During this global crisis, most of us have grown worried about money and how financially secure we will be moving forward. I, for one, hate to even think about the huge dent my and my husband’s retirement investments took with the recent stock market downturn.
But so many around the globe are facing much greater threats to their livelihood (and lives) than my husband and I are.
So how do we navigate these challenges and thrive in our lives and marriages instead?
God often uses our money and how content we are with what we have to test and strengthen our faith.
There are two sides to this “coin.” Pardon the pun! 😉
2 Tests God Uses Involving Money
1. A lack of money and/or possessions tests how much we trust God to provide what’s best for us.
My spouse and I have not been hit hard by this financial crisis yet. And because of that, I am very grateful. But I have to admit that discontentment can be a problem for me, not so much regarding money, but regarding certain opportunities that I’ve fixated on. This is where I need to take action and do more of #2 …
2. A surplus of money tests how generous we will be with others outside our families.
Sometimes, we give into a scarcity mindset and, like the run-on toilet paper, fear we will run out of what we need when we have more than enough.
I may not be worrying about running out of toilet paper, but I have felt unnerved by what this pandemic might do to everyone’s economy. My mind has gone toward the worst-case scenario of a global depression. Instead of worrying, I should be finding ways to help others with the surplus God has given my husband and me.
So, let’s figure out how content we are with the money and possessions we have, as well as how generous we are with what we give to others!
I would encourage you to take the inventory below with yourself in mind, unless your spouse is interested in improving in this area as a couple. Trying to get your spouse to change is never a good idea. It’s better to influence your mate by your good example through the changes you determine to make on this front.
To download the inventory and discover your overall score, click this link—Content & Generous.
Hover over each Scripture to see where the questions spring from—scoring yourself based on: 1 never; 2 rarely; 3 sometimes; 4 often; 5 almost always.
1. No matter how empty or full my bank account is, I look to God to give me contentment and strength to do all that He wants me to do (Philippians 4:12-13).
I would rate myself a 3 since contentment (not financially) is something of a weakness in my life.
If you struggle with this one, the answer is found in Philippians 4:12-13. We simply need to allow God’s strength to flow where we are weak. For me, this means praying more for contentment and strength in all the areas where I am not.
2. I avoid the accumulation of things, because I know I can’t take it with me when I die (1 Timothy 6:6-7; Luke 12:15).
This is a 3 for me as well because I’ve accumulated way more things than I should. The evidence is right there in my closet!
If you struggle here, you might also be struggling financially, which can lead to more emptiness and dissatisfaction. Then you’ll be prone to buy more things, thinking it will lift your mood, even if only for a moment. Better to keep a “heavenly perspective.” Earth is not a believer’s home!
3. I appreciate money for how it helps me meet my family’s needs, as well as the needs of others; but would never say I love it (1 Timothy 6:10-11; Ecclesiastes 5:10).
This one might be a 4 for me since I don’t “love” money. Evidence for this in my life is how I’ve walked away from financial gains simply because it wasn’t God’s best for me. These were hard but worthwhile choices.
The love of money is one very slippery slope—leading to discontentment and other more damaging sins. If you struggle here, pay attention to the needs of others, giving in whatever way God leads. When you do, you’ll feel greater contentment and grow in your faith as a result!
4. I view my job and work as a gift from God, using it to make a difference in this world rather than trying to gain some personal accolade or status (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13).
This is a 4 for me because I do love making a difference for God. The slippery part is not getting sidetracked by a lack of results. I must always work for an audience of One!
If you struggle here, begin to prayerfully identify any wrong motivations behind the work you do. God will reveal the ways you’re putting something or someone before Him so that you can release those idols to Him one by one.
5. God is my highest priority in life; and I make daily choices that reflect how much I treasure Him above every other pleasure and pursuit in life (Matthew 6:21; 6:24).
This one is tricky because I think I make a lot of choices to treasure Him, as well as choices to treasure myself. So, maybe, I’m a 3 here. I need to work on yielding my wants for God’s wants.
If you struggle here, that could be your goal as well. Evaluate one day in your week. How many times did you do something selfishly motivated? Pray for the strength to make better choices moving forward.
6. I give to my church and other charitable causes—financially and practically—in ways that cost me greatly so I can please God (Luke 21:3-4).
Is my motivation simply to please God or to follow through on what I’ve been taught and done for years? Good question! Maybe I’m a 3 here because I’ve not been intentional enough about this!
If you struggle here, remind yourself that your generosity catches God’s attention and praise, just like it did with the widow’s sacrificial offering.
7. Though I do not give simply because I know God will bless me in return, I’m grateful for and aware of His generosity toward those who are generous (Luke 6:38; Proverbs 11:25).
Do I consciously remember this truth? Not so much! But maybe that’s a good thing! Maybe I’m a 4 because I don’t worry about God blessing me. I simply want to bless others out of what God has given me.
If you struggle here, maybe you need to remember this promise and truth found in the noted Scriptures. Then trust Him to provide for you as much as you give to others.
8. I resist putting my hope in my finances, but rather give freely because I want others to put their hope in God like I do (1 Timothy 6:17-18).
Thankfully, I do put my hope in God! So I’d probably give myself a 4 here. I’m just not as intentional as I should be about giving so that others might find hope in God. Too often I give, hoping others will think well of me. 😦
If you struggle here, it’s adding to any lack of confidence and hopelessness you already feel. The easy fix is to put your money where your hope is—in the things of God!
9. When others unfairly take time or money away from me, I’m able to give it freely as an expression of trust in God (Luke 6:30).
I’m definitely a 3 here. Though I trust God will provide for me, I still struggle with anger and frustration when money (not time) is taken.
If you struggle here, find someone you know cannot repay you, giving to them open-handedly. Allow that to encourage you to do this more often, trusting God is increasing your character even as your bank balance decreases.
10. When I give to others, I pay much more attention and honor to God—because He enables me to give—than I give credit to myself for being generous (Matthew 6:3-4).
I’m probably a 3 here, simply because I give mindlessly much of the time. Stopping to evaluate this is helping me to see the need to be more mindful of God every time I give, whether financially or otherwise.
If you struggle here, make a habit of praying “This is for You, my Lord!” whenever you give time or money to others. And I promise to do the same!
Sadly, I scored my lowest overall score yet on this topic. This tells me I need to really apply myself in this area. I’m going to be working this week on #10, praying that simple prayer each time I’m called to give of my time, energy and resources. My spouse and I are also giving to various causes and people who are in need. And maybe you need an idea for giving as well!
I’m super thankful for one ministry—Redeemer Christian Foundation—that was founded by my bloggy friend Bev Ritarchik. This ministry is in great need of our financial support to help impoverished children of Pakistan find safe haven in an environment where they are sharing with these children the gospel as well. Of course, with the pandemic, things are much worse for these children. So if you want to read more about this incredible ministry, click here. And if you want to go straight to the donate button, click here.
In an effort to be generous, I’m giving away a copy of my Bible study, Ephesians: Breaking Down Barriers & Living Secure to one randomly chosen commenter who lives in the continental U.S by noon (CST) on Saturday, May 9, 2020. So be sure to enter below! And then join me next week when I’ll be announcing the winner as well as talking about how to be united, intentional and wise as parents.
Which of the ten challenges found in the inventory do you need to work on the most, and how?
Which do you struggle with the most—being content with what you have, or giving to others from that same place?
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