 60:5 – To you shall come the wealth of nations!
  • Philippians 4:19 – He will supply all your needs.
  • 2 Corinthians 9:11 – He will enrich you in every way so that on all occasions, you can be generous.
  • Psalm 1:2-3 – Those who meditate on and delight in God’s Word shall prosper in all they do.
  • Isaiah 61:6 – On the wealth of nations you will feed, and you will boast in their riches.
  • Deuteronomy 30:9 – He will make you prosperous in the work of your hands – He will delight in you, and make you prosperous. (This was a blessing given for obedience. We can never obey perfectly, but Jesus lived the perfect life for us. Because we are in Him, His perfection covers us, and we have access to this blessing!)

This is what God’s Word promises regarding your finances! Trust in His promises. Take Him at His Word, and see what He will accomplish in your life financially!

Is It Ok for Christians to Prosper Financially?

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Has anyone ever made it sound like Christians shouldn’t experience abundance in the realm of finance? Have you ever wondered if it’s ok to be successful financially as a Christian, or how much God’s ok with you having? Have you ever wondered where we, as followers of Christ, should draw the line?

Some say that money is the root of all evil – that it is the cause of tons of problems, such as greed and self-centeredness – and because of this, Christians should be careful of ever having too much – almost as if poverty is better than wealth.

The truth of the matter? Money is not the root of all evil. By itself, it isn’t good or bad, and therefore the amount of money you have isn’t what makes you a good or bad person. It only reveals who you really are. If a person is already generous, give them more money, and it will give them a greater opportunity to benefit others as well as themselves. If a person is selfish and stingy and you give them more money, their stinginess and selfishness will become more apparent as they hoard or spend it all on themselves. The money didn’t make them selfish and stingy or kind and generous. It just made their real character more visible.

What the Bible says actually is the root of all evil is the LOVE of money (1 Tim 6:10)! This is what causes problems, not the money itself. In other words, do you control your money, or do you let it control you? This is what God cares about!

The truth is, God WANTS to bless His children, and this includes financially. According to Psalm 35:27, He takes pleasure in the prosperity of His people! God wants to give His children not only all that they need, but above and beyond so that they, in turn, can bless others (2 Cor 9:11). The more you grow in your relationship with Christ, and the more you become like Him, the more you will use your money in a wise manner, and to advance His kingdom. Trust God with your finances from an early age, and watch what He can do in and through them!