Tithing is an Investment

Financial Planning in Pikeville, North Carolina

Pikeville, North Carolina is a small town with about 700 residents.  Pikeville is in Wayne County, which has approximately 120,000 residents.  Being a financial planner in Pikeville brings an interesting challenge because it’s not so much about having more money as it is about maximizing the money we have.  Sure, because of technology, I can help anyone in the United States, but I think it’s important to focus on my community.

In bigger cities, such as Charlotte, Raleigh, or even New York, the larger populations allow employers and consumers to “shop around” to find the highest paying jobs or the lowest fee financial advisor.  Advisors emphasize performance to try and lure customers away from the competition, so they may not take time to do the long term, holistic, comprehensive financial plan that the consumer truly needs.

With higher available resources in big cities, consumers have more opportunity to afford mistakes.  If you misplace $500, you can remake it working a weekend at a temporary job in New York.  No, it’s not easy, but it’s possible.

However, if you misplace $500 in a small town like Pikeville it can result in you being homeless.  There are jobs, but there are not many extra opportunities to make up for the mistakes that will happen as we live our lives.

Financial Planning in Pikeville, North Carolina:  How we steward our resources is important everywhere, but really important when your resources are limited.

Steward is a fun word, right?  You may have only heard it in church, so what does it mean?  A steward is a person who is responsible for someone else’s stuff.  This is why in church we are called to be stewards of the resources God provides us.  We try to keep the environment clean, take care of our homes, and care for the animals and plants.  It’s really easy to see how we are the caretakers of God’s creations.

If we believe God created everything, then why do we hesitate to trust Him with our money?  It’s an interesting question, but I think part of it is that we think money was created by man.  Sure, we had a hand in designing and valuing the dollar, but with over 2,500 references to money in the Bible, we need to realize that money is another resource given to us by God.  We are supposed to be stewards of this resource just as we are for the land and animals.

Money is a tool.  It makes our lives more convenient because it can be exchanged for the things we need.  We no longer have to trade a chicken for a shirt, we can just swipe a card.  Can you imagine carrying livestock around to trade? 

Like any other tool, money can become dangerous when used incorrectly.  I look at it like fire.  Fire can be a great thing as it cooks our food or keeps us warm.  However, it can also be deadly.  When not respected and handled with care, fire can take our home or even our lives.  Money can be just as dangerous.  Steal it and you risk your life, spend it frivolously and your risk your home.


Financial Planning in Pikeville, North Carolina:  It’s so easy to say, “If I had more money, then everything would be fine.”

The truth is that without the proper foundation of financial management, you are very likely to have the same problems regardless of the size of your bank account.  Look up any celebrity who struck it rich and still ended up in the gutter.  Money wasn’t the problem; discipline and stewardship of the resource was.

When I’m working with clients as a financial advisor in Pikeville, I constantly preach about our spending habits.  Would I love to have the $5 million accounts and just manage the investments?  Sure!  But here’s the problem with that business model:  EVERYONE NEEDS HELP!

It doesn’t matter if you have $5,000 or $5 million, we all need to be proper stewards of God’s money.  I know I cannot help everyone, but I don’t want to ever turn someone away just because they don’t have a certain amount of money for me to manage.  As Jesus said, “as you love the least of these, so you have loved me.” (See Matthew 25:40)

We don’t know if one day that person with little becomes someone with plenty, but I do know they’ll remember how you treated them before.  Maybe teaching them about spending habits was the step forward they needed.

Financial Planning in Pikeville, North Carolina:  One of the best spending habits I’ve learned has been tithing.

At first, I believed we should wait until we could afford to give before starting tithing.  Charity starts at home, right?  Now I’ve realized how wrong that is.

We all have a different definition of “afford,” even when we have a financial plan.  When we don’t have a plan, then even less is affordable.  There is always going to be something to buy and marketers get paid to inspire us to buy their products.  Plans keep us disciplined because we are focused on our goals and less distracted by shiny objects.

When we make the commitment to give, we start to understand saving.  Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but stay with me here because there are many books on this.  I recommend True Riches and The Treasure Principle.

