Question from a reader:
I’m a healthcare professional and charge a monthly fee for some specific health training benefits to help clients further improve their strength and fitness. But I’m wondering if I’m doing something wrong/ungodly with this type of extra service. My concern is that I don't want to add to problems of consumer spending, insufficient tithing and giving and helping the poor, and of interfering with savings. Perhaps I need to brainstorm a different price structure?
Answer from Julia (Stager) Mayo, former EPM research assistant:
You ask an excellent question and it’s encouraging to hear your heart and concern regarding your current business model. Of course, we cannot tell you what to do and have no specific answers, but I would love to provide you with some guidelines as you consider the future of your practice.
- If the Lord is leading you to examine your current fees, by all means heed the tugging and direction of his Spirit!
- There are many Christian business leaders who have decided to have their mission be “a faithful presence in our community.” Faithful presence is being, exhibiting, and emanating the faithful presence of Christ through our (or our company’s) actions. It’s acting, within our sphere, as nobly and righteously as possible for personal and societal good. The reason I like the “faithful presence” model is that it optimizes a person’s or organization’s redemptive value without leaving us feeling like we’ll never be able to do enough or just passively accepting circumstances as they fall. It comes down to this: how can your practice faithfully be and exhibit the presence of Christ in your community? Maybe that is a sliding scale or reduced fees, maybe it’s giving more of your income away, or sponsoring certain events, or maybe it’s something totally different. I challenge you to think outside the box and be creative!
- Your work is inherently good (it’s helping people!). Earning money is not a sin. Swindling people, greed and overall dealing harshly with our neighbors for our own benefit are sins. The Lord has given you the responsibility to steward his gifts wisely. The fact that you are concerned shows that you recognize the weight of this responsibility and that is to be commended.
Some other things to remember:
- Reducing your monthly fee will not necessarily increase your clients’ giving or saving, it may just increase your clients’ discretionary spending.
- If the Lord has given you a good income it may not advance his purposes by taking less income. He might want you to do something else with the larger income he is providing you with.
- Finally, money probably isn’t the main issue. The main issue is how your relationship with money is affecting your relationship with God, and how altering your lifestyle could improve both. (Improving your relationship with money doesn’t necessarily translate into making any more or any less.)
I hope these words give you something to think and pray about. May God guide you as you discern his will for your life. I truly am honored, encouraged, and challenged by your financial introspection.
Julia (Stager) Mayo holds a Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies from Western Seminary, where she works as an administrative assistant. She was previously part of the Eternal Perspective Ministries staff, and still does occasional research work for Randy Alcorn.