If your answer is anything other than “God,” you may have fallen into a false faith — faith in money.
In our day-to-day lives, we experience a lot of financial autonomy. We work hard, we get paid, we buy things. It’s all very physical, very material, and it all makes sense. We spend the money that we earn, and we save some for later, so that we can use that money to handle emergencies when they come up. The system makes a lot of sense, and it’s all predicated on the idea that if we do certain things, we’ll get certain rewards.
There’s nothing wrong with the fundamentals of this system. But if we’re not careful, we can fall into the trap of believing that we are our own providers. We start believing that our employers, the businesses that we’ve built or the investments we’ve made are our sources of income. We begin to think that if we make enough, if we save enough, if we’re financially successful enough, that we can handle anything that life throws at us.
I don’t want to contradict anything we’ve said about hard work or about the importance of saving. But it’s important to remember that even if we’re doing all of the right things financially, we can’t really take credit for our fiscal success. God is the only provider. He gives us our ability to work and to create wealth, and He is our protection from the dangers of this life.
Deuteronomy 8:17-18 makes this point fairly vividly:
You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
It’s tempting to think that we have earned everything we have by our own strength. But God wants us to remember that He’s really the source. After all, we couldn’t even work to earn money if it weren’t for Him giving us the strength and opportunity to do so.
The point of all of this is that it’s easy to fall into a false faith or trust in money. If we become too confident in our ability to work and earn, or too proud of the financial things that we have accumulated, we lose sight of God, and have a false faith in ourselves and our money. When we trust in ourselves or trust in money instead of trusting in God, we become slaves.
The slavery of false faith is subtle and easy to fall into. But we must not let ourselves become too confident in anything we see around us. Our health, our jobs, or even our national economy might collapse, due to circumstances beyond our control. If that ever happens, those of us whose hope is in our money will be up a creek.
To avoid this, let’s all make sure that we thank God for all that He has given us — even our ability to work and produce wealth. And let’s put our faith in Him to provide for us, no matter how much success or failure we see in the world around us.
Photo via Flickr, by user Mike Baird. Used under Creative Commons License.