Getting to the Heart of the Matter?

There is always something or someone vying for our hearts; the list seems endless: spouse, friends, the latest technological device, cars, even God.  Think about the relationship with things (what money can buy) and how it can affect relationships with others (spouse particularly). The reality is that couples often avoid talking about money which can lead to a strained relationship.  Why?

The issue of money is truly a heart matter that impacts other areas of your life. In my role as a financial advisor, I have come to realize the need of speaking to the heart of clients rather than just talking about rates of returns. The heart discussion involves talking about what motivates financial decisions.  Many advisors are satisfied that a financial decision is made and avoid the deeper questions. Asking a question like, “Are husband and wife on the same page with the decision?” is necessary because it directly impacts the relationship.

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The challenge is this: “The heart is a twisted thing, not to be searched out by man: who is able to have knowledge of it?” (Jer. 17:9 BBE).  How can our hearts be known? David prayed: “Search me, O God, and know my heart” (Psalm. 139:23). He continues, “see if there be any wicked way in me” meaning any hurtful way or habit. Relate this to finances; it is very easy to create bad habits in spending because the heart is attracted to so many things. The term “wicked way” can also be translated idol.  Mankind can easily establish an idol without even recognizing it, which is the reason for David’s prayer. His prayer was “see if there be?” Clearly he was uncertain about his own heart. How can we know our own hearts then, especially as it relates to money? Who is qualified to help?

“The word of God is alive and powerful … It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires” (Heb. 4:12 NLT).  This is the reason it is important for financial professionals and counsellors to incorporate biblical wisdom into their advice; because it reveals what is in the heart.

A plan in the heart of a man is like deep waters …” (Prov. 20:5a NASB).  The innermost thoughts and desires can be difficult to explore. This verse goes on to say “… but those with understanding can draw it out” (v. 5b NCV). In other words, we need to be people who do not lean on our own understanding, who will help search for what may be hidden in hearts, and what motivates our decisions. The entrance of biblical truth is the light that exposes innermost thoughts and desires.

Are you an advisor with understanding that can help clients accomplish their financial goals? Are you willing to help search out the deep waters? Have you become a person of understanding in your work and personal relationships? Are others seeking you out because they desire to have deeper conversations?knowing-your-heart-main-image

Bringing All You Have Is What Matters

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MANDY BUJOLD, IN RED, WAS COMPETING IN HER FIRST OLYMPICS AND WAS HOSPITALIZED THE NIGH BEFORE HER QUARTER-FINAL BOUT. (CHRISTIAN PETERSEN/AFP-GETTY IMAGES)

As I have had occasion to tune into some of the olympic coverage, I was struck by a story that many may have missed or overlooked. Boxer Mandy Bujold had a disappointing finish to the Rio Olympics after she lost her bout on points.  On CBC’s coverage, Clara Hughes helped by adding some perspective to this story. Mandy had been sick and went straight from having an IV in her arm, as she lay in a hospital bed, to the venue for her event.

Clara Hughes said, “bringing all you have is what matters.”

‘I don’t do anything unless I do it 100 per cent,’ Bujold says.

So many athletes have the experience of participating in the olympics yet, fail to collect a medal, so Clara’s quote to bring your best is very significant. Clara cited her experience of cycling and finishing second last (in her first Olympics)  but said that this experience “changed her.” Clara later earned medals in summer & winter Olympics so she knows the importance of bringing your best.

The reality is bringing all you have may vary depending on situations faced each day, some of which are beyond your control. Some may say winning is all that matters, but isn’t what you bring to the game just as or even more important? It is great to finish on the podium, but living your life everyday knowing you have given a 100% effort is truly rewarding. Isn’t being faithful and bringing all you have what matters most? Can you say the same for your everyday work has Bujold said?

“I don’t do anything unless I do it 100%”

 

Adding Value Is Key

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In an article published in the Globe and Mail July 5th, 2016, Greg Pollock, President and CEO at Advocis said, “Academic research has confirmed that those who work with a financial adviser accumulate more wealth and are better protected than those who don’t.” This clearly demonstrates the value that financial professionals bring to client relationships.

