Topic / Giving

How To Succeed Financially Without Failing Spiritually

We've all heard examples of people who've "made it" only to lose what matters most. The most recent story has been the world's richest couple. Success often leads to failure and none of us are immune. 

But I want to show you a better way that begins with knowing how the cycle of success works.

1. Work

Success begins with hard-work. There's no substitute for it. The Bible says, "The hand of the diligent makes rich." (Proverbs 10:4) Christians know that God is a worker and he made us to work too. We are called to work as unto the Lord, doing everything to the glory of God, including our jobs. And so many of us work hard and the result is we prosper.

2. Prosper

When the money starts rolling in we quickly slip into thinking, “It’s my money, I earned it.” But the mindset of “Mine” accelerates an inward spiral. The Bible says God is the owner of "our" money. (Psalm 24:1) The Lord is the one who gives us the power to get wealth. (Deuteronomy 8:18) And therefore our calling is to manage God's money for God's purposes. We are to ask the owner what our prosperity is for, but we don't. The unspoken goal of most Americans is to prosper so much that we don’t have to work anymore. And so we do.

3. Rest

Our prosperity leads us to rest. But our rest is not a godly rest, like one day out of seven or a pause before we get back in the game. Instead, our goal is independent withdrawal. We want to kick back and not interact with anyone we don't like or answer to anyone we don't respect. It sounds good to golf, fish, watch sports, join a country club and check out for a while. After all, "I earned it," we tell ourselves. And at this point, we may even be applauded by those we see in church for our financial management and wise planning. Almost no one confronts our self-focused, me-centered disengagement. This is where it gets ugly and we spiral inward even more. 

4. Forget

We end up forgetting God. Like the Israelites, we do not heed this warning: "Take care lest you forget the LORD your God... Beware lest you say in your heart, 'My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.' " (Deuteronomy 8:11-17)

A classic example of this was King David, the man after God's own heart. The Bible says, “In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle… David remained in Jerusalem.” (2 Samuel 11:1) Perhaps David thought he deserved a break after all of his challenges. Perhaps he was tired. But David's rest was not a rest with God; it was a rest from God. His autonomy led to his adultery with bathing Bathsheba and a cover-up scandal of lies and murder. If the man after God’s own heart can forget God, so can you and I. 

5. Sin

The truth is that when we forget God, we instead "go after other gods and serve them and worship them." (Deuteronomy 8:19) Our worship doesn't stop, we just redirect it. We may not worship Allah or idols, but we become lovers of self, lovers of money, and lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. We may even have an appearance of godliness, but inwardly we deny it's power. (2 Timothy 3:2-5) All of this is sin against a holy God.

History consistently shows that financial success is followed by spiritual failure. But there's a better way.

A Better Plan

The starting place is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Knowing Jesus as your savior puts him at the center of your life and not you. It reverses our momentum from spiraling inward to instead moving outward. That's why the better way begins not with work, but worship.

Outward & Upward Cycle

1. Worship

Jesus said we all have a fundamental decision to make: "You cannot serve God and money." (Luke 16:13) We must decide. God will not take second place or even tie for first. Money, pleasure, and independence must all bow before the King of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus is more valuable than any treasure, wealth or success we could ever pursue. When our souls believe that and our lives reflect that, we are worshipping. 

2. Work

From worship, we work. Our right response to recognizing God's value is to lay down our lives as living sacrifices to him. (Romans 12:1) And for 40 - 50 hours a week that looks like showing up to work, serving our clients, leading our team, increasing our sales, and growing our company. But we don’t work primarily to get money. We work to use our gifts to serve God and others. Our work done well is an act of worship.

3. Prosper

As we serve others well, we will prosper. But we'll remember that the money God gives is still his: "The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts." (Haggai 2:8) We'll hold it with open hands, rather than closed fists. We'll resist the idea that it's all for our comfort and security and instead ask God who it's for. And God will inevitably open our eyes to see the needs of others around us. We'll spiral outward. 

4. Give

Instead of using our money to rest, we'll use God’s money to bless. We'll follow Jesus' words, when he said, "Make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings." (Luke 16:9) We'll set our hope on God, not riches, and do good, be rich in good works, generous and ready to share. (1 Timothy 6:17-18)

5. Rejoice

When we give, we'll experience one of the purest joys on earth. We'll also rejoice to be used by God as a channel of his provision to other people. This joy will fuel us to keep working. In fact, it will insert greater purpose and meaning into our day to day work. Long hours and heavy responsibility will now be connected to a greater cause. We'll find that instead of living for weekends, vacations, or retirement, our work will be one of the primary places we go to worship God. And our world will grow bigger as we continue to spiral outward.

How can you succeed financially without failing spiritually? Worship Jesus, do great work, and give like crazy.

John Rinehart ,
John Rinehart , Founder & Leader of
and the author of the book Gospel Patrons