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Christian and Money Series- Wayside Ministry: Part 10

Introduction

Post 1 originally predicted this series would end at post 5. Instead, this post 10 will be the last in the Christians and Money Series. This journey is just short of 18,000 words has given me greater clarity to navigate the Wayside Ministry’s goal.
Due to the difficulty of forming a trusting, sincere relationship, there are many barriers between developing a Patron and Recipient relationship. Post 9 showed Patron and Recipient both have boundaries, life themes, and priorities. When they come together to form the Patron-Recipient relationship, these boundaries, life-themes, and priorities meld creates the common ground of a sincere, trusting relationship over time between them. The levels of trust and sincerity vary and change according to the unique blending outcomes.
Henceforth, the word boundaries or boundary used in this post shall mean boundaries, life themes, and priorities.

This post has the following sections to address practical issues arising from this blending.

  1. Wayside Ministry – A recap.
  2. Flexibility and Adaptability of the Wayside Ministry Models.
  3. Nature of Patron and Recipient Relationships.
  4. Patron and Recipient Boundary Concerns.
  5. Various Economic Scenarios of the Wayside Ministry.
  6. Practical Help of Wayside Ministry

Wayside Ministry- Recap

The Wayside Ministry
Table Summarizing the Wayside Ministry Traits

This Wayside Ministry was something both my wife and myself experimented with over the last 15 years. My wife started this independently without my knowledge. The neighborhood environment presented the environment for the Wayside Ministry.
The table shows the Wayside Ministry spanning a continuum across the categories of resource commitment level, duration of commitment, availability, and visibility. The table displays the flexibility of the Wayside Ministry to be able to adapt to various real-life scenarios. This adaptability is critical to accommodate the endless permutations of boundaries.

Flexibility and Adaptability

The Wayside Ministry is one of the means to experience soul salvation by fulfilling the 2nd Commandment of love, according to 1Pet1:7-9, 1:22. Remember, post 6 that presented the evidence to show the paramount importance of soul salvation?
This table shows a continuum of related traits that one can flexibly and interchangeably adopt in a single relationship.
E.g., Most Wayside relationships start as a Jesus’ model with sincere but low commitment and occasional engagement. As trust forms and sincerity reciprocated, this relationship gradually develops over time into a good neighbor relationship. If Recipient’s family social support becomes available, the innkeeper model or Jesus’ model is more relevant to allow family support to be the primary support.
The Wayside Ministry is to provide support where the traditional sources fail to materialize. It must never be the Wayside Ministry’s intention to deprive the Recipient’s family network of soul salvation opportunities.
The Wayside Ministry is not a linear model. The three models can function simultaneously within a single relationship. Where trust is present, the good neighbor model is relevant. But for areas where trust is insufficient, Jesus’ model is more appropriate. As such, the Patron needs to select the models flexibly and blend them to provide the best fit for the circumstances.

The Patron-Recipient relationship is predicated on God, presenting the opportunity to form a relationship. Without this opportunity, it will be an effort devoid of God’s purpose and will. In-other words, there is no stress to make this relationship happen. The Wayside relationship occurs organically.
The Patron also needs to recognize and expect that the Patron-Recipient relationship has an expiry date. The goal is to support the Recipient. The means is a trusting and sincere relationship (later sections will propose a framework to achieve this). Without the means, the goal is nonexistent. The ultimate GOAL is for one’s soul salvation that has eternal consequences.

Nature of Patron and Recipient Relationships

Patron and Recipient Relationships

Patron and Recipient Relationships are Either Pre-existing Relationships or New Relationships

It is also common that the Patron has an existing relationship with the Recipient. This pre-existing relationship provides a natural entry engagement for the Patron-Recipient relationship to form. I know of one Patron-Recipient relationship that developed about 6 years after they have become friends. During these 6 years, the boundaries were exchanged and engaged based on friendship. When the Recipient fell on hard times, that friendship fostered the Patron-Recipient relationship.
When a new Patron-Recipient relationship is forming, the Wayside ministry has a likelihood to take the following pathway.

  1. Ice Breaker Stage to Clarify Superficial Boundaries

Usually, the Recipient has voiced the need for support. However, the boundaries relating to this Recipient is unknown, and the nature of support also requires clarification.

At this point, the Patron and Recipient are strangers. The ice breaker stage is a superficial exchange of boundary information. To show goodwill, after the Recipient clarifies the nature of help required, the Patron offers temporary and limited support according to their boundary conditions.

  1. Post Ice Breaker Stage, Hangover.

The help received will elicit a response from the Recipient. This response can assume the following forms. When the word

    1. The Recipient acknowledges the sincerity of the Patron and reciprocates to offer more boundary information. Likewise, the Patron offers more boundary information. This exchange fosters the consolidation of a Patron-Recipient relationship that mutually respects each other’s boundaries based on trust and sincerity.
    2. The Patron and Recipient do not feel that the boundaries were respected or acceptable. In such an instance, the relationship usually ends by mutual consent amicably. The Patron may maintain an offer to help even after the Recipient has decided to terminate this relationship.
    3. A blend of “a” and “b.” This outcome is usually the case because of incomplete boundary information. In such instances, either the Patron or the Recipient may seek clarity on the response and associated concerns relating to the boundaries. After that, the outcome could be a repeat of the Ice Breaker Stage, “a” or “b.” The Wayside Ministry model is flexibly adopted here to account for the dynamic nature of the outcomes.
  1. Relationship Nurturing Stage

The objective of the nurturing stage is to support Recipient independence, not deepening dependency. Independence occurs across the domains of physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and social. Fostering resilience in these 5 domains takes time and intimate knowledge of the Recipient’s situation and tapping or expanding the Recipient’s resources and social network.

The Patron may want to equip themselves with financial literacy, coaching skills, and counseling skills. The social domain involves connecting the Recipient with government social aid if they qualify, entreating their family members to partner with the Wayside Ministry effort, or inviting other like-minded parties willing to help with the permission of the Recipient.

