Money worries can have you by the throat. Perhaps you’re out of a job and don’t have any immediate prospects. You’re at or near retirement and you don’t have much savings, if any. You see the news reports about economic instability in the world and it scares you. You’re recently out of school, carrying big school loans, and there’s no job waiting for you. Your marriage dissolved and you’re left carrying the financial responsibility of raising your children alone. Financial instability is scary.
In our recent reader survey, money worries was one of the top issues you wrote about. Money certainly ranks at or near the top when it comes to causes of marriage conflict, political controversy, and personal stress.
For the Christian you may feel added pressure. You may have heard sermons or TV programs that discuss how God wants to bless His children with good things. Even if the preacher doesn’t directly promise a financial windfall, you would certainly get the idea that if you give to this church or this ministry God will reward you with material blessings. Perhaps you’ve heard that so much – and perhaps given so much – and still struggle financially, that you wonder if there’s something wrong with you that is keeping you from receiving God’s blessings.
Or perhaps you have heard other sermons or TV programs that rail against the “prosperity gospel,” and you really don’t want to hear about it anymore.
I could write a whole treatise – or perhaps a whole book – on the theology of money, but that’s not what this post is about. This is for those of you who are struggling financially and are hoping and praying your faith can somehow make a difference.
Facing Financial Instability
Here are three things to know and do about money worries as a believer.
- Know that God cares about you whether you’re rich or poor. Your bank account is not a measure of whether or not God is pleased with you. Tweet that. Some of God’s best friends in the Bible were rich, and others were poor. Think of Abraham, David, and Job. But also think of Paul (who became “poor” as a missionary) or the widow casting two mites into the temple treasury. The poor and the rich both have very real – though different – challenges in their relationship with God. Make it your first priority to develop and maintain a strong and resilient relationship with God, to allow Him to grow your character, and to learn and follow the purpose He has for you.
- Don’t worry about money. OK, easier said than done. Research shows that rich people and poor people worry just as much about money; the poor how to get more, and the rich how to manage what they have. Having more money will NOT necessarily mean you will worry less. But Jesus said, “Don’t worry about it!” (See Matthew 6:25-34) God’s ability to take care of you and bless you is not dependent on the economy, your past, or anything else. Money worries are natural and human, but it’s a matter of spiritual maturity to put them behind you. Make money one of those worries you turn over to God. (See 1 Peter 5:7)
- Invest energy in learning to handle money wisely. Learning to not worry doesn’t mean you become passive. Don’t let any other human being or institution determine your financial future. There is a great deal that you CAN do; focus on that. Doing so will probably involve a number of steps such as: learning what it means to see God as the owner of everything; developing your knowledge and skills to be the absolute best you can; learning about investing, giving, and saving wisely; becoming alert to dangerous promises such as get-rich-quick schemes or enabling bad behavior in others; and exploring innovative ways to save or make money. Give it all you’ve got – with God as your partner.
Several years ago I was in a serious financial situation. I had moved to a new state and my new license to practice medicine took six months longer to process than had been originally promised. For several months I had no income. I struggled a lot with money worries.
During that time I read Matthew 6 over and over. Jesus said, essentially, “Don’t even think about it!” I kept diligently doing everything I could, and learned what it means to trust God with what you can’t control. He never let me down.
And He won’t let you down either. Learn what it means to cast your worries onto Him, and then to work diligently every day to take care of the things that are under your control.
[reminder]How do you handle money worries as a believer? Where is your biggest challenge: trusting God? Or working diligently?[/reminder]
Tweetables: why not share this post?
- Learn what it means to both trust God with money worries and to work diligently where you can. Tweet that.