The Blessing of Trusting God More than Money
This is part two of a two-part series.
In part one of this two-part series on God and Money, we saw the dangers of trusting money more than God in the midst of church-planting. That trusting money is dangerous is obvious to most Christians. That we fall prey to doing so in insidious ways is not as obvious.
I want to shift the focus now to the joy and blessing of trusting God, and specifically trusting him more than or instead of money.
Read through the Psalms (indeed, all the Scriptures!) and you’ll see that God’s blessing is for those who place their faith in him. Consider these breath-taking promises as a small sampling:
Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD. (Psalm 32:10)
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. (Psalm 37:5)
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you! (Psalm 84:11-12)
His steadfast love surrounds those who trust him. He acts for those who wait on him. He will withhold no good, no need, no watchful provision or blessing from those who walk before him by faith.
He is worthy of our constant, explicit trust.
What does it look like to trust God more than money in the midst of church planting, and what blessings from God attend such faith?
What it Doesn’t Mean
Trusting God more than money does not necessarily mean that you never talk about money, ask for money, or make needs known.
God uses money to plant churches for his name’s sake. Most often, church planters will need to call people to participate in the vision God has given them. Asking for money in itself is not necessarily trusting money.
Take George Mueller and the Apostle Paul as two examples of godly men whom God led in different directions with regards to asking for money for their mission.
George Mueller is a wonderful example of a man who clearly trusted God. To demonstrate God’s sovereign goodness and power to act on behalf of his praying people, he resolved not to ask for money for the needs of the orphans in his care. And God always provided in miraculous fashion. What joy he experienced day after day as God showed himself faithful to his promises! (For a deeper dive on Mueller, you can listen to this sermon by John Piper or check out this definitive biography from A.T. Pierson).
Paul also trusted God more than money, which is evident throughout his writings (1 Tim. 6:10; Phil. 4:17). Paul consistently showed that he worked with his own hands so as not to make use of his right to be provided for by his ministry (Acts 20:34; 1 Cor. 9:9-15). He didn’t want anyone to be able to accuse him of ministering from greed. But as there was need in the church or need for the mission, under the leading of God’s Spirit, there are more than a few examples of Paul asking for financial partnership from recipients of his letters (Rom. 15:24; 1 Cor. 16:2-3; 2 Cor. 1:16; 9:5; Phil. 4:16-17; Titus 3:13).
God may lead you to a Mueller-like approach or to a Pauline approach. Both are legitimate so long as our hearts are trusting God for the means he appoints and not seeking to circumvent God for the means we want. It’s not more spiritual to use Mueller’s approach if God moves us to ask. But if we ask, may our hope be in God and not the asking. Let everyone be fully convinced in his own mind as to the Lord’s leading.
Four Joys of Trusting God More than Money
There are blessings in trusting God beyond what we could calculate, both in this life and in the life to come. Here are just a few joys that attend resting in him for the provision he chooses:
1. The Joy of Magnifying God’s Faithfulness
When we look to God and trust him alone for provision, we set the table for him to display his faithful care and miraculous power.
In Hebrews 13:5, we are exhorted to keep our life free from the love of money and to be content with what we have, because God promised to never leave or forsake us. His faithfulness and sufficiency are the reasons why his people can be content and can trust his provision.
When we follow the leading of God’s Spirit and let him, and not money, be the decisive consideration in every ministry endeavor, God is magnified as worthy of our trust. God always provides for his will. And when we allow him to provide his way rather than chasing provision by our own strength and wisdom, he exalts himself and his faithfulness through our churches.
To give an example, at the outset of planting Rivertown Church, we decided as a leadership team that we would support missionaries and other ministries and causes by the Spirit’s leading, whether it looked like the money was “there” or not. We firmly believed that we could not out-give our generous God. Over and over again, we have gotten to rejoice with church members at the provision of God outpacing the generosity of the church. And the generosity of the church has led to much thanksgiving and praise to God for his faithfulness.
2. The Joy of Leading a Generous Church
Jesus himself said “it is better to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). If that’s true in future days when the church can provide for its own budget, it’s true even as the church is forming.
When church planters are as thrilled at opportunities to give as they are about acquiring partners in the mission, they are blessed. What a joy it is for a church to be able to say they’ve always supported Jesus’ cause in global missions, even before they were financially “self-sustaining.” That kind of real generosity comes from the convictions of a church planting team at the outset of the process as they trust God with money in the midst of still needing money. Generosity for the sake of Christ’s glory sown in seed form at the start of the church blossoms into a culture of generosity for the sake of Christ’s glory as the church matures.
3. The Joy of Telling the Truth About Jesus
The church exists to magnify Jesus - he has become our salvation and he is our life. Just as it is possible to live and speak in a way that makes plain that we’re seeking our heavenly home (Heb. 11:14), it’s possible to trust God with provision in a way that makes plain that Jesus, not money, is our hope and the treasure of our hearts. In a way that affirms the church belongs to him, and that unless he builds the house, we labor in vain (Matt. 16:18; Psalm 127:1).
In this way, you get the joy of magnifying Jesus as the One worth trading everything for, not just to your church, but to those you invite to partner with you along the way.
4. The Joy of Walking by Faith
Trusting God with money gives us real opportunity to walk by faith and not by sight. The one who’s free from trusting in money can pursue God’s will whether it looks like the funds are there or not.
When you’ve resolved to live by faith in what God says, you’re free to pursue God’s will in his way and in his timing.
God has provided good works for us and our churches to walk in, and one of his goals in our sanctification is to deepen our faith in him. In the midst of the work he’s given us to do, he will stretch us and make us get out of the boat, put our toes in the Jordan, set out the jars, etc. How happy is the man who doesn’t limit what God wants to do through him by unbelief. Oftentimes, God’s provision comes on the other side of obedience. Trust him more than the money you can’t see, and step!
There are countless other joys and blessings from trusting God alone. May he sift our hearts and find them completely his. May he grant you a greater resting in Jesus. A greater trust in his care for you and the church he’s called you to plant and pastor. A greater confidence in his power to provide and build his church for his name’s sake. And may you know the joy of Jesus magnifying himself through your life and ministry as his own means to his own ends.