It was a sunny day, the breeze was drifting in from the nearby river, the birds were singing as only they can be heard in Africa. The peaceful, serene atmosphere of the nearby forest communicated the rest and peace that God Almighty Himself had implanted in nature. Yet, despite the obvious blessings of nature all around, a young lad of 13 years old, was looking for a way to end his own life. He had heard several times of people writing and talking about suicide.
The meaning was clear to him. He knew suicide was a means by which people end their own lives. His dilemma was however, just how do they make it happen, how? Thoughts of poison came to his mind, that is not a bad way, but where do you get poison? These and many other thoughts clouded the mind of this young 13 year old boy so that he could not as much notice or pay attention to the still call of nature to behold her beauty. He was immersed in his own frustrations and anger so much that it would have been an insult for him to have been told that there is something beautiful in the world that he lives in.
That young man is your writer today. My name is Sunday Adelaja. Will you be interested in knowing the reason that almost led me to commit suicide at the tender age of 13? As absurd and bizarre as this might sound, the reason is just because I couldn’t get enough money to supply myself with breakfast, lunch or dinner for several days running.
In the part of Europe that I live in today, hardly anyone would believe that it is actually possible for a kid as young as 13 to go several days without food. This is in Europe. The reality of our world however, is that on the other side of the world on the continent of Africa, my story is not unique. I would not be exaggerating if I said that millions of kids are in the same condition as I have described that I was in when I was a kid.
How can our world live with the thought that in the 21st century, there are actually millions of kids that would rather go through the pain of suicide just to avoid the pain of hunger? Let me tell you friends, the cruel reality is that as long as we are living in such a world where some go to bed hungry, and others live in opulent wealth, we are all guilty!
The reality is that, as long as there is poverty in our world, we are all indeed poor. The condition of our environment talks of the reality of our souls. We are all as rich as the world we live in. If the world we live in is poor then we are all poor, even with our opulence, wealth and riches.
Poverty is a reality in our world. It is a cruel, wicked and heartless reality. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) states that every year, consumers in industrialized countries waste almost as much food as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (222 million vs. 230 million tons). The amount of food lost and wasted every year is equal to more than half of the world’s annual cereal crops (2.3 billion tons in 2009/10).
In actual fact, no one should be hungry talk less of contemplating suicide in our world. The world produces more food than is needed to feed all the inhabitants of our planet; but because of the heartless and callous attitude of the people and nations who have this wealth, we are forced to live in a world where some throw food away while others die because of a lack of food.
I will however not sit down here and whine all day long about how unjust our world is. I have come to the conclusion that the world will not become what it needs to become just by itself. Unfortunately, people are people. Meaning people are first of all selfish, egocentric, before they are considerate or compassionate. People don’t really care what is happening in the world they live in as long as they are okay, that is just the cruel reality of our world.
Recently, I have started to observe the panic response of wealthy nations to the plight of immigrants and refugees trying to escape their home lands in search of better lives, who in the process have perished in the sea. All of a sudden, nations and Prime Ministers have begun to offer asylum and refuge to the survivors. I laughed out of amusement, not because I was mocking the kindness of these people, but more because, I wondered why it had to take such a grave tragedy for them to notice that the rest of the world has been languishing in need and want all the while.
I’m sorry friends, that is the nature of man. Until pain and devastation happens to us or in our backyard, we don’t really notice that this has been going on around us all the time. It is only when we feel ourselves the pain of loss or tragedy that we normally come alive with a heart of compassion. Otherwise, we just live our lives caring only about how to make ourselves more and more comfortable. If I have one car then I am thinking of how to get a second one. If I have just one apartment then at that time I am not thinking of some poor homeless kids dying in some other country, I am rather thinking of building a house. This is just the reality of human nature.
I will not say that only the rich individuals and wealthy nations have these moral challenges, it is common to all of us. Even in those countries where millions are dying on a daily basis, there are many others who could easily afford to take care of others. But just like in wealthy nations, they too are busy with getting more comfortable on a daily basis.