Adding value is key to retaining clients and growing your business. Here are some insightful questions to ask: How meaningful are the discussions you have with clients? Have you considered why the clients with whom you have a relationship currently are in your life? Are you helping them discover and fulfill their true purpose? Have you clearly defined the value you bring to those who choose to work with you?

I am certain many Canadians desire to gain financial security and therefore, should look to a financial advisor. I am also convinced that many people have dreams and goals that are buried beneath the many cares of life that have choked that vision. Without someone to water that seed, the dream will remain unfulfilled. The goal of accumulating more in life can also deceive people into believing they will never have enough and distract them from what their heart truly desires. Does the value you provide and the wisdom you share extend beyond financial fitness? Are you willing to probe deeper, so that dreams that have been buried below the surface can actually be uncovered, grow and bear fruit?

The mandate of Kingdom Advisors is to help people understand their purpose and help them steward all they have been given. This includes more than finances. Financial resources can be important to accomplish goals but our advice to clients can actually go beyond this. The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water but it needs to be drawn out or exposed (see Prov. 20:5). Are you an advisor of understanding who will help clients move toward their purpose? Are you able to help them move to being more fulfilled and content in life? Isn’t it true that when you help others move toward contentment, you move to a new level of fulfillment as well?

Crash

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Our winter’s drive to Florida for a conference was not uneventful, especially when we drove into what turned into a snow storm.  This trip also included a family vacation with our 3 adult children and daughter-in-law. In the interest of saving travel costs, only our youngest was flying (from Calgary) to our resort destination; the rest of us were driving. Upon entering the US, we encountered a snowy conditions which I was quite familiar with. I was driving in the left lane when a car from the slower-moving right lane moved in front of me. I hit the brakes because I quickly realized he was travelling very slowly, but it was as if I had not tried to brake at all –  the car just slid into him.  Thankfully, no one was injured but the vehicle was not in any shape to make the rest of the journey.

 

Since this happened on the Saturday of a long weekend, all the car rental shops were closed by the time we reached the next community for our overnight stay. On Sunday morning, I managed to book a minivan, eager to continue our journey. After a 45-minute taxi ride (which is another story) to pick up our the vehicle, we were told they had no vehicle for me to rent! Apparently they had called and left a message on my cell alerting me to this fact, but I hadn’t received it. “But I booked this van only two hours ago! We are stranded! You’ve got to do something for me!” I protested.

Here is the reality: they actually did have a van but it just wasn’t cleaned and ready for the customer. They had not intended to rent until Tuesday, when they had more time and staff to prepare it properly.

Here is the good news: once they understood my dilemma, they cleaned the van for us and after a 24-hour delay from the time of the accident, we were on the road again to our destination, thanks to their willingness to accommodate us over their original plan.

As I reflected on this experience, I realized there is a lesson for all of us. There are times on this journey through life when we can choose to “deny ourselves” in order to serve others. Every day we are given opportunities to serve others but in many cases we would rather just do what suits us at the time.  Putting the interests of others ahead of our own can be easy to say but difficult to do. Obeying the command to “follow me” may mean giving or doing what is above and beyond what is expected. Are you willing to make that choice with people you encounter today?

 

Learning from the Sun and Moon

MoonlightHave you ever seen the sun and moon in the sky together? It is rare, but it is possible. I have been thinking lately about this very thing and both are so different yet each has its specific function. Generally, we associate the sun with daylight and the moon with darkness and night. One important thing they have in common is  actually light. I have driven many times in the dark of night but when there is a white cover of snow and a full moon, it is actually pretty amazing how much the moon lights the night.

Compare the sun and moon to husband and wife … be honest, you did not see that coming did you? Here is a thought: the Bible actually calls the moon the lesser light to govern the night and the sun the greater light to rule the day. In marriage, which one are you?

