A few years ago, the Lord gave me a command to turn my day job into a ministry. I wanted no compromise in devoting my life to Him. I wanted nothing to come between me and the One who had enlisted me as a soldier (2 Timothy 2:4). He gave me the command to keep my job in ministry, but to tell my boss that I would not receive money for my work.
Now, the money and trust are a rather familiar topic in the Christian life. However, my struggle to trust the Lord with my finances was not the one that I expected. There are still times that I catch myself worrying more about money than about where He calls me. Even so, He has proven Himself so faithful, that I don’t much hesitate when He calls me beyond my apparent means. I am often eager to step out and watch how He provides, against all worldly odds.
Sometimes, I am too eager.
In a recent conversation with friends, we were laughing about how hard it is when people give us money. It runs so contrary to worldly thinking, that it was funny to think of how similarly we all felt. We have all devoted our lives to Christ’s service, but living a life of giving can make receiving seem very tricky.
My colleagues and I have found many an occasion to banter about my volunteer status at work. One occasion led me to comment on my dislike for money. A colleague returned that it was a “necessary evil”. I followed with “Not really necessary.”
The fact is, I don’t consider money to be evil any more than I consider it very necessary. It would be easy if money were really evil, because using it would then be black and white. The thing that makes it tricky for me, is that it still strongly confronts my relationship with the Lord. One of the reasons that
it is often so difficult to receive is that we don’t want to go back to a life of self-focus. The Lord has provided exactly what I need right when I need it. This is cause for rejoicing, and for renewed trust in His faithfulness to provide. Sometimes He provides with needed resources, and sometimes with money to obtain those things. But what about when He provides money when I don’t need it?
Luke 16:9 reminds us that we are to use money to reach people and to make friends. With material things, it is easier to trust that He will use them for His glory in my life, and to bless others. With money, there are a thousand questions to consider. Am I to use this for myself, or for someone else? If for myself, am I to spend it now, or save it? If for someone else, how will I know for whom? What if I give it away before God means me to do so? What if I hold on to it when I should have given it to that person? If I spend it on something frivolous, will I be lacking something later? Will God tell me to buy something I don’t need right now, and have me save it for something only He could foresee?
These are the waves that threaten to engulf me when someone so much as hands me a dollar. Money carries a great responsibility and, quite frankly, is a direct confrontation of my do-it-yourself, know-it-all pride. It is a confrontation that could turn to doubt, but it is also a deep reminder of “from whence cometh my help”.
My fear of failure and desire to perform well can cause me to fear all of these questions. The fact is, money gives me growing pains. The more we grow close to Jesus, the more we actually get used to trusting Him. Some things barely take a second thought before we know what we would have us do. That is a truly wonderful feeling, but trust in one circumstance is not His end goal. Learning to trust in one instance will give us time and strength to learn to trust in another. It also trains us to trust when a moment of crisis arises. The exercise and growth can wear us down sometimes, but Christ if faithful to grant rest when we need it.
In trusting the Lord for money and with money, I learn to see another piece of how He cares for all of His children. He cares for me in meeting all of my needs. Then, He cares for others, and lets me walk with Him in so doing. There is so much of His heart that I have seen in learning to handle what He has given me. More wonderful still is the whispered reminder that comes with obedience.
One day, I will see the face of a proud Father, saying joyously, “Well done.”
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