It is because of my awareness of this egocentric nature of man that I have come to the conclusion that the best way to resolve the problem of poverty in Africa and other developing countries, is not really through the distribution of food or money. My personal journey from a 40 hut village to an international speaker, has taught me that the best way out is to empower our people with knowledge. The reason, as I was later to discover, behind my suicide attempt was really not the lack of money or food. The main reason that led to my poverty which almost killed me prematurely was a lack of knowledge.
I have since come to discover that even in wealthy nations, this menace of ignorance especially in the area of money, is as deadly as in my 40 hut village of Idomila. Ignorance is indeed the biggest enemy of all. When it comes to poverty, the biggest reason for it is still ignorance. I therefore can boldly say that poverty is not a product of productivity or lack of it, even though that could be its consequence.
The real reason behind poverty is THE IGNORANCE OF THE LAWS OF MONEY. It is that ignorance that later leads to a lack of discovery, it leads to a lack of productivity, it leads to a lack of sales, it leads to a lack of opportunities, it leads to a lack of services, etc.
Where that ignorance is present, poverty is a possibility. That could be both in Africa and Europe. I have since come to the conclusion that to liberate Africa from the grip of poverty, we must first empower Africa with the revolutionary knowledge of the laws of money. Back to my case in the village and my attempt at suicide, the flow of my thought at that time as I can still vividly remember was; why are some people around me so wealthy and yet my family is so poor? I often wondered why I was so unfortunate to have been born into such a family.
I never could consider that those families who were wealthy were not just lucky or fortunate. I was never told that anyone who controls real wealth was first wealthy in their minds. Even those who were illiterate in the village nevertheless were very literate in the laws of money. The problem was not in the family where I was born, my problem was that my family was not exposed to these laws. We were not told of these laws either by our wealthy neighbors or by the society I lived in. Neither our school system nor any media program gave out any hints on how to make money.
To make things worse, the churches around us were not teaching anything in the area of economic empowerment or about the laws of money. On the contrary, our family and many other families around were rather constantly embarrassed that we could not give to the church as much as other families. In some cases, churches were actually responsible for the feelings of guilt and inadequacy through their constant push for more and more offerings.
If Africa is to break the claws of poverty, all our churches, cultural and community centers, must begin to teach and educate the people on the laws of money and the principles of economic empowerment. Our churches must be reoriented. We must begin to tell the people to not just come to church on Sundays to pray to God, but that after Sunday they have a place to come to on Fridays and Saturdays to learn the laws of productivity and other basic skills that will help them put food on the table for their families.
If we could get every church, cultural and community center in Africa to begin to teach skill acquisitions, economic empowerment, the process of production, and other laws of money, only then would we be able to liberate our land and continent. It is for this purpose that I put in book form all the laws and principles of making and multiplying money that I have learned over the years in the book called “MONEY WON’T MAKE YOU RICH.” My goal is to liberate 40 million people from the grip of poverty in Africa and beyond.
WHY MONEY WON’T COME
I therefore wish in this article to make a mention of some laws that are responsible for wealth and prosperity. Unfortunately, we have been fed for so long with the wrong food when it comes to money. For example, just after I became a born again Christian, the impression that I had was that I only needed to be good, in particular, to be a good Christian to prosper. The impression in Christianity was that if you could serve God with all your heart, God was going to prosper you.
Unfortunately, too many people still believe this theory and are writhing in poverty. It is not until much later in life that I discovered that it is actually the knowledge of the laws of money that are responsible for wealth. That is to say:
- You don’t become wealthy because you are a good person. Otherwise, all the good people in the world would be wealthy. As a matter of fact in most societies, most of the wealthy people are not the best people. I have actually heard many people complain about why the bad people are the only ones that have all the money. Some have even alleged that it is counterproductive to be good, because then you will be poor. The truth however is that money doesn’t come to either good or bad people. Money only comes to people who know the laws of money whether they are good or bad. In that sense we could say that money is neutral.
- Money doesn’t come to you because you do business. If that were true, how many businessmen do you know around you? Are they all very rich? No! Many people who do business, are not even aware of these laws of money. To me it is indeed pathetic that many people who have been involved in business for a few decades cannot even boast of a million US dollars. This is primarily because they are laboring without the necessary knowledge of the vital laws of money.