Patron and Recipient Boundary Concerns

The Patron has the following boundary concerns.

  1. The Patron support is appearing or/and acting in a way that violates the Recipient’s privacy. Even worse is the Patron seems to control the life of the Recipient.
  2. Gender boundaries Confusing compassion for sexual attraction.
  3. The Patron support has conflicts with the Recipient’s next of kin/family authority or influence.
  4. The Patron support reinforcers the carnality of the Recipient.
  5. The Patron is held hostage by the Recipient, usually in the emotional sense, demanding support as an entitlement.
  6. The Recipient takes the Patron for granted as an infinite resource.

The Recipient has the following boundary concerns.

  1. Recipient privacy boundaries are not respected, and they feel their life is controlled or manipulated by the Patron.
  2. The Recipient’s family has conflicts with the Patron.
  3. The Recipient doesn’t want the Patron to view them as leeches. This worry compromises their sense of self-worth.
  4. The Recipient is afraid his actions jeopardize the Patron’s Commitment. In this way, his actions appear to be under surveillance.

It will take the Holy Spirit’s wisdom to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves to navigate the above concerns to attain harmony between the Patron and Recipient’s boundaries.

Wise as Serpents and Harmless as Doves within Boundaries

The guiding principle to attain harmony draws from the 1st and 2nd Commandments.
Firstly the 3 Do NO HARMs-

  1. Do NO HARM to God’s desire to help Man avoid carnality.
  2. Do NO HARM to the Patron’s sense of self-worth.
  3. Do NO HARM to the Recipient’s sense of self-worth.

Secondly, the dealings are sincere, respectful, and done with integrity.
If this harmony is of the 3 do no harm, sincerity, respect, and integrity are unachievable simultaneously after the post ice breaker stage, this means the Patron-Recipient relationship is not viable.
In actuality, the assessment of viability is not that clear cut and subjective. The measures of self-worth, sincerity, respect, and integrity are subjective. If the Patron and Recipient boundaries are too out of sync or overly complicated, this subjectivity gap or complexity could be the main barrier to forming a viable relationship. Simply put, the Patron and Recipient need to get along with one another.

Various Economic Scenarios of the Wayside Ministry

This section covers how to apply the Wayside Ministry blended model with the following economic baseline scenarios.

>> Rich” width=”957″ height=”677″> Life Scenarios Poor >>> Rich

The Poor Single Income Scenario

This scenario has a single breadwinner income of $3,000.00, which is less than the median of $4,000.00 with 2 children and 2 dependents, aged parents with 6 persons in the household. Household expenses are about $500.00 per person below the $650.00, which partially meets the condition to qualify for social aid.
The family under this scenario cannot afford to help others but needs financial and social support. In this instance, the breadwinner’s primary soul salvation goal is to support the self and the family’s needs. The Wayside Ministry in this scenario is self and family.

The Single Income Slightly Above Median Scenario

This scenario has a single breadwinner income of $6,000.00 is above the median of $4,000.00, with 2 children and 2 dependents, aged parents with 6 persons in the household. Household expenses are about $1000.00 per person.
The family with this scenario is similar to the low single income scenario. There is no excess between income and expenses. The Wayside Ministry in this scenario is self and family.

The Double Income Slightly Above Median Scenario with Dependents

This scenario has a double breadwinner income of $10,000.00 with 2 children and 2 dependents, aged parents with 6 persons in the household. Household expenses are about $1500.00 per person.
The family with this scenario is similar to the low single income scenario, albeit with some excess. The income exceeds the expenses by $1,000.00 a month. The Wayside Ministry in this scenario is self and family.
The 3 scenarios above are evidence of why apostle Paul encourages those who are single to remain single (1Co7:8) in-order that they may be able to serve the Lord without the encumbrances of family relationships. Nevertheless, apostle Paul recognized that not all are called to be single as he was (1Co7:7, 7:9).
I know of a family that has also experienced all the above 3 scenarios over their lives. The wife helped her neighborhood friends in need during this period, sometimes in the small sums of money to tie over a difficult period. However, due to her financial constraints, she usually offers nonfinancial help. For example, she would accompany them for medical appointments paying for the transport costs and representing them before the doctors due to language barriers. Another avenue of help was applying for government social aid on their behalf by completing the paperwork and passing the means test interview with the social worker.
Sometimes the help took the form of cleaning up their house that desperately needed upkeep due to their poor physical condition. The wife and her friend would partner with one another in this Wayside Ministry. The above examples show that the Wayside Ministry is still possible without being well off.

The Double Income Slightly Above Median Scenario without Dependents

This scenario has a double breadwinner income of $10,000.00 with 2 children and no dependents, aged parents with 6 persons in the household. Household expenses are about $1500.00 per person.
In such a scenario, the excess per month is $4,000.00. Setting aside 1/3 from this amount to support the Wayside Ministry amounts to about $1,300.00 a month.

Properties and Children’s Education

From my wealth stewardship journey, minimizing debt is a must, and settling one’s debts should be prioritized ahead of the wayside ministry. It is prudent and necessary not to burden oneself with untenable mortgages. Personally, my property had a multiplier of about 3 times the typical household median income (2 working adults = $8,000.00), and the loan was cleared by age 40.
Setting aside sufficient for the children’s education is the responsibility of the parents. The parental Wayside Ministry duties are the family before focusing outside the family.
The question is, how much is too much to allocate for property and education expenses? While the figures cited below are arbitrary, the quantum measured from the median baseline (see post 8) speaks for themselves to convey the excessiveness that Col3:5 calls idolatry (see Post 3 for more on Col3:5).
My convictions that buying properties (the home to stay, which is different from investment, see Conclusion section) and incurring educational expenses that exceed the following would be jeopardizing the potential of one’s soul salvation.

