Wouldn’t it be nice if having a relationship with God meant never having to worry about money again?
Actually, that’s possible. But not because God fills our bank account with money when we surrender our lives to Him. Like with every aspect of our lives, God wants a relationship with us in which we are dependent on Him and trusting Him with all that we have. He wants us to keep Him as our God, not what we have or what we’d like to have.
My husband and I have lived on a small church pastor’s salary for nearly 30 years – including a few years in which my husband was on an unpaid sabbatical and supported our family on a couple of minimum-wage paying jobs. I can honestly tell you that God has always provided everything we have needed and so much of what we’ve wanted, too, out of His sheer grace.
Based on three decades of seeing God come through for my family financially, here are just four ways to trust God when money is tight:
- Realize it’s not about the money.
I’m convinced that our financial stability depends on how much we trust God rather than on how much we make. It’s really not about the money, how hard you work, and how wisely you’ve invested. Our financial situation is almost always about trust.
I used to get a little disillusioned during my college years, thinking If God owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10) why is it that I can’t even afford a hamburger? I’ve learned since then that it isn’t about whether God has the money and can help us. It’s about what He wants to do in and through us as we rely on Him for what we need. God can take whatever financial situation you’re in and build into you character, hope, and a future. See every financial struggle as an opportunity to trust Him more and a doorway through which you can discover God’s grace, provision, and fatherly love.
2. Trust Him with today.
It’s easy to look ahead at the month and estimate how much you’ll need to pay your bills and then stress about the shortfall. But Jesus must have known we’d have a tendency to do that. He told His followers to look around and see how God provides food for the birds, and clothing for the lilies of the field. Then He told them “if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?” (Matthew 6:30).
Jesus summed up His teaching by saying “don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (verses 31-33).
Jesus was giving them – and us – a formula for trusting Him daily for our provision, and not stressing about money by worrying about tomorrow.
3. Remember how rich you really are.
God owns it all…which makes us (His children by faith in Christ) heirs of all He has (Galatians 3:29). While we might not feel that we have much on this earth, we can read Ephesians 1:3-14 and be reminded again of what is ours in the heavenly realm. As you look at what God gives you through salvation, you can be encouraged at what is yours today, not just some day in heaven.
Think about it: If God can take care of our eternal life, by providing His beloved Son for our salvation, then certainly He can take care of our everyday life, including whatever financial needs we have. Read Ephesians 1 – daily if you have to – and remember what is yours in Christ. It will give you a different perspective and it may cause you to thank Him more than ask Him, when it comes to your financial needs.
4. Release it back to God
We are managers, not owners of the money God has entrusted us with. That makes it all His in the first place. Therefore, He expects us to give from the first of what we have to Him, as a way of honoring Him, and as a reminder to us that He owns it all.
The Old Covenant Law required God’s people to tithe (which literally means giving to God a tenth of your income). Under the New Covenant, Jesus instructed us to give it all. He wanted to make sure He was on the throne of our lives, not our money.
I can attest to the fact that God is faithful to His children who give, even as they struggle to be faithful, financially, to Him. My husband once challenged his very small congregation to tithe 10 percent of their income for a month, and if they couldn’t pay all their bills at the end of the month – after tithing and being responsible with what they had left – my husband would personally pay their bills for them! Now that was scary for me, yet God showed His faithfulness as that poverty-stricken congregation (and the pastor’s wife!) learned to tithe and trust. Ask God to challenge you with what He wants you to give and trust Him with each month.
Watch for four more ways to trust God with your finances in next week’s blog. In the meantime, which of these do you find most helpful? I’d love to hear it in the comment section below.