By Casey MacPherson –Troy, Ohio
For most of my life, I never really thought much about including God in my financial decisions. My family had always taught me the importance of taking care of friends and family. I learned that sharing money with people in need was incredibly important, so that was my focus.
When I first accepted Jesus as my Lord and started diving into the Bible as God’s Word, I focused on verses like Hebrews 13:16 which tells us to do good and share what we have.
Verses like Matthew 6:1-4 also encouraged me to make financial donations privately and not to publicly announce my generosity. These scriptures helped me build further on a foundation of financial benevolence.
As a teenager, I also tried to share what little I had with people in need around me. While this attitude was a noble attempt, I wasn’t really letting God rule the process. I was giving with a cheerful heart as we are supposed to, but I wasn’t fully allowing him to direct that activity.
When I finished high school, I began working more closely with the church. I still gave financial support when I saw fit and when I thought a cause was worthy.
But by then, I had many excuses for not giving more. I had decided that the time I invested in volunteer service let me off the hook from sharing financially. And as a college student with very limited funds, I felt I “didn’t have enough to give.”
Building My Trust
One day I was praying during an especially difficult financial situation. In the midst of it, I finally decided to ask God why he cares about my money. His answer surprised me.
The Lord led me to a verse that I have known for a long time and thought I understood.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
What do these verses have to do with God and money? The Holy Spirit had used a very familiar verse of scripture to show me that I needed to include him in every aspect of my life, including my finances.
I had been applying my own worldly understanding and experience to figure out how and when to give, instead of letting God inspire my generosity.
He also showed me that while I trusted him when it came to things that I considered “spiritual matters” (like healing or volunteering in ministry), I wasn’t including him enough in other parts of my life.
The “God Account”
So, what was my path forward? For me, I had to reestablish my giving decisions with a more deliberate effort. That began by setting up a “God Account” at my bank.
It was an account where I set aside a portion of my paycheck for the church or for other causes brought to my attention by the Spirit. By taking this action, I had to trust God to direct my financial giving by his voice.
Sometimes that has meant giving a specific percentage to the church; sometimes that has meant giving to a family I know in need; and sometimes that has meant taking money out of my “normal” accounts in an unplanned situation where God has guided a targeted donation.
The whole process has been a blast, because when God stirs me to give, most of the time it’s in a way I could never have thought of on my own. My financial outflow is now another consistent reminder of the relationship I have with our loving God.
Why God and Money Mix
So why does God care about my money? It’s because He wants to have a true relationship with us, but it’s hard to develop that partnership if we don’t allow Christ to rule that area of our lives.
I have heard tons of teachings about money and giving, and I admit that I still don’t know all the answers on how to give, but I’m convinced of the godly importance of doing it!
Whenever the subject of finances comes up, people want to talk about donation percentages or which causes are worthy. In this category, I’m a guy who has messed up in more ways than I can count.
My advice is to trust God to guide us and not to be afraid to get it wrong. The cool thing about God is that he knows our heart. Even when we stumble or make mistakes, he is still going to bless us and turn it toward our good.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 NKJV
At times when my natural mind was ruling my financial sharing (which still happens from time to time), the merciful Father has continued to bless me and honor my heart.
Even when I have only given of my time, the Lord has continued to pour down his blessings upon me. No matter how badly I’ve mishandled my finances, his love and promises don’t change.
So, don’t be afraid to make mistakes! And be generous with the money that God has generously blessed you with, even sometimes when it doesn’t make sense.
Be willing to ask God where you may’ve gotten financially off course, and ask him how to be more effective going forward. I promise that when you trust in the Lord, and stop directing your financial life on your own, God will guide you down an amazing path.
You’ll have a blast on that journey, building a deeper relationship with him.