Property should cost the lower of the two

  1. Properties price should not cost more than three times one’s annual household income for those with a household income below the median.
  1. For household incomes above the median, properties should not cost more than 5-6 times (arbitrary number) the median annual household income. The median monthly income in post 8 was about SGD 4,000.00. If inclusive of employer’s contribution, 1-month yearly bonus, and dual-income household, the median monthly household income is about SGD 10,000.00 or SGD 120,000.00 on an annual basis. This guideline places the property prices between SGD$600,000.00 to SGD$ 720,000.00.


Education should cost no more than twice the cost of local university education.
Singapore local university education cost about $30,000,00 to $40,000.00 (excluding medical) for a 3 to 4-year undergraduate degree. See link – https://blog.moneysmart.sg/education/singapore-university-education-cost/
Factoring about SGD$15,000.00 per year for living expenses over 4 years, the total to fund a 4-year undergraduate education in Singapore is about SGD$100,000.00.

For example, if one is considering an overseas education, an Australian education cost about SGD30,000 a year, with the cost of living about SGD$20,000.00 a year. For a 4 year undergraduate course, the total is about SGD$200,000.00.

The Retiree Scenario at No. 6 Wealth Stage (see Post 8 that explains how this wealth stage is determined)

Assume this retiree couple has saved $1,200,000.00, which is about 2.2 times the minimum amount to qualify for stage 6 of the balanced wealth stage mentioned in post 7. Their monthly expenses are $3,000.00 a month.
This scenario assumes the home mortgage is paid off, fully funded children’s education needs, and accumulated 1.2 million in liquid assets. This scenario offers the retiree an adequate foundation to experience the Wayside Ministry. Conservatively, the allocated amount for the Wayside Ministry ranges between $1,000 to $2,000.00 per month to prevent prematurely exhausting the funds.

Practical Help of Wayside Ministry

Physical Help

  1. Offer regular logistical help to meet up doctor appointments, similar to the neighbor or innkeeper model.
  2. Clean the house on occasions, similar to the innkeeper model.
  3. Help them settle administrative matters with the authorities, banking, etc.
  4. Buy food and groceries on their behalf, similar to the innkeeper model.

Financial Help

  1. Start in small amounts such as paying for the meal or pay for the transport cost—low commitment, similar to Jesus’ model.
  2. Provide monthly financial assistance up to a maximum of $500.00 per person. Notably, $500.00 is an arbitrary number close to an individual’s median cost mentioned in Post 7. This number may need upward adjustment according to account for inflation effects and Recipient circumstances. This high commitment is similar to the neighbor model.

Because the financial help comes with NO strings attached, it is needful that the money does not fund their addiction to carnal habits.

Emotional and Mental Support

  1. Be available to Recipient as a friend on equal terms—both able to share details of one’s life vulnerably within the boundary limits.
  2. Offer alternative perspectives while being compassionate with the Recipient’s situation.

Conclusion

Wayside Ministry in the Wealth Stewardship Ecosystem

The Wayside Ministry is a sober-minded approach to wealth stewardship. It prioritizes healthy self-love, family, and dependents. Before one can be a Patron that serves beyond self and family, the Patron must provide for themselves and not neglect family needs. The Wayside Ministry can also assume nonfinancial forms that are valued by the Recipient.
Boundaries of both Patron and Recipient are respected. It is essential to realize that the economic realities, life choices, the worry of the future, and inheritance affect both the Patron and the Recipient alike, as presented in the above visual.
Investment, which can include property purchases, may take priority over the Wayside Ministry. These investments may displace the Wayside Ministry. The individual may gain more control, prestige, and wealth due to these investments at the expense of SOUL salvation and lose out in their eternal life. Jesus mentioned in Mat6:1-6, where Man receives their praise and reward on earth, they risk forfeiting the recognition and reward from God the Father.

Does it mean investing is bad? Of course not. Investment is an integral part of wealth Stewardship. What’s important is the motivation behind the investment and balancing the investment needs with the Recipient’s needs. Each person will receive different divine mandates concerning this balance. Live life with the right reasons to fulfill the 1st and 2nd Commandments, and all will work out for our good who LOVE Him (1st and 2nd Commandment) and called after His purpose (Rom8:28).
These Christian and Wealth Series have attempted to offer guidelines that shine on these “right reasons” to support a more objective self-examination. While it is good to be materially rich in this mortal life, it is wiser that one is rich in the life to come.

Singapore Wealth Landscape: A Layman Assessment

Introduction

 

Net Worth – What Does it Mean?

 

Mothership released an article about Singapore’s wealth statistics on 5th January 2021. This article revealed some statistics based on the report issued by Credit Suisse 2019 Global Wealth Report.

This post has the goal to share insights based on some of the wealth figures from this article. These insights bear significance which countries and individuals can benefit if they can realize them.

To access this article, click on this link – https://mothership.sg/2020/01/singapore-millionaires/

 

Singapore Wealth Report (In the Rich Range)

 

Singapore Summary Wealth Report (2019) provided by Credit Suisse

 

The above reveals that about 5% of Singapore’s population (226,000) is in the top 1% of global wealth holders. The article defines this wealth as total net wealth, including the family’s primary home. The net wealth naturally needs to exclude all manner of debts

Households Statistics by the Singapore Department of Statistics

 

The above 2019 data reveals that about 21.2 % of households reside in Condominium and Landed Properties. See the following link to access this data – https://www.singstat.gov.sg/find-data/search-by-theme/households/households/latest-data.

The same link from Singstat shows that the average household size was 3.16 in 2019. Assuming all the individuals in the 5% segment of the population were single-income households (which is a very conservative assumption) gives us a household population of 714,160 (216,000 x 3.16) that represents this 5% category. Notably, a news article in 2016 revealed that 53.8% of married couples were double income. See the following link for the news article – https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/getting-more-to-be-dual-income-couples. This household population of 714,160 out of a population size of 5 million is about 14.3%.

