Last week we talked about the impact that understanding God’s sovereignty and control in our lives can have on the way we view and handle money, both in the good times and the bad. We want to continue that discussion this week because it’s so important for us to have a right understanding of God, especially when our financial lives are involved. We can’t say that we trust God and then handle our money as if we are in control.
The following recording is from “Mornings with Kelli and Steve” on Moody Radio Indiana (97.9 FM). For more information on Moody Radio, go to moodyradio.org/indiana.
When it comes to the area of investing, how does this knowledge of God being in control affect the decisions we make?
Since God is in control, you don’t have to bear all the stress of finding the perfect investment. Your job as a steward is to be faithful with what God has entrusted to you.
1 Corinthians 4:2 – “…it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.”
You should use wisdom when it comes to making investment decisions, but you’re never going to know everything or have control of the results. You can go into any investment knowing that when you look back on it years from now, there will be something you could’ve done differently and that’s okay.
A deep understanding of God’s sovereignty also makes it easier to see the fallibility of the structures of this world and why we can’t put our trust in them. What can we ever own that can’t ultimately be taken away from us? Some people put their trust in gold or land or even cash they’ve stashed away. None of these things are really safe. A quick look at history will show how any of those could be confiscated without our approval or even become worthless overnight. Even guarantees on our investments can fail. God is our rock and our refuge and only in Him can we put our trust.
You talk about stewards needing to be faithful. If God is sovereign and in control of everything already, why do we need to do anything? Couldn’t we just sit back and wait on God’s provision?
I often talk to people that battle this very question. They struggle with the idea of saving and investing because they think it shows a lack of faith in God’s provision. In reality, God has made us stewards of His resources and has provided us with the wisdom to manage them for His glory. We can’t fully know His will, but we can know the portion that He has revealed to us in scripture. Our job is to seek His will in every aspect of life and sometimes that will include saving and investing what He’s given to us. We should absolutely trust in Him as our provider, but we are also responsible to gain wisdom and make decisions that will advance our situation.
Take a farmer for example. It’s not okay for them to look at their fields and say they are trusting in God to provide the crop for them at the end of the year. No, the farmer is responsible to use his skills, experience, wisdom and resources to produce a harvest. In the end, the farmer knows that he can’t make the seed grow or control the weather, but he is to do what he can and then pray to God for His provision.
What tools has God provided for us as we seek to be faithful?
First off, we have His Word, which provides us with the ability to know the portion of His will that He has revealed to us. That helps to guide our plans.
Another tool we have is prayer. We are fully dependent on God and prayer acknowledges that. When we struggle to find the balance between our plans and God’s sovereignty, we can look at the example set by Nehemiah. Remember how he was leading the project to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. At that time, there was danger all around them. They knew they were doing God’s will, but what about the danger?
Nehemiah 4:9 – “And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.”
Notice how the Israelites prayed, but also set guards. They took the prudent action that they could control, but prayed because they knew it was God who would fight for them (Nehemiah 4:20).
The other tool that God has provided for us is each other – wise counsel. God has provided us with community so we can help each other.
Proverbs 15:22 – “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.”
One thing I love about the idea of seeking counsel is how it takes a topic like money that is normally very secretive and puts it into the perspective of Christian community. How can we encourage one another in both the good times and the bad?
It’s always important to surround ourselves with others who love God. It keeps us from falling into the traps of this world that can come in either prosperity or hardship.
When times are good, wise counsel can help us avoid pride and self-reliance. Others can help remind us of God’s truths, especially that He is the one who put us in our current situation and it’s not a result of anything we’ve done.
When times are tough, godly counsel can help bear our burdens and our sorrows. They can be our support when we start to think that maybe God isn’t in control and we begin to get fearful and anxious. It’s going to be tough, but having a friend that knows God walking beside us will always be an encouragement.
Brad Graber, CFP® has been working with clients on personal financial planning and investment issues since 1996. He invests his time mentoring and educating individuals on ways to be better stewards of the resources God has entrusted to them.