- You don’t become rich because you are a Christian. Even though God promises Christians wealth and prosperity, but that is only on the condition that they abide by the laws of money. The Bible says God gives us the power to make wealth. Notice that God doesn’t give wealth, He gives the power to get it. Unfortunately, many Christians are still hoping and thinking that just because they are Christians, God is obliged to give them wealth. No sir, God gives you the skills that enables you to get wealth. He doesn’t give wealth, he gives you the power to go and get wealth.
“And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. Deut. 8:18
Unfortunately, many teachers have led the body of Christ astray by teaching that if Christians would give, that that would bring prosperity to them. Some even go to the extent of saying that the more you give, the more prosperous you will become. Well, experience and reality have shown that that doctrine is not totally true. Some have given and out given themselves, leading them to poverty and wretchedness rather than prosperity and abundance. Regrettably, the scripture upon which this principle has been based is Luke 6:38
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
That scripture was actually talking about judgment. It says we should not judge people, because if we do, we will get a several fold return of the judgment we gave out ourselves. Many have now made it to look like it is talking about money. Even though there might be some truth in that principle, but when it comes to money, you don’t just give and give hoping to prosper.
Other Christians sadly enough, are still waiting for when the wealth of the wicked will come to them. Yes, even though there is a scripture that talks about that, the truth is, that is also taking the scripture out of context. The wealth of the world will only come to you if you are good enough in what you do, because the Israelites were good at what they did in Egypt before the wealth of Egypt came to them.
Secondly, the wealth of the world will only come to you if you produce better products than your competitors, that is when you are a good representative of the Kingdom of God and God will honor you for that
Thirdly, for any wealth to come to you, you must be busy producing either goods or rendering services. If you are only claiming promises, you will end up being disappointed at the end of the day.
For Christians to begin to enjoy the blessings of prosperity and wealth, it is high time for churches to begin to teach and educate their members, not just on how to give and sow seeds, but also in how to produce goods and services. There is no prosperity without goods or services.
- Money does not come to you because you name it and claim it. After naming and claiming, you need to show diligence in your work. You need to show the virtue of hard work. You need to display your dedication to the principle of the dignity of labor. For money to truly come to you, you must go ahead to prove your obedience to some other laws of money. Naming and claiming will not do it alone.
THE LAWS OF MONEY
Here I wish to begin to give you some appetizers on the laws of money. Let’s start the journey:
1. The First Law of Money that I wish to expound with you today is – MONEY IS NOT MEANT TO BE SPENT.
The first instinct of uninformed men when it comes to money is to spend it and that is the proof that they are uninformed. It is also a proof of why they will never really become wealthy. Some people even say, what is money meant for, if not to be spent.
People who understand money and its laws will tell you that when you are given a hundred dollars, you are only permitted to spend a hundred dollars when the original hundred dollar has made at least three times its original value. So if you are given a hundred US dollars and you have not found a way to multiply it or put it to work, so that it will produce for you three hundred dollars, you are not entitled to spend the original hundred dollars. If you do that and indiscriminately spend the money that comes into your hand, it shows that you will never really become wealthy.
Many people ask me, how then do I pay my bills and meet my needs? To the informed that is easy; out of the hundred dollars that came into your hand, put thirty dollars to work so that in the next few months or maybe a year or more, that thirty percent will keep on working for you. Because that one hundred dollars keeps on working for you, it is returning the original hundred dollars and more to your pocket. I am talking about increase and multiplication.
The mistake poor people make is that they see rich people buying and using flashy stuff and they want to copy them. The poor man only sees the luxury of the rich, not the laws that brought him there. Since the poor do not know or are aware of the mechanism that is working for the rich, they are not aware that the rich man is only spending after many returns have come back on his dollar. Rich people don’t spend the original capital they have, they only spend the overflow.
On the other hand, the poor man sees the luxury of the rich and rushes to become like him and throws away the initial meager amount of money in his hands. Some people even do worse, they don’t just spend the little money in their hands, they go ahead and borrow or spend in installments what they have not yet made. That way these people perpetually not only become poor, but slaves to the rich people since they have to keep on going to work for them so as to pay for their debt. Meanwhile, those rich men that the poor men are copying have already built companies, factories, stores, where the poor man eventually goes to spend the little money he has in his hands. So as soon as the rich men pay their poor workers their salaries, they have already built outlets where the poor men immediately rushes to go spend this money, returning this money into the pocket of the rich.