By giving money to your church or other similar organization, you’re investing in your eternal future.  Jesus talked about how we can store treasures here or in heaven, but not both (Matthew 6:24).  Ask your pastor to explain it better than I can.

By no means am I saying we can’t enjoy our lives, but we must find the balance.  Sometimes we forget how truly blessed we are.  Would you believe me if I said that someone at the poverty level in the United States would be considered rich in other countries?  There are still many people in the world without running water!

With that perspective, making a monthly gift to my church feels better than buying that extra toy or experience I can live without.  I was nervous about tithing when I started because I really don’t have much.  If I’m ever going to reach my goal of paying for my own 24-hour care, then I’ll need to have a good amount of resources put away, right?  It’s scary to think about that future.

I know that Faith will always drive out fear, but how faithful would I be if I put away every penny for my future needs?  Aren’t I confident that God will provide for my needs?  If so, how am I showing it?  When I work through those questions, I feel a need to give to His missions.  (Hopefully, more clients will help me reach my goals while I help them pursue their goals.)

No, I can’t hand deliver water to children in a developing country, as they aren’t usually very accessible.  Wheelchairs and dirt roads don’t always work too well together, so mission trips aren’t going to be a good fit for me.  However, I know my financial gifts go to organizations that do these missions.  By giving to my church, I’m able to help the world.  I think Jesus likes that and, honestly, I like it too.  It feels good to help others.

Financial Planning in Pikeville, North Carolina:  Tithing is an Investment

From a purely financial standpoint, tithing starts the good habits we need to maximize our resources.  Cutting our spending doesn’t matter if we buy something twice as expensive next month.  Tithing is an investment in your community, the world, and your eternity.  Many of our major goals, such as retirement, require investment, but we cannot invest until we learn to go without.  Tithing helps us cross that bridge!

Some may argue that we don’t have enough available resources and it’s good for us to spend money in our local economy, especially in a small town like Pikeville.  Again, it’s about finding that balance.  Yes, it’s important to shop local and support that family restaurant.  Nobody is saying we should stop supporting our local economy.

I’m just suggesting that we eat out one less time and commit that money monthly to our church.  The church may have a staff appreciation dinner at that restaurant and everything will even out.  If you look at how communities started, often a church was built and the community developed around the church.  By tithing, and having an honest church that uses funds as they should, our communities can still thrive this way.

Financial Planning in Pikeville, North Carolina:  Final Thought.

I believe that as we become more comfortable with small sacrifices, then we’ll find saving to be easier.  This is a complete cultural shift in our instant gratification society, so it won’t be something that happens immediately.  Even a baby step is a step.  As I often say a lot of small bricks build large houses!

It is easy to see our retirement needs as a daunting task.  When you have nothing saved, saving $500,000 in a retirement account seems impossible.  It’s easy to give up and say it can’t be done, but the true failure is the one who never tries.  The only way to reach our goals is one step at a time and I firmly believe working on our spending habits is the first step.

By tithing, you are taking the money out of your account just like you do when spending.  However, the money is not replaced by a product or service.  It is invested into your community and helping your fellow man.

There is no set amount I can tell you to give.  Yes, there are places in the Bible that says a tenth of your income, but that may be too much for you at first.  Perhaps your heart leads you to give more.

Maybe you’re already giving more to other causes that help your fellow man and bring glory to God.  You may cook meals and feed the needy.  I can’t do that, but I can give my church some cash at Thanksgiving to buy turkeys for families in Wayne County.  I don’t think it’s as important how we give, but that we consistently give.  And remember, the reward comes in eternity, you don’t need to reward yourself with a new toy.

Tithing is very similar to saving for your own retirement in that it helps you see the big picture.  God knows exactly how long we’re going to live.  He didn’t tell us, but He did tell us to trust Him and to be a steward of the resources He provides.

That includes our money.  Don’t you think that means he provided us enough to use today while planning for our future and eternity?  When you’re ready to get started, email me!



Jonathan Greeson is located west of 117 and south of E. Main St.
Jonathan Greeson is located west of 117 and south of E. Main St.

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100 West Main St.
Pikeville, NC 27863