It was needful to determine the top 5% of the wealthiest household size of 14.3% in Singapore to compare with the 21.2% of the household that lives in private properties. This difference shows that about 6.9% of the homes are living beyond their means.

Average Property Prices Reported by Today Online 11th April 2019

 

The article from Today newspaper revealed that the average property price is about USD874,372.00 See link for this article –  https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/singapore-worlds-second-most-expensive-housing-market-cbre-report.

According to Credit Suisse’s report, to qualify for Singapore’s wealthiest top 5% of the population, the net worth needs to be at least USD936,400.00.

The difference between these two values is about USD62,028. Those who barely qualified for the top 5% category would have about 93.4% of their wealth trapped in their property. With the rest of the wealth in cash, the government forced savings called CPF and other investable forms.

 

We can draw two observations at this juncture

  1. The difference between 21.2% of households living in private properties and 14.3% of the wealthiest household in Singapore is about 6.9%. 6.9% at the rich spectrum, about 345,000 of the 5 million population live beyond their means at the rich range.
  2. The above 6.9% will double if half of the 5% wealthiest segment are double-income households, which is still a very conservative assumption, given that 53.8% of married couples are double income.

The observations above infer that a third to about half of the private property owners overcommit to their properties.

 

Singapore Wealth Report (In the Median Range)

The median wealth better represents the average wealth due to the ultra-rich that skews the MEAN wealth value towards the spectrum’s wealthy end. Thus the median wealth of USD96,967 converts to about SGD126,057.

HDB Flat Type and Average Price

 

See link – https://blog.seedly.sg/what-type-of-hdb-flat-can-i-afford/ the above table.

Since about 80% of households stay in HDB, it stands to reason that most of the wealth reported is locked in the form of the HDB value. The value of SGD126,057 would indicate that most HDB dwellers (median effects) are residing in the 3-Room and 4-Room flat type, which is another factual observation that reinforces the connection between the reported median wealth by Credit Suisse and the outcomes on the ground. Given that the average CPF balance is about SGD77,000 (see link – https://www.cpf.gov.sg/Assets/members/Documents/CPFTrends_Net_Balances_2015.pdf) in 2014, and accounting for the value of the HDB, it appears that the median Singaporean would not be cash-rich.

An important point to note is the HDB’s success in providing a stable living environment for the average Singaporean. The “smart” thing to do is to avoid buying HDB at high valuations to maximize the cash and CPF wealth components down the road. The necessary thing to do is to continue working as long as possible if passive income cannot cover living expenses.

 

Singapore Wealth Report (In the Poor Range)

 

 

The post lifted off the above from weblink shared in the Introduction section.

This population segment likely does not own any HDB and/or is living with someone else or in a rented HDB. It is also likely this segment can qualify for social aid from the government.

 

Conclusion

This post using public domain data has painted Singapore’s economic landscape with findings that part of the population’s wealthy segment has likely overcommitted to their property aspirations. In contrast, the population’s median wealth segment has significantly benefited from the HDB scheme. The poorer segment of the population will foreseeably need government assistance to alleviate their financial situation.

 

 

 

 

Christians and Money Series- Natural Applications 1 (Economics): Part 7

Introduction

This post 7 of the Christians and Money Series aims to explore economic aspects of natural applications to deal with wealth in-light of the realizations that have emerged over the last 6 posts. The flow of this post will be as follows

  1. The basic assumption section lays the foundation that underpins natural applications. These assumptions draw from the previous posts.
  1. The reality check section attempts to define the shared economic baseline from which self-examination can take place. This self-examination provides clarity regarding one’s financial reality and aspirations. (Item 1 and 2 in Post 7)
  1. The Minas’s parable (mentioned in post 6) reveals wealth stewardship and the shortcomings between social giving and active faith
  1. This section sacrifices the sacred cow of “Inheritance” by comparing it to RELATIONSHIPS’ focus and value. (Item 3 and 4 in Post 8)
  1. This section discusses the practical Issues of wealth stewardship and adopting the blend of the Wayside Ministry. (Item 5 in Post 9)
Economics of Wealth Stewardship Photo by Evangeline Shaw on Unsplash

As this post focuses on natural applications, the following sections would appear to offer financial advice, property purchase advice, and wealth management advice. This appearance is unfortunate and difficult to avoid. The natural application draws approaches from the secular domain to identify the metrics to quantify personal wealth situation and economic pursuits relative to the median baseline.

This post 7 is NOT offering any expert advice. Post 7 natural applications are similar to the post 6 goals, creating awareness and supporting new valued-perspectives while laying to rest old ones.

Natural Applications will be divided into 3 parts to promote readability by limiting the post word limit to around 2500 words or less. Post 7, Natural Application 1 will narrate items 1 and 2. Items 3 and 4 will be in post 8, Natural Application 2, while item 5 will be in post 9, Natural Application 3.

Basic Assumption

The natural applications of money could appear naïve to the casual reader. Therefore it is necessary to clarify the underlying assumption with the hope the reader can share this assumption.

Is Christian LOVE Laughable and Naïve? (Photo by Lidya Nada on Unsplash)

The assumption is to focus on and value God’s 7 appeals in post 4, summarized in one word, RELATIONSHIPS. Posts 5 and 6 expanded the meaning and significance of these RELATIONSHIPS. If the casual reader cannot assimilate these appeals, meaning, and importance as values, the reader will find the ideas floated in this post 7 as laughable and naïve.

The reason being is that these ideas make one vulnerable to be taken advantage of. This truth and fact are unavoidable. Jesus’ allowed Himself to be taken advantage of by humanity when He submitted to His Father’s will to die at the cross. Moreover, God the Father’s offer of Jesus has been rejected and scorned by many.

The world ridicules such naivety, which contradicts Peter in 1Pet2:19-23, who said suffering wrongfully while doing good is commendable before God because God the Father and Jesus have set Themselves an example for the believer to emulate. Notwithstanding this, God realizes the associated risks. There are two safeguards against these risks.

