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In $ we trust?

The Australian stock market lost $59 billion in the last week of August, crashing to its lowest since the 2008 global financial crisis, with even many “blue chip” companies suffering large falls.

Such drops often cause a sense of panic and helplessness – something that affects our present and future wellbeing has changed suddenly in a way we didn’t expect and can’t control. And when financial pressures rise, relationships are also often strained.

The question then comes hard at us – Can we (really) trust God even when our financial situation is deteriorating or harsh and we are feeling anxious and under pressure?

The Bible has a lot to say about money. Jesus actually talked more about money than any other topic except for the Kingdom of God. Maybe he did this because he knew that we are all prone to trusting financial security above God?

Have you ever thought about how many of our arguments and conflicts revolve around money or the power and control that comes with it? Our civil courts are filled with people fighting for their “fair share” of an estate or a property settlement or a contract dispute or compensation for someone else’s wrongdoing or negligence. But even within marriages and other family relationships, the way money gets spent (or not spent!) can be a major source of conflict between us.

Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. … No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matt 6: 19-21, 24)

This doesn’t mean that money is bad – we need it to live! What it does mean is that if we find our security in it, become anxious and fretful about it, then it’s possible that it has assumed too great a place in our life and that we have stopped finding our hope, comfort and security in God himself.

And if we’re not finding our security in God, this may also lead us to fight when we don’t get what we’ve coveted or wanted:

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires
that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you
cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you
do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong
motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:1-3)

The next time you notice yourself fretting or arguing about money or responding to a negative financial situation by sinning in some way (accusations, selfishness, harsh language, dishonesty), consider stopping for a consider Jesus’ teaching. Ask God for the strength to help truly trust him in both mind and heart and to draw real peace and comfort from this.

Here’s a simple plan from Psalm 56:3: “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.”