Three Things I Learned from the Financial Learning Experience

We didn’t set out to slack off. It just sort of happened. We budgeted well for several years. Stayed disciplined. Paid off debts. Found new ways to give. And after a while we started paying a little less attention to our finances. We didn’t do anything major, just a few extra purchases here and there, a little bit of cheating on our budget, a little bigger credit card bill.

It happens to all of us. If we don’t intentionally manage our finances over time our finances will start to manage us. And over time our mission will start to drift with our money.

That’s part of why my husband, Matt and I headed to the Financial Learning Experience this past Monday. We’d been talking about our mission, where we want to be long-term not just financially but how we want to serve and give and be. Monday night, listening to Joe Sangl, reminded us not just of what we are after, but why and how we want to get there.

Here are just 3 things that I took away from the Financial Learning Experience.

1) God gives to us based on our ability.

Joe talked about the parable of the talents in Matthew 25 where the master gives resources to his servants based upon their ability. These servants then choose what to do with what has been entrusted to them. At the end of the story some of the servants are praised and one is reprimanded based on what they did with what they were given.


The point Joe made was that if we want to grow our financial resources, we may need to first grow our ability to manage those finances. For some of us, maybe part of our financial struggle is that we got fired by God. We were not good managers and so we are not being asked to manage more, yet.


This might sound discouraging, but as I heard this I was encouraged. Because ability is something we have the power to increase. We can read. We can listen to podcasts. We can join a group. We can change our behaviors and become better managers of what has been entrusted to us. And who knows, over time we may find God can trust us with more.

2) “There is no harvest if you do not invest. ” - Joe Sangl

Joe shared that there are two ways to make money. We can work for our money, and we can make our money work for us. Investments multiply the work we are already doing.


Investing is like farming. We have to plant something in order to harvest something. And by planting and caring for our investments, we set ourselves up to reap the benefits of this work down the road.


In my earliest years of working, I never thought about investing. I was so focused on getting through the month and paying down my debts that planning for 40, 30 or even 5 years down the road was totally overwhelming.  Toward the end of his talk, Joe shared, “If you have been buried in your finances and living paycheck to paycheck, I want to encourage you to lift your head up. Look beyond where you are right now and start to dream.”


In a way, investing is an act of hope. We believe God has plans for us and it is possible to experience freedom and live generously in our future. Which brings me to one of the most powerful truths of the Financial Learning Experience.

3)  Knowing your dreams provides the purpose for planning your finances.

It caught me off guard when I heard Joe Sangl ask us to write down our dreams. I expected to hear about budgeting, investments, and debts, but dreams? Yet, when he said it, it made perfect sense.

Finances play a huge role in where we will be 10, 15, 30, or 50 years from now. Finances impact where we go, what we do, how much we can give away. And creating plans, dreams, and hopes for our future, is the first step toward financial fitness.

But what if it goes even deeper than that. What if planning for our futures is about embracing a God-sized vision?

In our home, we recently came to the realization that careful financial management can open doors for us to have a greater Kingdom impact now and down the road. For us it’s not about the money, but about how we can better serve, live, and love.

So what are you dreaming about? What do you want to become? And what steps can you take financially to open up doors for these dreams to become a reality?

If you are looking for some good next steps, check out one of the 6-week Financial Learning groups! Check out a budget on Joe Sangl’s website, or if you’ve been through a 6 week group, click here to email me and sign up for free financial coaching. And wherever you are at, I hope you’ll be able to take Joe’s advice, lift your heads up and dream big!

See you on Sunday! 

Justine Tegen 
Discipleship Pastor