“17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7:17-20)
After establishing a thorough root system, your Fruitful Tree needs a solid trunk in order to be a good tree. The trunk gives height to your mighty tree. It provides nutrients to the branches and leaves and makes possible the production of good fruit. Financially speaking, the trunk of your tree is your personal Savings. Again, this seems simple and basic in concept, yet it’s critical – and not often done well. The decisions you make and systems you establish to save are more important than just about any other decision in producing good fruit. Most people don’t save properly and never understand why their wealth building seems to go nowhere. Let’s look at the common problems by returning to Jesus’ parable of the soils in Luke 8.
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up,” (Luke 8:5)
In your financial life, the seeds that were trampled and eaten by the birds is the money which should have been saved, but was not. No amount of fancy financial thinking can bring breakthrough financial freedom if you are not consistently saving month after month (or when it comes in for those who earn less frequently).
“Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture.” (Luke 8:6)
This problem is represented by not saving enough. You need enough money for any conceivable emergency or opportunity that comes along. This money must be safe, liquid, and accessible. Ideally you would like as high a rate of return as possible and tax benefits, but not at the expense of the aforementioned requirements.
Many people inherently know this, but do not have the discipline to keep safe money. On one hand, we look for ways to help people keep this without getting itchy spending fingers. On the other, by definition, the money must be accessible and so you must have the discipline to not spend this important component to your Fruitful Tree.
Others don’t have this problem, but instead worry that if they have too much safe money, they are missing out on maximizing the rate of return their money should be earning. To some degree this should be considered because it could be a sizable risk to keep a significant amount of money in cash thinking that this is “safe”, so at a certain point, you must move past the Trunk to the Branches and Fruit. On the other hand, many plans have been destroyed because the Savings Trunk was not established to the fullness necessary. Yet, if executed properly, you can achieve a higher external rate of return on your savings than the vast majority of investors achieve on their investments. And when executed in this way, these dollars become a pool of resources, which both protect against catastrophe and enable deployment into great opportunities. We will go into more detail about exactly how to do this in the days ahead.
This post is _Part 4_ in a series about the Fruitful Tree. To continue with this series, click on Part 5. To use this as a growth tool to better understand your own calling, you might start by reading Pt 1, Pt 2 and Pt 3.
Photo credit: Just Jackie