  1. Internally, believers need to entrust themselves to the hands of the faithful Creator, Father God, (1Pet4:19), the Shepherd (The Lord Jesus), and overseer of the soul, the Holy Spirit (1Pet2:25). This entrusting involves the triune God, shows the severity of the matter.

Entrusting requires the believers to be clear and convicted (Faith) of the hope of heaven as a goal-purpose (1Pet1:3, 1Co15) while pursuing a meaningful and significant relationship with God and Man as Family while on earth.

In such matters, God is the believer’s vengeance seeker (Rom12:19), defender and strength (Psa28:7), and source of honor (Rom10:11).

The Duality of Christian Conduct
  1. Externally, Jesus urged believers to be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves (Mat10:16). Rom16:19 offers Paul’s interpretation, “to be wise in what is good and simple concerning evil.” The Wayside Ministry section of Boundary Concerns will explore the understanding and clarity of what constitutes good to mediate the harm of being taken advantage of.

In summary, believers need to be ready to be taken advantage of and suffer wrongfully. Therefore, It requires one to trust God where faith, hope, and love are operating. Knowing about this “good” that one is doing is wisdom to navigate the treacherous terrain of the 2nd Commandment of loving one’s neighbor as yourself.

Reality Check

This section is somewhat technical. I encourage you to go thru this exercise as an attempt at honest self-examination. This exercise is more rigorous than the reality check of post 1.

SHARED ECONOMIC REALITY Photo by MAX LIBERTINE on Unsplash

This section clarifies the economic reality to create a shared economic baseline for the reader. Man’s economic reality is a by-product of man’s will (choice) and their environment (life circumstances of time and chance). The assumptions of the previous section anchor the reader as they progress along with this post. The following economic realities form the basis to develop the shared economic baseline.

  1. The median take-home income.
  2. The median cost of living.
  3. The poverty threshold to qualify for social aid.
  4. Affordable housing to accommodate a 4-6 person family size.

I am taking Singapore (location specific), where I reside, as an example to determine the 4 economic realities.

Four Measures of Economic Realities

The median take-home income

The individual median take-home income (2019) is $4,000.00. See link for data source- https://stats.mom.gov.sg/Pages/Singapore-Yearbook-Of-Manpower-Statistics-2020-Income-Earnings-and-Wages.aspx.

The median cost of living

Cost of Living Figures (2018)

The individual median cost of living, excluding rental and housing loans, is $1,200.00. The 4th quintile number is adopted to represent the average cost better. Notably, the 20th quintile is $50 less than the value of $650.00, below which one can qualify for social aid.

The cost of living was computed from the following link. https://www.moneyowl.com.sg/articles/how-much-do-i-need-to-retire-in-singapore-and-how-do-i-build-my-retirement-income-stream/.

The Poverty Threshold to Qualify for Social Aid

Social Aid

Singapore’s Ministry of Social and Family Development means-testing to qualify for social aid is not more than $650.00 per person and below $1,900.00 per household. See link- https://www.msf.gov.sg/Comcare/Pages/Public-Assistance.aspx

Affordable housing to accommodate a 4-6 person family size

Wiki developed the above data. See link –https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Median_multiple. It shows how to gauge whether housing cost is affordable or not.

HDB Flat Type and Average Price

About 80% of Singaporeans live in government-built flats call HDB flats. Private properties cost more than 5 times on a per square feet basis than HDB flats. See the link for the 80% statistics (https://data.gov.sg/dataset/estimated-resident-population-living-in-hdb-flats?resource_id=a7d9516f-b193-4f9b-8bbf-9c85a4c9b61b). The above data shows HDB flats cost is as per the link – https://blog.seedly.sg/what-type-of-hdb-flat-can-i-afford/

Four Economic Metrics to Form the Economic Baseline

Shared Economic Metrics

Based on the above data, one can develop the following 4 metrics to frame the property aspirations, wealth stage, and standard of living against the median baselines
Determine your living expenses multiplier per persona as a multiple of the median $1200.00 a month per person (average retiree living standard).

Note the $1,200 denominator excludes rental, mortgage, insurance, car loan/maintenance, and education. This value is for the retirement stage of life.

My multiplier W= 1.3 as it includes insurance. This measure quantifies how much beyond or below is one’s living standard relative to the median living standard of a retiree in Singapore. This value of 1.3 means I am living by 30% above the median living standard.

Determine your minimum living expenses multiplier per persona as a multiple of the minimum $650.00 a month per person (below which qualifies for social aid)

Note the $650 denominator excludes rental, mortgage, insurance, car loan/maintenance, and education. This number is the amount below which one qualifies for social aid.

My multiplier X= 2.4 as it includes insurance. This measure quantifies how much beyond or below is one’s living standard relative t the median living standard of a retiree in Singapore. This value of 2.4 means I am living by 140% above the minimum living standard.

Determine your selected house cost as a multiplier of the cheaper housing cost that can accommodate the same number of residents

The median household income of 2 persons, which gives a value of $8,000.00, is the denominator. Therefore, my Z=2.92. This Z value placed the property purchase within the affordable range of 3.0 and under.

Determine the Wealth Stage

Moats Approach

Wealth Stage, Z1 comprises of two values

  1. The 1st value, Z1-1, is the stage of wealth that ranges from 1 to 10.
  2. The 2nd value is the multiplier of, Z1-2

Determine your stage of wealth using the metric suggested by Investment Moats, reproduced above. See web-link. (https://investmentmoats.com/financial-independence/level-of-wealth-financial-freedom/)

Notes to the Table Above

  1. The 1st column from the left of the table above reveals the wealth stage.
  2. This post created the other 2 columns by applying the median standard of living baseline of between $1,200.00 to $1,500.00 per person per month. This table adopted a higher baseline for retirees due to higher health care costs.
  3. The computation of the wealth assets and cashflow is conservative as it does not account for income from government and insurance annuities.


