God led me to imagine something yesterday.
I’d been struggling with Jesus’ perspective on money and why He does things the way He does. As the money we always had enough of began to dwindle, I started to worry. I know there’s never any reason to worry in God, so I’d just force it out and not think about it. As it began to dry up more, the gnawing anxiety would grow inside of me. I’d tell myself “God will provide” and try and move on.
But I wasn’t leaning on the Lord. I wasn’t connecting with His heart and relying on His peace. I was trying to do things on my own. There was nothing I could do but wait. And it got miserable. It affected my whole walk with Jesus.
I was trying to perform for God- to show Him I wasn’t going to worry about money by pretending like it wasn’t affecting me. Well, yesterday it hit a breaking point. I couldn’t hide my frustration and confusion any longer. I realized (with the help of my lovely wife) I had to go talk to Jesus about this and trust in what He says to me.
So I sat down and worked through all the performance, pride, and works that I had been doing. I bared my heart before Him.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
And the Lord was faithful to answer. I found myself fully caught up and embraced in His vast love for me. And in this place, when I asked for greater understanding about money, He brought me to 1 Timothy:
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
Imagine with me for a moment.
Imagine if right now, there was $2,000,000 in your bank account. It’s yours. You can use it however you’d like.
Besides the excitement, a sense of security comes with that, doesn’t it? You wouldn’t have to worry ever again about paying the bills, putting food on the table, medical emergencies, or micromanaging your money. It’s relieving. Comforting.
I had to admit that it was. I found a lot of trust and security in the idea of having that much money.
Then came the kicker: That’s a false sense of security.
Riches are uncertain. Anything could happen to it. Or you could pass away and it all becomes meaningless. In fact, everything outside of God is uncertain. He is the only Rock, the only foundation worth building on. The only certainty!
Do I trust in money or do I trust in God? It cannot be both! (See Matthew 6:24)
If I am so easily persuaded to trust in some money in the bank, then I should trust a hundredfold in the actual certainty of God who “richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” “Not that the heart may cleave to [money] as its idol and trust. Enjoyment consists in giving, not in holding fast.” (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary)
All my confusion and worry just melted away. I understood what I had been doing wrong. I was trusting in money instead of the One who provides money.
Moreover, I wasn’t looking at money neutrally.
Someone might say “I’m just being a good steward and providing for my family.” But that is irrelevant if your heart has any trust or security in money, or in your ability to earn it. I thought it was a good thing to have money. It’s not. The presence or absence of money is completely neutral to God. What matters is the heart behind it. God can use money to do wonderful things, but He can also use anything else. The point is, HE is the provider and HE is the only One we should trust in. We should have the exact same trust in God no matter if we have thousands of dollars or zero.
What a freedom there is in trusting God wholeheartedly. What a joy in the relationship of trust where I lay my desires, worries, and selfishness down and instead embrace the selfless love and provision that my Father pours out upon me. My cup overflows.