Hand Me Another Brick Leadership Series: Steps to Financial Freedom (Part 1)

Dear Visionary Leader:

We need to pray to the King of the Universe for billions of dollars to be invested into the fulfillment of the Great Commission. If we are going to ever complete our God-give assignment, the Kingdom of God will need more money than it has ever had in its history. I realize, as I write this, that a lot of money is spent in the Christian community that might be considered “wasteful” or short-sighted in the great big scheme of things.

Along the journey of fulfilling the will of God for our lives, we will come to huge challenges. Nehemiah discovered this. In the text we’ve been studying over these many weeks, Nehemiah is working hard not only to rebuild the walls, but to keep his team together until the job is done!

One of the best ways for leaders to keep their teams together is to “become the illustration”-the God-given example-of what it means to live out rock-solid principles before the team. The greatest sermons we ever preach are those we illustrate by the lives we live every day.

In Nehemiah 5:14, Nehemiah is speaking against those who have been taking advantage of the poor. He begins with, “Moreover”- that is, “In distinction to this, in contrast to this, I want you to notice the way I live.”

He wasn’t the kind of a leader who says, “Don’t do as I do; do as I say to do.” He was the kind of a leader who could say, as the Apostle Paul said, “You follow me, as I follow Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). He could say with integrity, “Do as I do.”

“Moreover,” Nehemiah says, “I’m going to tell you the way I live with my finances.”

I want you to see how this great leader, this man of God, lived before his team. We have discussed previously the problems of financial bondage. Now we are going to share the principles of financial freedom.

Methods may come and go, but principles remain the same. The more effectively we can align ourselves to biblical principles, the more successful we will become over time. Everyone has the right to be financially free, because the Bible says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). We simply need to apply the financial principles God has set forth in His Word.

A. The Principle of Priority

First, there is the principle of priority. In Nehemiah 5:14, we read, “Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even unto the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that is, twelve years, I and my brethren have not eaten the bread of the governor” (Nehemiah 5:14).

What does this mean? Nehemiah is saying, “I was the governor of this whole area. I was appointed governor by the king, and I had every right to tax the people. I had every right to have my needs supplied, because I, as the governor, ought to draw a certain salary.” But, notice what he says in verse 15: “But the former governors that had been before me were chargeable unto the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver; yea, even their servants bare rule over the people: but so did not I, because of the fear of God” (Nehemiah 5:14-15).

Nehemiah was a remarkable man. Nehemiah had certain rights and prerogatives, but he would not exercise those rights; he chose not to exert those prerogatives. Instead, he says, “I refused to take what was rightfully mine, because I feared God.”

In other words, “We were in such a state of emergency, and there was such turmoil, that I was willing to forego my rights, that God might be glorified.” The bottom line is this: Nehemiah chose to put God first. He had his priorities straight. Are you willing to do this? Are you willing to lay aside your financial rights and put God first?

Do you want financial freedom? In Matthew 6:33, we read,”But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” As long as you put your business, your ministry, your plans, your desires, your ambitions, and your goals first, you will never know financial freedom.

On the other hand, if you get your priorities in order, if you will “seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness,” then all the things you need “shall be added unto you.” That’s the promise of Jesus to you and me!

Nehemiah understood the principle of priority. He looked at the things he could have done-and done legally, within his rights-but he said, “I didn’t do them, because I want to glorify God.” The will of God meant more to him than anything else. If money is your god, if money is your goal, you will never know financial freedom. Whether you be rich or whether you be poor, you’ll be in bondage.

If you don’t put God first, you are foolish, because you’re playing the losing game. You may say, “Well, it’s hard for me to trust; I deal in reality.” Let me ask, what is true reality?

You may say, “My business is real; my house is real, my broken-down car is real.” Yet, I would contend that true reality is only found in those things that will last. In 2 Corinthians 4:18, the Bible says, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Reality is not in something you can see, taste, touch, smell or feel. Reality is in God!

If we are putting our trust in things that we can see, and touch, and taste, and smell, and feel, and count, we are living in a world of illusion. The things that are seen are temporal; the things that are not seen are eternal. We need to put the principle of priority into practice!

Until The Last Person Has Heard,

Dr. James. O. Davis
Global Church Network
Cochair / Global Networking