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I’ve been doing a little more cooking recently. Sometimes, I’ll burn the chicken while I’m preparing ingredients for the side dish. Or I’ll get distracted and forget I left something on the stove. 

Mise en place is a basic cooking principle that I learned from Chef Dennis that has improved my cooking. Mise en place in french cooking means “everything in its place.” The idea is that before you even fire up the stove you cut your vegetables, measure your spices and make your sauce. This way you can focus on what you’re doing and you always have what you need when you need it. 

This concept isn’t just great for cooking. It can help add focus to your money. 

Mise en Place Money

Money is an ingredient to your mission. Whether you’re called to ministry, a business or raising a family, money is an essential component of accomplishing the good works God prepared in advance for you to do. It’s so easy to get distracted by the ups and downs of your financial life.  

Imagine I write you a check for $10,000, what would you do with that money? Do you know? 

We all have more desires than we have money. We’d like to pay down debt, give generously and retire early, and oh, by the way, the kids need braces, the car needs tires and the water heater just went out. 

Having so many financial decisions to make can be stressful, but if we tackle each “ingredient” of our financial health one at a time it’s less overwhelming. 

If you line up the “ingredients” of mission-minded money according to a recipe, you’ll know where “extra” money needs to go and what financial priorities to attack first. You can simply “read the recipe” when your financial position changes. 

How to Put Your Money in Its Place

Everyone knows the toughest part of making dinner is deciding what to make. Crafting a Mission for your Money is a good first step. Once you know what you want to be about, you can decide what ingredients you need for your recipe. 

Suppose you decide that your family is called to live on the mission field or foster a child. Instead of living your life and waiting for the timing to be right, begin positioning your money as if that was your mission.

If you’re destined for the mission field perhaps you would avoid buying a house. Maybe you’d spend some money on language learning or even sponsor a missionary. If you feel a draw toward fostering perhaps you’d finish an extra bedroom in the house, or pay off debt so you can reduce your work hours to be flexible for your future foster child. 

The Bible says our heart follows our money. Too often we react to the things that happen around us as if that’s all money is for – survival. In this case, money decisions are a distraction from the mission. 

“Hey, we got a bonus, let’s buy a tv.”

“Oh No! We have to buy new tires AND a stove. Put that on credit!”

Of course, things happen that knock us off course. But knowing your priorities before the panic or windfall occurs keeps your eyes fixed on Jesus and away from the troubles of this world. 

Step by Step Mis en Place

Here’s a few steps to mis en place your money: 

  1. Create a Statement of Financial Purpose- What’s on the menu? Take the time to craft a mission for your money. Start with what you think you know now and trust God to help you pivot as He leads. 
  1. Reallocate what you have- Get the ingredients out of the fridge. Sometimes we’re paying extra towards debt when we should be saving or investing when we should be giving. Does the way we currently use our money align with the dish we’re making? Generally, we’re more effective attacking one goal at a time then trying to do everything at once. Get focused and simplify. 
  1. Plan for what you don’t have- If I’m making a new dish I normally have to go to the store for at least one ingredient. Knowing what you need even though you don’t have it helps direct unexpected income. A great way to prepare for what you don’t have is to start small. If you know you should be saving, putting even just $1/mo into a savings or 401(k) will remind you you want to do more when you’re able.
  1. Prioritize expenses- Keep a running list of likely major expenses. Many people impulsively spend money God blesses them with, then they are shocked when they need to get work done on the car. God positions money for you because he knows your needs. If it’s been a few years since you’ve bought new tires, if your A/C unit is on the fritz or if you have taxes to pay, remind yourself that any “extra” money needs to go towards those things first. 
  1. Invest in the future mission- Which way is God pulling you? Begin making small bets in that direction and see what God does in your heart. You might be surprised what doors open. If you’re called on the mission field, invest in language learning. If you’re called to the pastorate, start taking Bible classes. If you’re called to start a non-profit, start contributing or volunteering at a similar organization. Our heart follows our money. Be faithful with the little you know about your mission and watch how God clarifies it over time. 

Debrief 

Mise en place money helps you align your money BEFORE the mission is here. Knowing what’s important and contributing to it now allows you to focus on the direction you’re going instead of reinventing your life every time your financial position changes. 

Money is a limit on our mission. When we honor our limits, but pray for more, we prepare our hearts for the mission and decrease mammon’s influence over them. 

Is your money serving what God is cooking?

I love to hear from my readers. Can I help you put your money in its place? Let me know how.