Money. We hate talking about it. Yet I think it’s something that we need to talk about more openly and with honesty. Often I hear it talked about in one of two ways; either here’s how you get more or why you should give generously. I’m not going to talk about either of those things in this article. Because I think there is a bigger issue with money. It’s an issue that we don’t like to talk about or acknowledge. But it’s everywhere in our culture, including in my life. It’s a problem, and it’s got to change.
Let me start off by saying my wife and I are not going hungry or about to lose our house. We comfortably fall into the low middle-class lifestyle. We own a house. We enjoy some luxuries like being able to eat out and have a few hobbies. We have minimal debt, just a pesky car we can’t seem to pay off. And we are able to put money towards retirement each month. Things could be a lot worse.
But more often than not I think I need more. I look at our small emergency savings and think about the “what-if” scenarios where it could get drained. I worry about how I’m going to afford the next car repair, and how I’m supposed to pay for a plane ticket home for Christmas. I think if we just made $x more then we would be fine. If we just had $x more in our savings then we would be safe.
It’s Not a Money Problem
But listen… I’ve learned something. I don’t think I have a money problem. I don’t think my problems would be solved if I woke up tomorrow and had an extra $50k in my bank account, or if I suddenly made that magic amount. My problems would still be there because I don’t have a money problem, I have a heart problem.
I suspect that this is true of most of us. We don’t have a money problem, we have a heart problem. Your money problems will not be solved by making more money or having a larger savings. The more you make the more you will want. Why? Because you have a heart problem.
We’ve put too much stock in our 401k’s, our paychecks, and what we can provide for ourselves. But there’s stress in that because it could all be gone in a blink of an eye. So we keep trying harder. We keep pursuing what money can buy us, or what security it can bring us. If we are honest we trust our money to provide more than we trust God.
God or Money?
The question we should all be asking is Do I trust God with everything? If I’m honest I have to answer no, not fully. Sure, I say I trust God. But when it comes to my money, my thoughts and actions tell a different story.
If God truly is who he says he is then I have nothing to worry about. The Bible tells us that everything is God’s; he literally owns everything. It also says that everything we have is a gift from him. In Galatians 4 Paul tells us we are adopted into God’s kingdom. In other words, everything God has is mine. I literally have nothing to worry about.
That’s why Jesus says this: Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:25-33
Our problem isn’t the size of our paychecks or what’s in our bank accounts. Our lives won’t get fixed if we made more. Our problem is our hearts. Our problem is our lack of trust in God.
I can hear your thoughts now. Yeah, but you don’t know my financial situation. Yeah, but you don’t understand I need $X more to make it. Your right, I don’t know, but God does. God knows and God cares. And over and over again Jesus tells us not to worry because he will care for us.
I think we all need to take a step back and take an honest look at our hearts. Do we trust God, or do we trust what we can provide for ourselves?