Balanced Wealth Stage Approach

The balanced approach below adopts a total drawdown to exhaust the accumulated wealth within 30 years to contrast this relentless pursuit of wealth accumulation. To determine this drawdown rate, use the calculator from this link – https://www.noelwhittaker.com.au/resources/calculators/retirement-drawdown-calculator/.

Notes on Table:

  1. $550,000.00 as the retirement kitty is a very achievable target if employment income occurs at a median of $4,000.00 a month and both couples work till age 55-60 even after factoring education needs for the children assuming local university education.
  2. The median cost of living (3rd column) is used to derive the wealth stage median value (2nd column).

Z2 comprises of two values

  1. The 1st value, Z2-1, is the stage of wealth that ranges from 1 to 7.
  2. The 2nd value is the multiplier of Z2, Balanced Wealth Stage Multiplier, Z2-2

Z2-2 gives the excess or deficit of one’s Wealth Status baselined against the Balanced Wealth Approach as the median.

For example, if the net worth is $1,000,000.00 in investable wealth occurring at the stage of wealth, Z2-1=7, the multiplier, Z2-2= 1.8 times the 7th stage median value.

These numbers relate to individuals with the median or above earning capacity. The Wayside Ministry section will address this reality in-context of money stewardship for individuals with earning capabilities less than these numbers.

It is also timely to recall that previous posts established wealth addiction afflicts both the wealthy and the poor alike. It is not the amount of wealth or poverty, but at the heart of this addiction is the unresolved RELATIONSHIPS issues. It is Man’s heart condition.

Conclusion

Rich and Poor Shared Economic Realities and Economic Baselines

Economic realities are environmental forces that confront both the rich and the poor. However, personal decisions determine each person’s economic baselines. The picture above used anchors to represent economic baselines, and the boat represents each person’s life. These anchors offer stability, but it also prevents a person from moving on. These anchors can also weigh down the boat and contribute to the boat sinking in the most extreme circumstances of oversized anchor weight. The anchors are necessary, but Man needs the wisdom to determine the suitable anchor weight and number of anchors

Post 9 will offer perspectives to consider suitable anchor sizes and the number of anchors used in different life circumstances to illustrate natural application in action.

Wealth Ranking in Heaven (10min read)

Introduction

The “currency of heaven” post established that the soul earns heaven glory currency while suffering according to God’s will is doing good, for righteousness, and Christ’s sake is earned on earth when the soul suffers. Therefore, glory is the measure of wealth in heaven. The Bible established that Jesus has the most glory among the sons of God.

The link for the currency of heaven post-

https://sincerelawrence.com/2020/10/31/currency-of-heaven-10min-read/

This reflection explores scriptures to approximate a wealth ranking among God’s sons in heaven and its significance to the personal glory production on earth.

The following visual illustration recaps the mentioned two posts and two other posts https://sincerelawrence.com/2020/10/27/once-saved-always-saved-10min-read/ and https://sincerelawrence.com/2020/10/27/faith-and-work-in-harmony-4min-read/.

 

God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit Engaging Spirit, Soul and Body of Man

 

The tree represents the believer’s body on earth. The part of the tree above the ground represents the body of a man. The soul’s roots, like the body, spans both domains, Domain of the Law of Sin and Death (DOSD) and Domain of the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus (DOL). The salvation of the born again spirit is secure in Christ is grounded in Abba God’s love to save man through Christ (John3:16) is in the DOL.

It is noteworthy that both Domains exist as part of the will of God.

The soul that sins shall die dwells in the DOSD operates from the old covenant (Eze18:20). The born again spirit anchors the soul that sins in the DOL. Therefore the soul that sins does not need to die based on the new covenant. Refer to the post “Once Saved Always Saved” for scriptural evidence of this claim.

The soul’s salvation is proportional to the degree to which the soul’s roots can bind themselves into the ground of Abba God’s love shown through Christ. In human experience terms, this binding is called attachment experience.

This attachment with God is similar to the attachment man develops at birth with their early childhood caregiver. First, the natural, then the spiritual (1Co15:46). Man’s failure to understand their human attachment experiences poses challenges to form an attachment with God. This failure hampers the necessary foundation for the attachment with God, which is spiritual.

The tree is exposed to the lot of life presented as a fire below the tree. This fire’s size and intensity vary according to God’s will and the person’s response to God’s will. Some fires of the lot of life are candlelight fire, and they are towering infernos for others. Regardless, the leaves of the body in the DOL catches fire when the body and soul suffer for Christ’s sake and righteousness sakes due to the fires.

The lot of life affects the tree in the DOSD. But the tree does not catch fire in this part of the domain due to the tree’s death state. The lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, and pride of life enslaves the tree that’s in DOSD. Glory production does not exist in this domain.

This suffering in the DOL produces the fruit of the spirit and eternal weight of glory, heaven’s currency, and tests the attachment with God.

 

Does the Bible offer clues who have more significant potential to earn glory currency on earth and who are at greater risk to make less glory currency on earth?

The answers to these two questions will be the backbone of the wealth ranking framework.

The Bible has identified specific groups of people that possess characteristics that support and challenge the production of glory.

People who have more significant opportunities for suffering support glory production are as follow-

  1. The fivefold ministry. (Eph4:11)
  2. The martyrs that died for Christ’s sake.
  3. The socially marginalized, such as widows, orphans, aliens (without rights of citizenship), and the poor (James2:5, Mat5:3, Luke16:25). In current vernacular, the special needs, the disabled, and the mentally challenged.
  4. The meek (Mat5:5) and sincere, appearing to be naïve pure children (Mat5:8, 18:4, 10, Mark10:15,) to the world, often taken advantage of and discriminated.
  5. The righteous, averse to dishonest gain. (Pet3:14)

 

People are challenged in glory production when they have received their reward from man and experience lesser opportunities for suffering (Mat6:4). Such people emerge from the following groups-

  1. The rich and powerful (Mat19:23, Mat6:24, Luke12:16-21) who
  2. Boast about the future without acknowledging God, which God deems as arrogance and evil (Jam4:16).
  3. Oppress the poor while living in-luxury themselves (Jam5:1, 4-5).
  4. Those who purpose to live life for themselves are unwilling to share with their fellow men in need, particularly the socially marginalized. (Mat25:35-40).