A good help in the service of the rich is the advertisement industry. This becomes an effective manipulator of the poor man to go and part with his hard earned money, back into the pockets of the rich. Thereby, leaving the poor poorer and the rich richer. (More on this in my book, “Money Won’t Make You Rich”)
2. The Second Law of Money that I wish to share with you today is that – MONEY MUST BE RETAINED.
The ability to retain money that comes into your hands is one of the greatest qualities of a future millionaire. What does that mean? What I mean is that whenever you are given a hundred dollars, money acts like God. Money dictates to you its wishes. Once the hundred dollar comes into your pocket, money begins to dish out to you instructions on how you must obey its command by going to spend it. This is what made Jesus call money a god – Mammon. Because money acts like God.
God gives out commandments. God commands. God orders. Money does the same things. Money desires to be obeyed just like God desires to be obeyed. So when money comes into your hands, immediately, the spirit of mammon begins to exact its authority and claim its authority over you. By retaining the money in your hand however, you are declaring your liberty and freedom over the God of mammon. You are thereby proclaiming your own independence over the spirit of greed, anxiety and lust.
If you could take a hold of the money and put it down not looking at it and not obeying its dictates by running out to spend it, you have just turned the tables on the god of mammon. You are telling money that it is no more your Lord. You’re asserting your authority over the power of money by telling it, I can have you here and not spend you because I am the one in charge. I tell you money what I want to do with you, you don’t dictate to me. I only obey the dictates of my Lord and Master Jesus Christ. That is how you break free from the power of money. Remember that money is a good servant, but a bad master.
The ability to retain money enables you to become the master of money and mammon. You stop being its slave and you assume the rulership over it. Ladies and gentlemen let me tell you why this is important. It is only the man that has mastered the act of retaining money that can calmly dispense that money to judicious use. When you already have victory over money, only after that can you begin to hear the voice of God, the leading of the Spirit, because when the voices and dictates of money stop coming to your ear, another voice comes, the voice of the Holy Spirit that begins to lead you to where you can judiciously spend that money because God only speaks in stillness and calmness.
You must stop listening to the voices and dictates of mammon before you can begin to distinctly differentiate and hear the voice and the leading of the Holy Spirit. He will lead you where to invest, He will lead you where to save, He will lead you to the right people, He will give you the understanding of the right area of business to invest in, etc.
You must be able to prove to mammon that you have the will power to ignore it, bypass it and disregard its dictates. Only the person who has been able to do this can dominate and subdue money. Once you stop taking its orders, it now begins to take your orders. When you stop being at its service, money now begins to come to your service.
3. The third law of money that I would like to share with you today out of about 25 that I have is – ANY AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT COMES TO YOUR HAND MUST NOT BE SPENT UNTIL A SIGNIFICANT PART OF IT IS INVESTED.
The lesson of the parable of the talents as told by Jesus in Matthew 25:13-30, is that any person that spends all that comes into his hands either on bills or pleasures is both wicked and lazy. The servant that Jesus condemned in that story was condemned because, he did not invest the primary capital that was entrusted into his hands. I think I would not be exaggerating if I said most of the people reading this article fall into the same category as this servant. Most of us don’t even consider investing the money that is entrusted into our hands. The reason is because we are mostly not aware of the first two laws of money I have stated above.
Before my own personal encounter with the Lord in this regard, I lived like everybody else. At that point our church was making 20,000 US dollars a month, yet before the end of the month we were already in the red. It was catastrophic, until the Lord pointed out to me to read this story again. While reading the story, I kept on comforting myself that I was a good servant, because I had a big church at that time and people were grateful to me for the changes and differences, that God had used me to make, in their lives.
What a shock it was to me when God told me that in this story I wasn’t the good servant, I was not even the second servant that got two talents. What totally devastated me was when the Lord told me that I was worse than the last servant whom He condemned in that parable. My sense of pride and self-worth was so much offended that I was angry with God momentarily. I felt it was by all means unfair to have compared me to a wicked and lazy servant. But to now say I was worse than him totally shattered and ruined my day. I needed proof and an explanation. Then God began to take me to school.
