Alex Cook from Wealth With Purpose was a guest on Vision radio’s 20Twenty show recently.
Alex offers courses, coaching, and consultancy on financial matters and he’s been doing it for a long time. Two decades in fact.
Better still, Alex is passionate about helping Christians use and build wealth for God’s kingdom.
Alex’s wealth with purpose courses are about helping people use that money God has blessed them with in a way that honours Him.
Alex spoke to Vision via Skype from South America where he’s expanding his ministry, and said from the outset that there’s no way we can separate our money from our faith.
“In fact it often surprises people to find out that in the Bible there are more than 2,300 verses in relation to money.”
“In fact when Jesus preached, about 15 percent of His preaching was believed to be around money and economic issues.”
“And eleven of the thirty-nine parables that Jesus told were also about money. So clearly God and God’s Word that money is obviously an important issue in our faith,” Alex declared, saying we need to get a handle on it and make sure it doesn’t interfere with our relationship with God.
Alex Cook stated that one of the things about money is that it can come between us and God.
“At the end of the day money is very much a heart issue. For that reason that’s why I believe it’s critical that as believers we make sure we’re right with God and right with money in relation to God,” Alex explained.
But there’s a catch when it comes to money. Alex said we say to ourselves God is first. But is He first with our money?
“If God’s not first with our money then the question is, is He first at all?” Alex queried, admitting it sounds tough in one sense but he believes that’s true.
“It’s very easy to say ‘I love God and God’s first’ but is that reflected in the way that we budget, is it reflected in our generosity? Is it reflected in the use of our money to help those in need?” Alex noted, mentioning the need to fund those things that have eternal value.
Alex said by looking at people’s bank statements you can read it as a theological document.
“It tells you what you believe. Your bank statements and credit card statements very much reflect what’s important to you.”
“So I could look at someone’s bank and credit card statements and get a reasonable idea as to what is actually important to them. And that’s where you can start to question, are we actually right with God in this area of money. It’s absolutely critical.’” Alex observed.
Neil Johnson raised the hoary chestnut question of whether it’s right or wrong to build wealth. Alex’s response was to say there’s a distinction between saving as opposed to hoarding.
Alex used the Biblical illustration of the ant that stores away its needs for the future.
“Saving for the future is a very sensible thing. And by saving you are technically building wealth. And there’s all sorts of reasons why we might save,” Alex said, with examples such as the children’s education and retirement. But he had this caveat to attach to the retirement question.
“I don’t believe per se in retirement. I encourage people to live their calling. But in saying that, at some point we all cease work from paid employment so we need to save for the future,” Alex advised.
But hoarding is a different matter. Alex Cook targeted those who are setting money aside that is never going to be used. He said it has no purpose and is often driven by fear.
“We hoard money away out of fear that we’re going to run out. Or that we’re not going to have enough,” Alex commented, saying there’s a big distinction from a Christian perspective between saving verses hoarding.
That led Alex to ask the question as to what it is we might be saving for aside from the legitimate normal things such as children’s education.
“There’s also eternal things with the resources that you can sew into ministries. Vision media, or sewing into your local church, evangelism, or missions, there’s so many opportunities that I call inventing eternity,” Alex detailed.
Alex said he encourages people to use and build wealth so that they can invest in eternity. The things that are going to last forever.
Alex then testified that he wants to get to heaven and hear the words, ‘Well done good and faithful servant.’
“I want that to be partly having used the resources that God’s given me. Not just money but the talents He’s given me. But using those things that are going to last forever.” Alex declared.
“In fact I have a belief that when you get to heaven you’ll meet many of the people that you didn’t meet in this life, but where the resources you contributed led to them being saved,” Alex pointed out, saying it could have been money that went to a church plant and you meet a person who was saved because of that.
“I think that’s one of the really exciting things about having that eternal focus to your money and your wealth.”
To know whether or not we’re doing the right thing with our money can be determined by our identity. Alex Cook said our identity is the way we see ourselves.
“The problem we face in Western culture is that we now tend to identify ourselves by the kind of job we have, the car we drive, the schools we send our children to and the house we have,” Alex described, saying we identify ourselves by more worldly things.
“As a Christian we need to regain our identity in Christ. Realise that we are precious children of God and that we have a Father in heaven who loves us,” Alex shared, saying our identity needs to come through that relationship and not through the things in this world.
“If your identity is through the things of this world, they can be taken off you very, very easily.”
Alex testified to this, saying that when he was 21 years old and a young, ‘gung ho’ stockbroker, his identity was in his highly paid job and the car he drove. But it was very problematic.
“It was problematic in two ways. One is that God wants us to identify ourselves as being His children. But it’s also very dangerous because if you lose your job, or your assets or your income, then all of a sudden you’ve lost your identity,” Alex said.
“This is possibly one of the biggest problems that Christians experience in a culture that tells us that our value is in what we have and in what we do.”
That was one of the first examples. Alex said another common sign is anxiety around money.
“It’s very problematic when we find ourselves lying in bed at night always thinking about money. Are these bills going to get paid?”
“We know statistically now that 50 percent of Australians live month to month. So if they lose their jobs they’re going to be affected quite quickly,” Alex said, saying there are solutions to anxiety about money.
“Another common sign is whether we’re living the generous life we’re called to. Once again statistically we know that the average Christian gives around two percent of their disposable income.”
This is a miserly amount when compared to the early church that shared everything.
“I think we tend to think of things as ‘ours’ rather than God’s and I think that’s where the problems arise.
Alex Cook said there’s other things as well such as lack of contentment. That’s when you’re often thinking you need more. ‘I want more than what I’ve got.’
But Alex said that possibly the biggest problem in Western culture with money is the excessive debt some people have.
“People are drowning in debt and a lot of that is by buying things they don’t really necessarily need,” Alex tabled, mentioning the need for a house may be legitimate, he’s referring to the consumption items.
“But these are some of the warning signs that may be things aren’t quite right and we need to reflect on them and essentially take action,” Alex summarized.
Alex Cook has advised individuals and businesses on how to manage their finances for over 19 years. He recently sold his successful financial planning business to pursue his goal of helping people to take control of their finances and future.
Alex is passionate about sharing his entrepreneurial and marketing skills to help kingdom businesses and Christian ministries to thrive.
He said he was fortunate enough to learn the skills on how to build, market, and grow a business through first hand experience and he believes he is called to share and release others to thrive in what God has called them to do.