 

Based on the above groups of people identified, the wealth rankings take shape as follows.

 

 

 

The rankings involve believers making it to heaven, as the spirit is born again when one confesses, according to Rom10:9. In this way, some are poor in glory in heaven, while others are wealthier in glory.

The glory that the soul produces is only tangible eternal possession that man can truly claim as their own. Love, faith, and hope, the greatest of the 3, is love because love remains relevant in heaven for three reasons.

The first, God is love (1John4:7). The second reason, Jesus eternally bears the marks on His body paid out of love for us at the cross (John20:27). The third reason is related to glory. The glory each believer has produced is evidence of their genuine (tested by the fires in 1Pet1:7) love for God, expressed as sincere brotherly love for one another.

What is hoped and believed are manifested tangibly in heaven. There is no more need for this hope and faith in the unseen and promised.

The above ranking is to create awareness of this potential scenario in heaven. This awareness seeks to support identifying the real treasure, which is their glory earning potential on earth.

 

Do Not be Deceived

A caveat, this is not a get glory rich quick scheme. If one believes he can game God’s glory system, that person’s pipe dream is laughable. God foolishness is the wisdom of man (1Co1:25). God has in-place fail-safe controls to prevent such outcomes. They are

  1. God determines each person’s lot of life, which is the foundation for earning glory points. E.g., if God calls one to the fivefold ministry, God will supply the life situations to produce glory.

 

If one by the flesh (self-effort) seeks the fivefold ministry without God’s call to gain glory points, that is operating in the domain of the Law of Sin and Death. By default, glory production does not occur in that domain, and that person reaps the penalties that lead to death.

 

  1. God looks at the heart and not only at the action of the person. The heart motivation that underpins the action needs to be genuine faith in trusting God (1Pet1:7) and sincere love (1Pet1:22) that’s practical (James2) for people.

Hypocrisy and hidden agendas frustrate the glory production.

 

Avoid the Pitfalls

This reflection will explore the two groups of people to help them realize their glory production.

  1. The rich shall have the attitude to glory in their humiliation, realizing their wealth is vanity and vapor (Jam1:10).

Therefore the rich are to abstain from

    1. Boasting about the future as if one is God (Jam4:16)
    2. Oppressing others by corrupt ways for financial gain (Jam5:2)
    3. Hoarding wealth (Luke12:21) and trust in uncertain riches (1Tim6:17)
    4. Showing partiality by oppressing the socially marginalized (Jam2:9)

Therefore the rich are encouraged to be rich in good works, ready to give and willing to share. (1Tim6:18).

  1. The socially marginalized are encouraged to rejoice in their lot of life, for from it, God supplies the opportunity for glory production. (Jam1:9).

Both the rich and the socially marginalized are to adopt the prayer Apostle Paul made in Phil4:6 and 1The5:17-18.

Phil4:6 – “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.”

1The5:17-18 “Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Giving thanks in prayer and daily speech for everything that God has presented as one’s lot in life is the hallmark that God is looking for as evidence of this genuine faith that one professes to possess.

Wealth Ranking in Heaven (4min read)

Introduction

This post is the 4min version of Wealth Ranking in Heaven. Scripture citation is incomplete here. For a more in-depth review, please refer to the 10 min read post with the same title.

This reflection is a follow-up riding on the momentum of the post –https://sincerelawrence.com/2020/10/31/currency-of-heaven-3min-read/ where that post established that glory is the measure of wealth in heaven.

This reflection will explore from scriptures to approximate a wealth ranking among God’s sons in heaven and its significance to the personal glory production on earth.

 

God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit Engaging Spirit, Soul and Body of Man

 

The tree is exposed to the lot of life presented as a fire below the tree. This fire’s size and intensity vary according to God’s will and the person’s response to God’s will. Some fires of the lot of life are candlelight fire, and they are towering infernos for others. Regardless, the leaves of the body in the DOL catches fire when the body and soul suffer for Christ’s sake and righteousness sakes due to the fires.

This suffering in the DOL produces the fruit of the spirit and eternal weight of glory, heaven’s currency, and tests the attachment with God.

 

 Does the Bible offer clues who have more significant potential to earn glory currency on earth and who are at greater risk to make less glory currency on earth?

The answers to these two questions will be the backbone of the wealth ranking framework.

The Bible has identified certain two groups of people that possess characteristics that support and challenge the production of glory. The first group has more significant opportunities for suffering support glory production, such as the fivefold ministry, the socially marginalized, etc.

People are challenged in glory production when they have received their reward from man and experience lesser opportunities for suffering, such as the rich and powerful (Mat19:23, Mat6:24, Luke12:16-21) and the self-seeking (Mat25:35-40).

Based on the above groups of people identified, the wealth rankings take shape as follows.

 

The above ranking is to create awareness of this potential scenario in heaven. This awareness seeks to support identifying the real treasure, which is their glory earning potential on earth.

 

 Do Not be Deceived- Avoid the Pitfalls

A caveat, this is not a get glory rich quick scheme. God has in-place fail-safe controls to prevent such outcomes. See the 10min version for these controls.

This reflection explores the two groups of people to help them realize their glory production.

  1. The rich shall have the attitude to glory in their humiliation, realizing their wealth is vanity and vapor (Jam1:10) and abstain from boasting, oppressing others, hoarding wealth, and showing partiality oppressing the socially marginalized.
  2. The socially marginalized are encouraged to rejoice in their lot of life, for from it, God supplies the opportunity for glory production. (Jam1:9).

