There was a time in my life when I was scared of money. I remember it vividly. It was only four years ago (and all the years prior to 2016). I did not realize it was fear that was operating in my life. I just thought I was living out the premise of Philippians 4 where Paul told us that he has learned to be abased and to abound and he (and us) can do all things (like living with little or with much) through the strength of Christ. I encourage you to go read that chapter and verse in the proper context. Despite what we believers have decided to make the verse mean, it is not a verse about our ability to do EVERYTHING. Apostle Paul was literally talking about the fact that as believers who carry the grace of God, we can be content with life in whatever state we happen to find ourselves.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand. I thought I had learned to be content with little. Wasn’t that the goal of every believer’s life? I took a spiritual gifts test during that time and my highest scoring goal was poverty.
The cycle of struggle in my household had become so repetitive that I was convinced that God was keeping me poor to keep me holy. Yup. Money was nothing but trouble and God wanted to make sure that I had just enough to almost cover my expenses but nothing more. So, I embraced the cycle of lack. We did our best with my husband’s wages and I did not attempt to make any more money from my fledgling business. I just focused my attention on our young children and comforted myself with the thought that if I could not be a income earner, I was at least a good wife and mother. That had to be enough. I never fully admitted how much my fear of failure, fear of success and fear of money were driving all of my decision making during that time. I really thought I was doing what God wanted of me. God told us not to love money right? So if I did not do anything to get any more money, that had to be proof that I was not money hungry, right?
But do you know you can be poor and still have an inordinate amount of affection for money? I sure didn’t. I thought that as long as I was living paycheck to paycheck and not looking for more than covering my basic necessities, I was safe from the love of money – the root of all evil.
But I would come to find out that the LACK of money was fully capable of ruling my life just as much as having several fistfuls of cash, and the outcome was just as destructive. My fear of money built an obstacle against my faith in God. I did not trust God for more – if He wanted me to be poor what was the point of me applying for new jobs or trying to create new opportunities for myself – they were not going to work anyway. So, I spent years running away from new risks and challenges because my fear of money had morphed into a fear of failure and success.
Changing my mindset about money took several interventions. I had dozens of conversations with my parents that did not quite do the trick. I had ongoing conversations with my husband that finally helped me breakthrough my fear of failing at new things. And I had a session with a money mindset coach that absolutely transformed my thinking (shoutout to Toyin Crandell; if you don’t know that name, Google her!). Changing my mind about money and getting God’s perspective was a work of deliverance that God had to do in my life. I am so deeply grateful that the Lord opened my eyes to the ways I was shooting myself in the foot all while crying out for Him to rescue me, bless me or provide for me.
Money is a terrible master but a wonderful servant. Money is supposed to serve us believers as we endeavor to bring the Kingdom of heaven to earth. Heaven lacks nothing good, so why should the life of a believer who God has blessed with the power to make wealth and fund kingdom projects be a life wasted in worry about the basic necessities of life? God will provide for us – just as He feeds the birds, and clothes the lilies. But God has also given us an extraordinary amount of gifts, talents and wealth-generating ideas for us to sinfully sit and do nothing about them while the world languishes in lack, waiting for the manifestation of the sons and daughters of God (Romans 8:19). Children of God (creative, educated, intelligent, with an extraordinary amount of privilege in a world where the vast majority lives on less than a dollar a day) whose means are able to answer the needs created by poverty, disease, famine and many more world crises. We are created in the image of God to be problem-solvers on this earth. If the only problem we ever solve is how to feed and clothe ourselves and our own household, then I honestly believe we have not even scratched the surface of the abundant life that God intends for us.
Money answereth all things (Ecclesiastes 10:19, KJV). That does not mean money is the only thing you need in the world. Because as believers, we know that without Christ, all the money in the world is meaningless. But does it not make the most sense for children of God, who operate with God’s wisdom to be the one with the means to solve the problem in such a way that brings the Kingdom of God to earth? It does to me.
This post is a very #FirstWorldProblems centered post. Obviously, if you are in the same boat as a majority of the world that has no guarantee of their next meal or a roof over their head, you are not the one being charged with funding the solutions that I truly believe already lie in the hearts, minds or hands of children of God. But if you happen to live in the Western Hemisphere of the world and you know you are privileged in some ways (educated, housed – meaning not homeless, able-bodied, etc.), you have a duty to spend your privilege wisely. And one of the best ways to do that is to make the most of your opportunity rather than discounting them (and spending your entire life only consumed with you and your household).
There is more for you to do in the world than work, pay bills and die. Money matters. Find out what yours is supposed to do in this world for the sake of the Gospel.