Oh how my heart gets in a wad about our finances! I am a saver, frugal and delighted to go without...except when I want something "good" or don't want to be so uptight or think its a "must have". My self-righteousness and hypocrisy are both loud and clear in the area of our family's finances.
How do my questions and anxieties about money direct my heart to the Gospel, the living and active person and work of Jesus on my behalf? It is certainly an area where my native tongue of legalism and self-reliance still dominate my thinking. It shows where I am not yet fluent or "dreaming" in my new Gospel language. What does it reveal about my heart? For one, that I assume He has left me "to figure it out" on my own. That the health of our finances rests on our budgeting righteousness and perfections and not upon His provision alone.
But you must be a good steward! says my native tongue. You must make good choices! threatens my inner Pharisee. Of course I must be a good steward and make good choices, but I can't always know what the very best choice is and I won't always make it even when crystal clear because of that darn thing called sin. So has God left me alone in this area while being sovereign over the rest? Is the area of finances one where the Gospel does not apply? Does God think that what the Law is powerless to do in other respects it can do in this one? Am I to perfect my sinful inclinations in the area of money or trust Him to work in me to will and act according to His good pleasure?
In what do I place my trust? Do I trust that His will be done in the matter of my children's schooling and the accompanying costs? Do I trust that His will is to be done in the matter of adopting another child? Do I trust His will to be done in the matter of selling our current home at just the time He desires? Does He withhold any good thing from His children? And do our personal desires always define what "good" things are? Is the goal of faith "health and prosperity" or union with Christ? What better way to draw me closer into Himself that to strike at the heart of the lesser god I'd rather trust - me and my money management.
Does He merely give us His Law and ask us to go make ourselves financially righteous? Is He standing, watching, arms crossed, here the hint of a smile and there a bit of a scowl? Or does the Gospel also inform how I am to think about money? Has He left me alone to handle this area of my life "wisely" or in this too am I asked to be utterly dependent upon Him? Am I desperately in need of His grace with my money, knowing that I will not always choose to spend on the noble things and frequently neglect giving where I should? Or, is this is a category of life where, armed with just the right financial planning, I can be independent of God and self-sustaining?
Does utter dependence encourage irresponsibility? Possibly. Does grace encourage sin? Sometimes initially, sure, but it is also the only lense possible to see my need for God and His provision of that need. Is it an overnight transformation? Not usually. Sanctification is a process, its the rough draft state we're in until the end of days. Will He complete the good work that He has begun in my heart? He says so. Do I trust Him?
I am thankful that He is using my fears surrounding money and budgeting to expose my unbelief and natural inclination to stand with Adam and Eve, wanting to be my own God and do it by myself. Would He take my unbelief and make it a faith that can move mountains!
3 days ago