Giving thanks in prayer and daily speech for everything that God has presented as one’s lot in life is the hallmark that God is looking for as evidence of this genuine faith that one professes to possess. (1The5:17-18)

Currency of Heaven is Glory of the Soul

Introduction

 

Heaven vs. Earth Currency

 

God values glory. Jesus describes His crucifixion experience as glorified (John12:23) and glorifying God the Father (John17:1). Glory is innate to God before creation (John17:5). God’s glory is a demonstration and measure of the value of His reputation, His name (John12:28). God shares His glory with His children. Which part of the tripartite man, Spirit-Soul-Body (1The5:23), does God share His glory?

 

This reflection is titled Glory- The Currency of Heaven explores the evidence to support this claim, which requires answering the question posed above and understanding why and how.

 

 

Soul and God’s Glory

 

The Soul and God’s Glory

2Co4:16-17 says, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward (esō ) man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

 

The book “The Release the Spirit” by Watchman Nee interpreted the inward man as the born again spirit. For the following reasons, the inward man refers to man’s soul and not the spirit of man.

  1. The blue letter bible shows that the word inward (esō) based on Strong’s translation renders as soul or conscience. See link – https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/Lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?strongs=G2080&t=NASB

 

  1. The word inward (G2080) occurs six times in the New Testament, out of which three times it is associated with the word “man,” see the snapshot below.

 

Blue Letter Bible – Inner Man

 

In Rom7:22, Paul was referring to his inward man that joyfully concurs with the law of God. Arguably this reference can be made to refer to either soul or spirit. However, it is also reasonable to claim that Paul is referring to his soul rejoicing with the law of God. For Paul, resolved to embrace death as gain and live is for Christ (Phi1:21), this claim that his soul rejoices with God’s law is within reason.

 

2Co4:16 and Eph3:16 mentioned that the inward man is renewed and receives strength. This inward man is referring to the soul and not to the born again spirit. Since the born again spirit is a perfect and complete divine product of God, the Holy Spirit (John3:6). It makes little sense for this finished divine product to require renewal and strengthening, which implies that the born-again spirit experiences decline and need renewal and strengthening.

 

For the above reasons, the inward man is the soul of man and not the man’s spirit.

 

Paul used the words “light afflictions” in 2Co4:16-17, relatively as he compares them to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ (Phil3:8-10), to describe hardships that he cites in 2Co11:23-29 which are by any human measure far from light or ordinary.

Paraphrasing 2Co4:16-17, “the soul of man is producing glory that has eternal weight as the result of the experiences of the temporal suffering even unto death.”

 

The following clarifies how the man is partaking glory with God.  It also explores how the man realizes this glory.

 

  1. The soul of man is partaking glory with God.

 

  1. How does the soul realize glory?

 

Glory realized glory by suffering for goodness sake (1Pet3:17), for Christ’s sake (1Pet4:14-16), and righteousness’ sake (1Pet3:14).

 

This post references Peter because of the context where Christians demonstrate their faith in sincere brotherly love and experience soul purification-salvation (1Pet1:9, 22). This reflection takes the position that the soul purification-salvation and the soul producing the eternal weight of glory in 2Co4:16-17 are the same.

 

 

Why is the Soul Glory Important to God and Man?

 

Glory is essential to man because it is the currency of heaven that the soul earns on earth.

The soul is unique to each person. The soul is the sum of the individual life lived uniquely. The purpose and will of God have designed this life uniquely. The glory currency is, therefore, a unique outcome for each person.

Jesus, as the Son of Man (For Jesus as Son of God had glory before He took on human form, John17:5) has the most glory among all the sons of God. One can say, if glory equals currency, Jesus is the wealthiest man representative in heaven. Jesus glory has two parts

  1. The glory He gained by this life, death, and resurrection.
  2. The glory produced by Christian’s souls collectively is accrued to Christ (1Pet4:14, John17:10).

 

Glory, the soul, produces is essential to man because it is the only actual eternal possession that man can truly claim as their own, which God also desires and accrued to Jesus.

 

What is the use of this currency?

The use of this currency is speculative, but this reflection posits that the amount of soul salvation one possesses will determine the ruling and judgment stature of the risen believer who will rule (2Tim2:12) and judge (1Co6:1-3) the world with Christ.

 

But what of the born again spirit and the resurrected body? Why are they excluded from this glory?

Man’s born again spirit is begat of the Holy Spirit (John3:6), where Christ supplied the blood to forgive man of His state of sin (1John1:7). God, the Father’s power who raised Jesus (Rom8:11) from the dead, supplied the spiritual body preserved in heaven (1Co15:44, 1Pet1:3-5). God performs both works that are perfect and complete with no effort required or desired from man.

Stated, the born-again spirit and resurrected body are both saved once the person confesses, according to Rom10:9. The only difference is the timing between the two—the Holy Spirit begets the born again spirit immediately (John3:6). In comparison, God preserves the resurrected body for us in heaven (1Pet1:3-5). The Holy Spirit is the believer’s pledge to guarantee that God the Father will honor His promise (2Co5:5) to give the resurrected body.

 

Glory is essential to God because the more glory the soul possesses, the soul is more Christ-like. God the Father, God the Son as the man Jesus, and God the Holy Spirit have perfect communion of oneness among themselves. This triune relationship is a complete and perfect union.

God desires a similar relationship with a man but cannot force this outcome. Man has their free will in their soul to determine the degree of this oneness in man’s relationship with God. The more glory the soul has, the closer the soul will experience oneness with God and their spirit and body perfected by God.

Jesus’ soul suffered in weakness and perfected as He submitted to God’s will in weakness (2Co13:4, Heb5:2, 5:7-9). It is within reason to claim that only Jesus as Son of Man, only His soul is perfect before God.

 

Conclusion

Glory is essential to God because the more glory the soul possesses, the soul is more Christ-like. God the Father, God the Son as Man Jesus, and God the Holy Spirit have perfect communion of oneness among themselves. Their relationship is the ideal relationship.

God desires a similar relationship with man through the shared glory of the soul.