There has GOT to be a better way to make decisions. For too long, I’ve let whatever felt like the greatest emergency dictate where I put my time and energy. I run around, driven by whatever problem (or person) (or problematic person) (or creative idea) yells the loudest, without a sense of purpose driving me. One of our guiding values here at A.W. is intentionality… and I haven’t always had it in my toolkit.
But I do now, or at least a lot better than I used to. That’s because a friend* started waking me up to a Biblical secret that was unearthed by Michael James Breen, (who’s become a trusted friend), and actually connected a lot of dots that Yehoveh had plotted in me over the years. Michael calls it the Five Capitals, and it’s come to be a guiding understanding of my family’s Goals Summit, and much of what we pull for at A.W.
The basic idea of The Five Capitals is that God gives us many different kinds of resources to manage (and money isn’t even NEAR the top of that list!). Knowing what KIND of resource (or “capital”) you’re dealing with will help you know how to prioritize it (is relationship more important than money? Of course it is. Is your body more important than your spirit? Uh, no…), and how to handle each type. There are excellent books written around this topic (Read them! Consume them! Apply them!), but I’ll give you a dumb-guy overview as best I understand it and that’ll suffice for now.
CAPITAL 1: SPIRITUAL. Knowing God intimately and having access to His wisdom and power is the chief point of life. When Jesus asks, “What would a man give in exchange for his own soul?”, the presumed answer is “Absolutely anything!!” Over and over, the Bible emphasizes spiritual interests as the first place you should invest, having more import than your own body, and as a fountain from which all other capitals flow into your life. (And if you don’t have your spiritual life nailed down, everything else is a sad, vain, waste of time. But that kind of downer-ism is for a different blog, www.abrahamsmajorbummers.com, which we don’t even recommend you visit.)
CAPITAL 2: RELATIONAL. Falling right after spiritual capital in God’s hierarchy, relationships are underlined for us as of grave importance, Biblically. “Relational equity” (being known and valued by others) is worth much more than money (and worth spending it on!) and, like Spiritual Capital, can lead to an abundance of every other kind of capital… IF you know what they’re worth, and are willing to follow the Scriptural how-tos around them (there are lots). (Salient tip: Social media is actually a threat to, not an enhancement of, good relationships.)
CAPITAL 3: PHYSICAL. The Bible tells us that there is value in taking care of our bodies (of course, they’re not as valuable as Capitals 1 or 2), and story after story shows us that Jesus is willing to spend spiritual capital to restore physical capital to people. This capital includes food, fitness, your sex life… and it matters! (If you have a migraine, can you read a book or lecture? If you’re deathly ill, can you work and earn?) It even matters more than:
CAPITAL 4: INTELLECTUAL. The placement of this capital, Biblically, routinely astounds westerners (“Why isn’t it higher?! Your mind is so important!”), who so value education and intellect (And why do we…? Because it so aids our main goal: independence!), but our minds are meant to be in strict subservience to the Spirit (this is WISDOM). Assuming that’s the case, we are to be growing in what we know, as well as our ability to bring solutions to bear on the problems around us, thus increasing our capacity to execute our God-given missions! (Our possible knowledge base includes extra-Biblical sources—anywhere we can find Truth or Wisdom, really—as well as God’s ways.
CAPITAL 5: FINANCIAL. Which brings us to this final resource. It is the least important capital, it’s the easiest to acquire, and the ability to acquire it is enhanced dramatically by every capital that precedes it. Ironic that this last capital is where we center down here at the Wallet, but in our experience this arena is possible the least understood by believers at large, who fail to grasp that our Father wants it multiplied as much as every other resource He entrusts to us. (And that it can be used to buy things much more valuable than money! See #4 below!)
Interesting maybe… but… so what? What are the implications? Well, they’re many. Here’s 4:
- Give your life a quick survey. Which capital is God leading you to work on, right now? If there’s a clear answer, gear down and get after it. (Pro tip: use the other four capitals to grow it!)
- Got two options for, say, an evening out? Pick the one that ranks highest in this list. Good investment, brah. (BTW, Jesus says that failing to invest makes you a villain. Crazy, right?)
- There are only so many hours in the day. Create your priorities (yours are easy to measure via your calendar and your itemized bank statement) from the top down. Do this for your family too.
- Whenever you have the opportunity to trade a lower-value capital for a higher value capital… DO IT. Spend time (physical capital) to enhance your relationship with your father (relational capital), for example. Buy (financial capital) every great book (intellectual capital) about walking with God (to develop spiritual capital) you hear about. Etc. Trade up!!
And I’ll give you one last application, which will make 5 to match our Capitals. When Mrs. Abraham and I do our Goals Summit at the end of each year, we make a spreadsheet (Oo! Excel!) with the 5 Capitals as our headings. We consider whether we’re personally growing in each of these areas, then set goals against growth. We do that for each capital Personally, for the Family, and for everything OUTside our family (we call this “OUT” and it includes business as well as our service efforts). That’s a total of 15 areas, if you’re scoring at home: Personal/ Spiritual, Family/Spiritual, Business/Spiritual, Personal/Relational, Family/Relational, etc. (See why we need a spreadsheet?)
If this starts to sound a little out there, I can assure you it’s extremely practical. Let me give you some examples for each category:
As we’re filling this out, we’re not only asking God “what do You want for me here?”; we’re also asking “What kind of life do I want to have?!” That’s a huge one, and it’s one of the main reasons we do Goals Summits at all. Because if we don’t create the life we want, we’ll drift downstream and live the life that’s being dictated to us by our culture. The Secret of the 5 Capitals says that you don’t have to live that way: God has given you the inside track to managing your time (physical capital) and money (financial) so that you can be at peace with God (spiritual) and man (relational). What a great deal!
So do this: put some significant time aside (4 hours would be a good start) to start thinking through these categories, and create some actual goals that you’re going to pray over and pursue with all the energy God provides! And what is our reward, if we learn and exercise the skill of turning a little into a lot? Vast responsibility in the Kingdom. This sounds scary to boys, but thrilling to family building men like you! Go get em, you offspring of Abraham!
*I am happy to brag on the fact that about 98% of what I’ve learned about the 5Cs have come through my friend Brandon Schaefer who is a fabulous business and life coach and he heads up a business called… wait for it… Five Capitals (smart, right?) If you want to have more impact (and a more successful biz) then I recommend Brandon’s book (inside which I get a shout out at some point!), and him as a coach, without reservation.