Given that our country is experiencing financial difficulties on a large scale, I thought I would write something about the subject of money. Some of you, no doubt, have lost investments or jobs or your husband has taken a pay cut or been laid off.
This is a tremendous opportunity to exercise our Christian principles, an opportunity we don’t want to squander or miss. In other words, hard financial times can reveal much about us, especially how taken up with money our hearts have become. It’s a bit like lifting up a big rock in the garden: when the light shines on the exposed area, all kinds of bugs suddenly become visible. Even things you did not really want to see. So if you have suddenly realized that you have become more attached to your finances than you knew, count it a blessing to find out now. Deal with the heart attitude first, and then you can ask God to deal with the bank account.
I’ve heard many times that God doesn’t mind His people having money; He minds money having His people. If financial hardship takes away your joy, then you know where your joy was grounded all along: in your checkbook. If, on the other hand, you can thank God for the financial straits your find yourself in, then you know that you are trusting all you have to God. He gives and He takes away. It all belongs to Him and He has made us stewards of His stuff. He governs the world righteously, and He does all things for the good of His people. So we can believe that when He takes stuff away from us, that He does it for our soul’s good. This is a sweet, comforting doctrine.
Being tempted is not the same thing as sin. We may be tempted to worry or fret or murmur, but we do not need to give way to these sins. What can we do to keep from giving way to worry or discontent? I can think of four things:
First, give thanks. Do you have food and clothing? Paul says we should be content with that (1 Tim. 6:8). We are to always and for everything give thanks. The Lord is near. Thank God for the empty bank account. Thank Him for the beans and rice.
Next, be cheerful.Â Rejoice. You may say,”Rejoice? Rejoice in what?” Rejoice in the Lord. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He will never leave you or forsake you. Money is a capricious god. But the Lord our Maker is constant. Being grumpy or complaining only makes things worse and it displeases God. A cheerful spirit is good medicine. It not only comforts your own heart, but blesses everyone else in the house. But if you drag your troubles around on your face, it burdens everyone else and increases your troubles. Give it all to God and rejoice. Lift up your hands, your eyes, your voice, your heart all to God.
Third, be hospitable. Are you struggling to make ends meet? Invite someone over for dinner. Share what you have even if it is not very much. Be generous. Continue to give. Continue to tithe what you have. Jesus made much of the widow’s two mites for good reason.
Last, don’t assign blame. It is God who sovereignly rules the world. If our President does something foolish or unwise, he bears the responsibility, but God has promised to overrule it for our good. If your husband invested your money unwisely, it does no good to beat him over the head with it. It won’t fix the problem, but it is guaranteed to wreck the marriage.
Ecclesiastes says that money answers everything (10:19). How many of our problems could be solved with a big check? Lots, in fact. But it would not solve our attitude toward money. If we determine to ride this time out cheerfully, with an eye to bringing glory to our Maker, we will have no regrets. And how much better to look back on this time with gratitude rather than with regret.