Giving and Financial Planning
We were discussing the book 'The Treasure Principle' at Church the other night (by Randy Alcorn). I had banned Sam from ever reading it since I felt he needed no encouragement in that department (encouraging generosity), but since it had been recommended by our pastor, well, I had to concede and let him read it. Thankfully we haven't sold everything and become homeless just yet.
During the discussion the matter of financial planning came up.
I was going to save this part 'til I got to the end of telling the story of how I met and eventually married Sam, because early in our marriage these things did come up (as they are bound to eventually). I entered marriage with a Larry Burkett manual in one hand and a few dollars in the other. And Sam, well, he entered marriage with a heart full of generosity and an outlook on financial matters that blew my mind. He even questioned whether we should have health insurance, but decided that it might be a good idea.
I have often said if you don't believe in reincarnation just look at Sam and you will see George Meuller (and his faith!) (Please know I am joking - for the record - I don't believe in reincarnation).
So our views on financial planning were vastly different. And my views have changed and so have his.
But I did learn a many good things in the discussions we had. I learned that my instinct to plan was based on insecurity and a lack of faith. And I wonder if Sam learned that sometimes God provides what we will need later, now, and good stewardship may involve saving some. And yet, on the flip side, if we give it away now, is God so small He cannot meet my future needs...in the FUTURE? Because in the Lord's prayer we are taught to ask for our daily bread - no mention of tomorrow's bread (including a nest-egg).
So, if we live by faith that includes the money we have today, tomorrow and in the bank. That includes the money we spend, give and save. And whatever doesn't come from faith is sin.
SO - if you are saving because of fear, not in faith you may need to consider why you are saving. But, you may be saving because you feel confidently led to, knowing and trusting that if your investments dry up, it is all God's money anyways, and you won't be sitting there wringing your hands with a furrowed brow saying, 'Oh dear, what will we do now?'
And if you are spending, buying up all the canned goods you can because you think the apocalypse is around the corner and you'll starve, your spending comes from fear - not faith! (And I'd rather die quickly and be in heaven with Jesus so I'm not stock piling). But if you hoard because you feel led of the Spirit and you are confident that if a tornado came and wiped it all out you would still be confident in the sovereign goodness of God to provide all you need, then I say, go ahead and hoard.
And if you are not giving generously because of fear of giving too much (that would be me, and most of us probably), then your lack of generosity is driven by fear, not faith.
Ouch. Did I just say that?
Concluding, then, is that ALL we do must be of faith.
Give by faith, Spend by faith, Save by faith.
But ultimately, live your entire life trusting that God is good, and will meet every need you have.