Finances do not have to be a trap. Finances do not have to be a worry. In fact, we are commanded by our loving Father not to worry about finances. So often is seems though that in the day-to-day life simple trust and contentment seem so far away.
The Scriptures are replete with life-giving instruction on how to approach money. If obeyed, they bring life and freedom. But if we neglect God’s wisdom in this area we will find ourselves bound by either the love of money or discontentment.
The pattern that I have tried to build my family’s life around concerning finances is this:
- Seek first the Kingdom of God.
- Present my requests to God.
- Work diligently and trust the Father.
- Be thankful and content.
- Guard against covetousness.
1. Seek First the Kingdom of God
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
If we look at the context of Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus illustrates that the concerns of life, which include clothing, food, and personal needs, should not be a worry to us. Why should we not be anxious for these things? Jesus tells us the answer in verse 32: because “your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” As with every issue in life it boils down to us trusting that our Father 1) knows our needs, 2) loves us, and 3) provides for us. You are of more value to Father than the lilies of the field and the sparrows of the air so put your trust in Him!
2. Present My Requests to God
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Our Father desires that we find the answer to all of our needs in Him. He desires to be our source! This is good news because He is faithful and knows everything we need. But an often forgotten aspect of our relationship with our heavenly Father is simply asking Him for those things which we need. Too many people are self-dependent, forgetting that we cannot add one hair to our head. James 4:2-3 teaches us two important lessons:
- Often times, we have not because we haven’t asked the Father.
- Or when we do ask, we ask with wrong motives and the Father withholds for our good.
We can discern a worldly spirit and lust in our lives when we find ourselves coveting that which we don’t have, then stopping at nothing until we get it! The biblical answer is to be thankful, content, and humbly ask the Father to provide for what we need to glorify His name!
3. Work Diligently and Trust the Father
Proverbs 14:23 (NKJV)
In all labor there is profit, but idle chatter leads only to poverty.
One of the most difficult seasons in my life personally was when I found myself in between jobs with no stable income. Through much wrestling with lack of trust the Father gently led me to this Scripture over and over. We must remember that He is the provider, He is our source. He knows if and when we are laboring diligently and when laziness has befallen us. Take heart! Put your hand to the plow that is right in front of you and labor with all your might unto the Father. Trust that He will bring the profit because He will! He is faithful to His word and loves to provide for His children.
4. Be Thankful and Content
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
As a result of the various seasons of life my family has endured, I can honestly say that for us it is easier to be content when we have little, than to truly be content when we have much. I think the main reason is when we had little, we also had few ways in our own strength to get more. But when we have worked jobs that provided well, we were always thinking about how to get more. The flesh is never satisfied.
Dear brothers and sisters, you would do well to remember that His grace enables you to “do all things through Him,” whether that is facing need or abundance. The Father desires us to learn the secret of contentment. Contentment and covetousness are enemies. Contentment guards us against the sin of covetousness. Let’s take a step further and see how the Scriptures teach us to guard against covetousness.
5. Guard Against Covetousness
1 Timothy 6:6-11
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things.
Covetousness is a desire for gain. Colossians teaches us that covetousness is idolatry (Colossians 3:5). A covetous desire in our hearts says that we will not be content until we have possession of that which we crave. Covetousness is the leech that Proverbs speaks of always saying “Give! Give!”(Proverbs 30:15). Idols demand worship and worship is obedience. So, once your heart is gripped by a covetous desire, you will fall into whatever temptation meets you along the path to obtaining your craving and worshipping that idol. This is why covetous men often become murderers like Cain or sexually immoral like Balaam. This is also why Yahweh gave us the tenth commandment, which instructs us to not covet our neighbor’s possessions (Exodus 20:17).
If you find yourself gripped by a covetous desire that seems unquenchable, remember the Apostle John’s admonishment in 1 John 5:21, “my little children, keep yourselves from idols.” Also, a Scripture that has kept me from straying down this path many times is from Hebrews 13:5-6 (NKJV), “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?'”
Final Words on Daily Bread
When I find my soul being enticed by sinners, seduced by the desire for gain, and unsteadied by the anxiety of the world, the Holy Spirit gently reminds me of the prayer offered in Proverbs 30:7-10.
Two things I ask of you;
deny them not to me before I die:
Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny you
and say, “Who is the Lord?”
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God.
Our Father will provide for His children- Yeshua taught us to pray similarly in Matthew 6:11. What we are responsible for is waiting, trusting, working, and fleeing from covetousness! Be blessed as you live each day in the light of eternity.