By Stephen Phinney

Throughout Biblical history, God has used the lack of provisions (money) to guide and direct His people in His given pathway. There are times He uses the abundance of provision, or the lack of it, to confirm His direction for our lives. A classic example of this is the purchase of a car, but not having the funds saved to purchase it. For Godly stewards, we can safely see that until God provides the funding, it is not His will for us to buy the car. For each of us who have fallen into the poor steward mentality: we see, we want, we pray, and we go in debt to get.

PURPOSE TWO - Confirm Direction: Let’s say that you do have the funds set aside to make the purchase. Is it God’s will for you to go ahead and buy? Not necessarily! God bases the “yes” on one simple factor - is it a true and real need. This, too, can be subjective. We humans tend to rationalize our decisions based upon what WE think is a need, rather than what God calls a need. In order to discover what God calls a real need, we must embrace all of the stewardship guidelines of the Word. An example is buying a used car instead of a new one. Buying a new car is not necessarily a sin; whereas purchasing a good used car may be more in line with God’s rules of stewardship.

One of the first symptoms of indulgent purchases I watch for in myself, as well as in others, is that of impatience. People who “buy on the spot” with large purchases tend to justify their indulgences. Those who carefully weigh the “pros and cons,” walk away, pray, and then decide, show due diligence unto the Lord.

Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes (Psalm 37:7, NASB).

Let’s examine the five building blocks of this particular purpose of money.

Building Faith:  God has made a commitment to cloth the grass of the field, which are alive today and tomorrow tossed into a pile of rubble, will He not much more cloth you and me if we have increasing faith (Matt 6:30)? The Lord seems to move upon the lives of those who show or demonstrate faith. I really think many times God wonders where and what we are doing with our faith. He implores us to have faith in His name, which has more strength than that of any man. God is more interested in revealing Himself from faith to faith and thus requiring of us to live by such faith. Faith is evidence of believing in unseen things – the things of God. God expects us to use our spiritual gifts according to the grace given to each of us and to exercise them according to His will.

Faith helps us to discern what God wants to accomplish in and through our pocketbooks. All of us should carefully weigh how each dollar is spent, according to how it ultimately benefits God’s Glory and Kingdom. Once God gives us clear direction on how we spend His money stewarded to us, we then can have confidence toward God in our daily walk with Him.

When we patiently wait on the Lord for spending, and saving, we are given the privilege to see the bigger blessing He has for us. Most of us settle for “cheap” things because we are unwilling to wait on God to provide us with what He has stored up for us. For example: buying that car on credit when God may have a vehicle ready to be given to us. There are so many material possessions just lying around, waiting on God to move the heart of a giver to answer the prayers of one of His needy. But most simply do not have the faith to see the blessing arrive. Waiting develops and establishes faith.

Lord of Life:  How often do you and I proclaim that Jesus is the Lord of Life, while we live like we are the lord of our own lives? Lordship is only confirmed when we are obedient to the moving of God’s hand and respectfully honor the limitations which He places on our lives. A person who has plenty of money stored up will find it very difficult to see God’s guiding hand. This is not to say that all those who are blessed with large sums of money don’t hear God. But the norm is: those that are of wealth tend NOT to seek the

 Kingdom of God first, before they spend. Statistics prove, the more you have, the less one depends on God. Because of this, God gives significant warnings to the wealthy:

Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17, NASB).

Protection:  Have you ever noticed no matter how much God blesses us, we want more? I certainly do! As we look into Biblical history, we see God providing many men with everything they need, plus some. In a few short chapters, they are crying out for more. This all started in the Garden when God gave Adam and Eve absolutely everything they needed to enjoy life. Satan came along and put the thought in both of their minds that they can have much more, in fact, that they could have as much as God. From this day forward, man’s sinful bent has pushed him to see, want, and get. I believe this was Satan’s method of madness to set the world up for debt mentality. The enemy is well aware of God’s principle of not being in debt to any man and that man becomes a slave to the one who holds their debt. Upon this principle, we have the financial system of the Antichrist. He also knows the wealthy fall into temptations and snares easier than the poor.

But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction (1 Timothy 6:9, NASB).

We find in God’s continuous history that He tends to use His people’s need for money to protect them from falling into the temptations and snares of Satan. We always need to remember that need creates dependence and dependence forms relationship.

Builds Patience: Patience is not something you learn, practice, or memorize. Patience is a fruit resulting from a dependent lifestyle and appropriation of allowing Christ to live His life through us, as indwelt believers. Patience is evidence of a mature Christian, who is in the habit of depending on Christ “in them” to make the decision through them. We are told this fruit comes to maturity through tribulation (trials).

For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God (1 Peter 2:20, NASB).

Financial hardship, no matter what level of the economy we live in, tends to be viewed by each of us as suffering. Due to this weakness of man, God uses the lack of funding to produce a trial and through the trial God causes the fruit of patience to bloom.

True Riches:  In God’s mind, there is a major difference between earthly riches and Heavenly riches. Mankind gets caught up in the worries of the world and the deceitfulness of riches. Once this occurs, desires for other things enter in and begin to suffocate the Word in the believer. God works diligently to place the Word within the hearts of His children. Yet, there are some of us that allow these profound principles of God to be choked out by the worries of wanting more money and the pleasures of life. The end result is not fruit of the Spirit.

How is it that God would entrust Heavenly riches to someone who is unfaithful with the use of unrighteous wealth? He not only can’t, He won’t. God measures the amount of Heavenly riches according to how the man is faithful with the earthly riches. He is known for starting out by placing small things in our hands, to see if we will be faithful in stewarding them according to His Word. If we are, He entrust much to us. That is how it works. We cannot truly understand the riches of His glory unless we understand the importance of properly stewarding the things of the earth. God wants to impart to us the depth of His riches in sound wisdom and knowledge of Him. These are the things God finds admirable in His children – not the amount of money we have stored away in our piggy banks.

Coming Soon!

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:7-8, NASB).

In conclusion, we have learned that God is more interested in: our level of appropriated faith, who is “lord” of our lives, protecting us from the snares of the devil, developing the fruit of patience in us, and being able to trust His children with true riches. It is through these elements we find confirmation of God’s given direction in our lives.