Please begin with prayer for an open heart, before you read the passage below. Proverbs 3:3-8 – 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
This week is the perfect time to be afraid!! I notice with my 5-year old that Halloween brings up the idea of monsters, scary decorations, costumes, etc.. We (not me!!) subject ourselves to Haunted Houses, Horror films, and gross things leading up to Halloween all to get a scare out of us (or maybe for the cute single girl in the group???).
In thinking of this passage in relation to money, fear is a common thing. Investment companies play up the concept of fear, when it comes to retirement, savings, and pushing their products on you. I remember a few years ago, we were looking into life insurance and I remember walking away with the notion that the investment consultant (salesman!!) was totally playing on our fears. He would say, ‘Well, what would your wife/family/etc. do if something happened to you?? You want to make sure they are well taken care of in case something happens.’ Life insurance can be a really good thing, but honestly, it taps into our fears.
Finances play into our fears, in terms of scarcity as well. We feel like there is not enough, so we hoard (much different than healthy, Biblical saving) our money/things/possessions and are afraid to be generous. We have decent intentions of giving to our local congregation (or in another way to further the Kingdom of God), but fear of not having enough cripples us, so we don’t step out in faith. This moment of fear reveals the god that we fear most!! We fear our own well-being, not having a comfortable retirement, our kids not having a better life, not traveling the world as empty nesters, not being able to keep up with our neighbors, etc., etc. more than the true God!
This passage calls us to lean not on our own understanding and to have a healthy fear of the Lord!! We are indoctrinated and discipled by the culture that money is everything and our fear in not having enough drives us to be stingy, or at least stingy towards the Kingdom of God. We are really generous to the true gods in our life!! Our own understanding has been shaped by the culture and tells us that we deserve bigger and better things and we should save more so we can be comfortable. It makes no sense, in the eyes of this culture, to give away 10% or more of our income when it could be spent on our self!! Verse 6 says, ‘6 in all your ways submit to him…’, yet for some reason we exclude our finances from this calling.
Matthew 10:28 says, ‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.’
This passage gives us clear indication of Whom we should truly fear! This is a healthy, obedient, trusting fear---not an all-consuming, paralyzing fear. So church, let us not lean on our own understanding and pray that we can kick out all the other gods in our life that claim our hearts affections and dominate our resources. Let us fear the One that has authority over life, death, and all things and honor Him with our wealth. If He truly is our only God, then we should do everything to reorganize our financial situation to make sure we are honoring Him as He calls us to! So be afraid, be very afraid…of the right Thing!
With regard to money, how would you know if you were operating out of fear? Does ‘god’ or God have the ultimate place in your heart with regard to finances? How would you know? I would love to hear your journey and how this passage impacted you.