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I like to take action quickly. This applies when helping others and to investment opportunities.

A business friend of mine needed help with his cash flow for a short period of time. So, being a good friend, I didn’t hesitate to lend him some money…
“A good man deals graciously and lends…” Ps 112:5

However, the situation turned out to be a lot bigger than a simple cashflow problem. My friend was not able to repay as he intended and that left me in the awkward position of having to have a painful conversation with him and with my wife.

I’ve lost the money and damaged a friendship as a result.

So where did I go wrong? Shouldn’t we always respond to the needs around us out of generosity and brotherly kindness? When you feel compassion shouldn’t you just act?

It turns out the answer is NO.

I was recently at a Kingdom Wealth conference and listened to a profound message from an executive in a global bank. He described his own journey of responding to need and/or opportunity out of compassion and conviction…. and error.

Compassion is only part of the equation. Check this out:

“A good man deals graciously and lends;

(I read that and immediately acted on it.)

But wait. Don’t act yet! Read the second half…

He will guide his affairs with discretion. Surely he will never be shaken…” Psalms 112:5, 6 NKJV

To guide your affairs with discretion means that you make the decision carefully, cautiously, with wariness. You have your eyes wide open and do the due diligence.

I didn’t. I was simply moved by the situation. If I had showed more discretion I would have asked more questions… BEFORE lending or investing. It doesn’t mean that my decision would have been different, but it would have saved a lot of the surprises and pain.

Jesus commanded us to be as shrewd as snakes AND innocent as doves (see Matthew 10:16).

Snakes don’t blink; they sleep with their eyes open.

It is easy to be as innocent or even naïve as a dove but we are commanded to be BOTH innocent AND shrewd (showing sharp powers of judgment). I know I need to grow in the shrewdness!

So here’s what I’m learning:

Do the due diligence.

Ask the hard questions and/or have people around you who will.

Trust God has more than one opportunity for you to part of the solution and/or investment.

Be patient, not motivated by the pain of someone else’s problem or the fear of missing out.

And ultimately…

Read the full instructions before proceeding!

Andy Mason comes from New Zealand and has 15+ years experience helping individuals and organizations discover and align with purpose, then develop practical steps to make dreams a reality.He has worked for a national consultancy firm and leading financial institution as well as investing in international community development.Andy is the director of Heaven in Business and together with his wife, Janine, leads Dream Culture – a movement catalyzing people to discover and live their dreams. Andy and Janine live with their four children in Redding, CA. For more see www.AndyandJanine.com.