What about My Gaps?

Article by R. Joseph Ritter, Jr. CFP® EA

Invariably there will be some who have come to rely on credit cards and debt as a crutch. It has become the emergency fund, safety net and security blanket. What if I cut up my cards, close my accounts, commit to honor God with my money, and then something happens?

What about my gaps? What do I do?

Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. Psalm 37:5

This verse and variations very similar to it appear no less than 6 times in Scripture (Psalm 37:5, Psalm 55:22, Proverbs 3:6, Proverbs 16:3, Matthew 6:33-34 and 1 Peter 5:7).

The word “commit” here literally means to “roll.” Initially, this was confusing to me because it didn’t make sense to roll our ways or our cares. What does make sense is to roll them away. In a single thrusting motion, putting inertia behind them to give them strong momentum, we “roll away” our ways and our cares onto the Lord. Indeed, other verses use “cast,” and that word often brings to mind casting a fishing rod, also involving a thrusting motion.

We are not to simply lay our cares and our ways upon the Lord; we are to thrust them onto Him.

But we don’t have any cares, do we? As long as we have a credit card, home equity loan or good credit, we can easily finance our cares and instantly overcome them. There are no emergencies, there is no waiting to fix what is broken, and there are no insurmountable problems… at least not until the bill arrives in the mail!

But where does this leave God? It omits God from the picture entirely. Instead of casting our cares on Him, we are assuaging our cares.

How, then, can we be established by the Lord? We aren’t and we can’t. When we don’t leave room for God to work in the midst of our cares and our ways, He cannot do anything to establish us. We are not positioning ourselves to be established by the Lord … but isn’t that what we want? Wouldn’t it be great if we could have it both ways? Unfortunately, the Lord already thought of that and said it isn’t possible (Joshua 24:15, Matthew 6:24).

But is our way really that much better? Ask me after a day of counseling individuals trying to pay off $20,000, $50,000 or $70,000 of debt while making ends meet and raising children. Ask a minister or missionary caught in financial strain and prevented from going further in their ministry. I would be quick to tell you that our way is most certainly not better. We may assuage our cares in an instant, but it takes years to dig out of the aftermath. That’s time we are basically on the sidelines, unusable to the Lord because we are slave to the debt.

Either God’s word is true or it is not. If He promises to establish our ways and provide for our needs, then He will – as long as we do what He says we must do. If this is not happening, then perhaps we are not giving Him an opportunity to provide or we are not giving Him room to work. Or by whipping out the credit card, we are distracted and oblivious to the fact that He might be working, but we just can’t see Him.

A God-honoring approach to how we handle money is one which takes a comprehensive view of our money in light of all that is required of us as followers of Christ. Where we spend our money indicates the treasure of our heart. How we spend our money indicates whether we really are loving our neighbors. What we waste reveals how we feel about stewardship. Our money shows up in lust, envy and greed. It gets in the way of fully trusting the Lord. In short, what we do with our money and how we allow our money to dictate our lives has a direct impact on our relationship with the Lord.

Truly what we do with faith determines what we do with money, and what we do with money can seriously undermine our faith. Are you ready to honor God with your money? Are you ready to apply the principles of spiritual renewal to your heart?

Commit your works to the LORD And your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3. Your works include your money. Commit all your money to the Lord, invite Him to show you what He wants to do in your situation, and then stand by and see what the Lord has in store for you.

© 2015, 2018 Zacchaeus Financial Counseling, Inc.

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