If we are going to figure out how to finish well, we have to decide what we truly believe about money and things. Thankfully, Jesus gave us a blueprint to follow, and I am here to tell you it works. Should we be surprised by that? His blueprint is also countercultural and pushes back hard against almost everything you and I see and hear every day about how much is enough.

So, let’s check in to Matthew 6:24, where Jesus begins to lay out a beautiful and air tight treatise about money and serving Him and how they relate to each other.

He begins by saying that we simply cannot serve God and money at the same time. In other words, we can’t have two masters. We have to choose. If we are mastered by money, we will always weigh all of God’s suggestions for our lives by what it is going to cost us. We’ll whip out our spreadsheets and do some cost-benefit analysis to see if following God into this or that endeavor makes sense, financially speaking. When it doesn’t make sense, we will say no, and when we say no we are confirming who and what our master is. We’ll miss out on what is best for us because we can’t see how it can work from where we are today.

Let me be clear: God’s five year plan is probably very different from yours and mine. For us to think that we know it down to the nth degree is, well, arrogant. I can tell you that once upon a time my five year plan did not include running a non-profit here in Dallas, Texas. I am thankful every day for God’s plans, because these are the best days of my life and I didn’t see them coming at all. When it came time to make a decision about this role, if I had done my analysis the way I had always done it, I would have walked away from work that I was born to do, my mission in life.

After Jesus makes the bold statement about serving God and money, he goes on to explain God’s economy and how it works. It’s an economics class we should all sit through, because if we really understand the material, it will take a ton of pressure off of us and allow us to listen differently when God speaks to us about what’s next. But be prepared: This class has some really hard tests, and passing them is no piece of cake.

In essence, He says beginning in verse 25, “Don’t worry.” And, then (my translation), “Who do you think you are talking to? I feed the birds of the air and clothe the lilies of the field.”

Wow. That all by itself is an amazing statement, isn’t it? No one else in history has ever been able to make that claim. But then, He goes on: “And, I love you a lot more than they.” What a great thing to hear from Jesus! He loves us more than the other things he created, and they have never wanted for anything.

Then, he brings it all the way home. “So, what are you worried about?” A great question for us to pause and think about for a minute. What are we worried about? I can honestly tell you that I spend too much time worrying about everything. For you and me, the worry will only stop when we believe that God’s got this, that He sees us and our situation, that he loves us like a father and will always provide what we need.

If somehow, this economics lesson could get deep down into our souls and our DNA, it would profoundly change us. When we ask God how to finish well and He tells us, we would listen with different ears, because it’s our Master calling with important work for us to do and all that we will ever need to do it.

Dean Niewolny
Dean Niewolny spent 23 years in executive roles with three of Wall Street’s largest financial firms, finishing his career in the financial sector as market manager for Wells Fargo Advisors in Chicago, where he oversaw a $100mm market. While in Chicago, he and his wife, Lisa, traveled many times to Africa and, seeing the abject needs of widows and orphans, made life changes that enabled them to get involved, such as helping to complete an orphan home and a Hospice home in Durbin, South Africa.

In 2010, Dean traded his marketplace career for Halftime to help more people who, like him, wanted to expand their own “first half” success and skills into passion and purpose for meeting human needs and making a significant difference. Dean joined Halftime as Managing Director and in 2011 became Chief Executive Officer.

Dean speaks all over the world to marketplace leaders who desire to use their gifts and talents to serve others. His passion is to encourage business leaders to channel first-half achievement into a second half defined by joy, impact and balance. His first book, Trade Up: How to Move From Making Money to Making A Difference, was published by Baker Publishing and released in July 2017. Click here to buy Trade Up.

Having grown up playing sports—eventually in college and semi-professional baseball—Dean still enjoys coaching youth sports, especially his son’s little league teams. He and Lisa have two children and live in Southlake, Texas.