He said, at least in the case of the wicked and lazy servant, he was smart enough not to spend everything that his master had trusted into his hands. In my case however, I was spending over 20,000 US dollars on needs and bills, thinking I had excuses. I could not get myself to save, talk less of multiplying. The Lord also reminded me that there was a time I was making only 2,000 US dollars in a month.
At that time I had prayed to God that He should increase me. My belief was that if God could only help me make 5,000 US dollars in a month, I would be grateful and that that would be more than enough for me. Guess what? God answered that prayer, but once we started making 5,000 US dollars, the needs were already overwhelming, so much that the amount was again not enough, because I was not following the laws of money. When you don’t abide by the laws of money and like in my case you don’t even know them, it means that caterpillars and cankerworms are always standing by to consume the little that you make.
Here I was again rushing to God in prayer to increase our income to 10,000 US dollars. I was sure that if we could earn 10,000 US dollars we would never be in need again. Well, you can guess what happened. My rude awakening happened when we were already making 20,000 US dollars and yet not meeting our needs. God’s conviction was so strong that I had no option but to break down in sorrow and repentance. The straw that broke the camel’s back came when I said to the Lord, I know I am not lazy by any standard, but you spoke of that man as being lazy.
At that point I was working 18 hours a day. How can I be working for 18 hours and still be called lazy? Again the Lord came to my rescue, He said by being lazy here, He was talking about my refusal to think, laziness of the mind in relation to money. He said the laws and the principles of managing money are out there; I should not have been so lazy not to go in search of them and my failure to develop myself in the question of finances was also a form of laziness.
The fact that I did not bother to study financial matters or even go for financial consultations all pointed in the direction of this laziness – mental laziness. I thought I had an excuse, my argument was I am a pastor, I want to do my business, besides I had never heard any pastor preach or teach on this. To which the Lord told me, that is not an excuse and I am answerable only to Him. He has all the knowledge for anyone that is diligent enough to ask, seek and knock.
This revelation changed my life for good. Immediately after this, I called the board of our church and I declared to them that we were going to cut a lot of our expenses with a significant part of our income going on savings and eventually into investments. That was another hurdle that I needed to surmount, because my board said, we are a church, and we don’t do investments, we only spend, we don’t invest or multiply.
To cut the long story short, I was able to get the church to start putting aside the first ten percent of all that came in for savings and investments. We gradually moved from there to thirty percent of all that came in for savings and investments. As a result, I was able to make our church a millionaire church in one year, that is in surplus. After attaining this with the church, I dared to challenge myself to make my first million US dollars in the next two years. I studied all I could on the subject. With my experience from helping the church make money, I was surprised when after 9 months I was able to make my first million US dollars instead of in 2 years.
For my next target, I decided to prove the efficacy of these principles by helping my church members become millionaires. I started with ordinary people and by the grace of God in the next three years, I was able to raise 200 millionaires in US dollars from within our congregation. Yes, the die had been cast. The Lord was right after all. I had learnt my lessons. No more going back!!!
Ladies and gentlemen, what am I trying to tell you – why am I taking my time to go into all these details? I simply want to help you to understand that if we could open the eyes of our people in Africa and other developing countries to know the laws of money, then we would be indeed able to help our continent. I am convinced that giving out food or money will not last for long, but if we will change the approach to money with our people, we will empower them to be forever free. Ignorance indeed is the only killer around.
“My people perish for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6.
It is what we don’t know that is killing us. Because of ignorance, most people waste money, others spend money, while only a few invest money. Looking back, I can actually see now that even in my 40 hut village of Idomila, with the abject poverty around, I could have had enough, if only I had known these laws of money. Nobody could have been living in the type of poverty that I grew up in if only we had been educated in the rudiments of the laws of money. It is therefore my belief that the true key to financial liberty for our continent and the world at large is to bring the knowledge of the laws of money to become a common subject in schools, governments, institutions, community centers, cultural centers, churches, mosques, etc.
If we could teach our people not just to know these laws, but to religiously observe them, we would have dealt a heavy blow to the dragon of poverty in our world.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CHURCH AND NATION
By Pastor Sunday Adelaja