For those that know me, you would likely say my wife is the greater light. She is so talented and seems to be really good at whatever she does. Come to think of it, she actually loves the light.  I am constantly coming behind her turning the lights off, feeling the lights are on most of the time, consuming electricity needlessly. It is quite interesting that when we dated, we had everything in common, or so it seemed, but now approaching 30 years married, we are almost as different as day and night.

Well here is what’s interesting; we both completed a personality test at a conference we attended together. There were four quadrants and it turns out we are complete opposites. The two areas where I was strong, she was weak and the areas where I was weak, she was actually strong. My first thought was: how are we able to keep this marriage together when we are so different? My second thought was: now I understand a little better. I had to ask, how could people so different be attracted to one another and actually have a pretty good relationship? Maybe you have figured it out by now, but it is pretty simple.  It is in knowing your place.

The sun and moon are similar in that they both give light to the earth, yet very different because they excel at different times. We have learned as a couple that our personalities actually complement each other. We function in different roles, are very different in personality, yet are able to strengthen each other.

Think about purpose for a minute. My purpose here is not to debate the creation narrative and the varying viewpoints.  I do, however, find it interesting that scripture says God was pleased when the sun was made for the day and the moon for the night. We have all been created for a purpose even though we may be very different. Why was this day of creation declared to be good? I believe it was because what was created was given the opportunity to function in the task it was made for; the sun to govern the day, the moon to govern the night. Another word for “govern” or “rule” is “steward” and isn’t that exactly what we are to do everyday?

We were all born with gifts and personality that when developed, is intended to accomplish something significant in relation to this earth. You may be different than your partner in life or your partner in business, or your co-worker. The day can be declared a good day when you govern as you should.  What are you to govern?  Did you notice I asked ‘what’ and not ‘whom’ you govern?  You were born to master something and when you do, fulfilment in your life is the result. Can you accomplish more by working with someone who is very different than you? Isn’t it time that even in the midst of the differences, you both share some light?

Having a “good day” is when you are able to steward well what you have been entrusted with. My genuine wish is this: that at the end of your day,  you can say, “This was a ‘good day.'”

Photo by: Terry Grimes, Creation Photography

How is Your Day?

DSC_0575Here is the view of my back garden, a view that I had for the past 12 years. It is, however, not the view I presently experience since we made a move in 2015. This is for me a reminder that as the days pass, things change.

In some cases, dramatic change happens and can be completely beyond our control, and we just simply have to adjust to what life has delivered to us. Entering 2016, I thought about the wisdom that says, “Teach us to number our days.” Knowing individuals who were less than 10 years older than I am presently, who died in 2015, caused these words to have more impact. This is part of what moves me to begin to document more of my thoughts. It is important to share any wisdom that I have gained in the more than 50 years I have lived and the wisdom that I will gain in the days ahead.

I know it can sound strange or even a bit morbid to number your days. After all, we should focus more on living, not dying, right? That is exactly the point. By realizing that we have a limited number of days, it should help us be more productive in the days that we do have. Therefore, I have determined to share what wisdom I can in the days that I have been given.

Being in the financial services industry for almost a quarter of a century will mean some of that wisdom will be related to money and possessions. Being involved in some form of ministry for most of my life will naturally mean wisdom will sometimes come from the book that is filled with wisdom and will also be geared around spiritual and eternal matters. I also feel that experiences in life have an ability to teach things, but we can only help others with those lessons if we somehow pass on that wisdom.

Just like the photo above is for me now just a memory, photos and video of my grandparents are also just memories of them. The only wisdom I can gain from their lives is really from stories of their experiences that they passed down. I want others to benefit from what I have been able to learn so I have determined to write.  If anyone is interested and seeking wisdom, they can read and gain some insight into what one life is able to reveal. For my family, friends and colleagues I ask you this question: How is your day? Did you complete what you intended? What is the true value of what you were able to accomplish today? Is there a lasting impact for the activities of your day?

My goal is to write once per week, but maybe let’s try every two weeks to start … well that’s the word4now!