I have spent most of the last year planning a retirement strategy. The question at hand is can we retire, or partially retire, now? This deliberation has included much time with the financial planner, a redesign of the budget, finding someone with which to job-share, and much angst. A secondary outcome is that I have spent the year worrying about money. Where in my calculations was trust. I am certain of the call God has placed on my life. I am certain of the timing. I am certain that it requires less time at work, so that I will be able to spend time and energy on eternal things. We have entered a period of life that gives us the opportunity to pull back in some areas with the intent of charging forward in another area. Why am I telling you this? Essentially retiring takes a mountain of faith. Will the money I have invested still be there? Can we live on a tighter budget? Will we have to give up all the fun in life? What will inflation look like? How long will I live? Why am I worrying about all this? How do I stop….?
The real question: Can God be trusted? Can I go forward without solving every possible contingency? Can I let go and trust?
2 Corinthians 9:6-11 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
6 The point is this:[a] The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of compulsion, since God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. 9 As it is written:
He distributed freely;
he gave to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.[b]
10 Now the one who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will also provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.11 You will be enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us.
Trusting God for finances is a difficult manner. I have certainly learned to lean on my own abilities. I am sure that I believe that I take care of myself and have credited God with none of it. Oh, I know I have been provided life in an unusual country with great abundance. But, really, I am the one who goes to work. Doesn’t that mean it is by my efforts? This viewpoint gives me little real desire to be generous. It is my time that is a stake. Sure, I give money away. But how much? How much do I keep? How can I be secure, if I am generous?
This passage tells us a few things. First, we reap what we sow. Or in plain words, we get back what we give. I am not promising that giving is an investment strategy. What I think is that, if you meet the needs of others, God will meet your needs. No, trips to Maui are not needs. However, I know people who God has blessed in manner similar to this. Secondly, God wants us to want to give. He wants us to give not just out of obedience, but out of trust, with a generous attitude. God wants us to care about others. He wants us to care enough to make sure our neighbors do not languish due to the lack of food, shelter, education and health. And third, God is the provider. Generosity is a test of trust. Do I trust God? Do I think obedience is too risky? Do I think I cannot survive? Maybe He is giving me the opportunity to be His hands and feet. If He can use me to aid in provision for others, can He not be trusted to provide for me?
This my friends is the question? Can I trust God? Can I trust Him with my money? Will He be there for me or will I perish? Do all things come from Him? Or do I think I can be trusted to provide for myself? We face this question every day in all that we do, not just in our giving. This does not just apply to provision and affluence. It is the question that undergirds all of life. Can God be trusted? YES! If not, what do I have left? NOTHING.
God, I want to trust you. Make me able. Lord I will trust you.