Windows on Finance Part 9
How we relate to money is an indication of our understanding of God’s grace. God’s basic principles around money call for giving and receiving. These embody Grace, e.g. when you give something without expectation of return you are manifesting grace (unmerited favour). The world’s financial system of buying and selling demands exchange (value for value). So when we take something designed by man for buying and selling (i.e. money) and freely give it with no expectation of return, we have introduced money to grace and we have profaned the sacred properties ascribed to money by mammon and have declared to the spiritual and natural realm that mammon is not our source.
So giving an offering with an expectation of return in order to get our needs met, is misunderstanding God’s grace. The idea of getting our needs met by sowing and reaping (e.g. via tithes & offerings) does not work and is wrong.
Jesus specifically taught against this in Matthew 6:24-29
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they neither toil nor spin and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
Here Jesus introduces His disciples to grace, and breaks the lie about sowing and reaping as a way to meet human needs. In verses 26 and 28 Jesus says God provides the basic needs of sparrows and lilies without their sowing or reaping or toiling or spinning.
In other words, their provision is not dependent upon their works. Birds and flowers are cared for by God simply because He loves and values them. Jesus then makes the point that we as people are of much greater value to God than His birds or flowers. Thus Jesus is teaching that God makes basic provision for our life just because He loves us! We could call this “Sparrow Faith” because sparrows don’t worry about where their next meal is coming from, they know who their Source is!
Without a foundation of Sparrow Faith, i.e. a basic trust that God will provide for our needs because He loves us, subsequent biblical financial principles eg sowing and reaping, are easily distorted by mammon and used to confuse people. Sowing and reaping is a correct biblical principle, but it is not to be used to get our needs met. Using it this way nullifies God’s grace and makes the meeting of our necessities dependent upon our works, not God’s love.
Think about your own children or if you don’t have any, think about children growing up in a loving home environment. Do they spend their time worrying about whether or not their parents are going to provide them with their next meal? Do they worry that if they don’t perform their parents stop providing their needs? No of course not. They have no doubt there will be food on the table at meal time, and that it will be provided for by their parents. In fact they usually have no fear of lack of provision at all. It may not be the food or clothes they think they need or want, but they live with no fear of starvation or lack. So how come our kids have more faith in us than we do in our Heavenly Father who is the Awesome Almighty God, Jehovah Jireh – The God who provides?
Sparrow Faith is an absolute trust, confidence and leaning of our entire personality on the fact that God loves us and makes provision for us. The provision we now receive must be understood in the context of Sparrow Faith as a gift from God, not as something due to us. If we work for 40 hours a week for an employer, Sparrow Faith says we are working unto God, not unto man. The money we receive from our employment is not our due from the employer, but rather it is provision made available to us as a gift from our gracious Heavenly Father who loves us. This makes God our source and our employer or business merely the delegated channel through which our provision comes.
With Sparrow faith, if we hear the economy is in trouble or our company is downsizing and we may lose our jobs, our hearts have no need to be paralysed with a fear of lack of provision, because our employer or business is not our source. Our Source has not changed, God’s love for us has not changed and so our provision is secure. God may simply use a different channel through which to provide for our necessities. Many people expect this provision must come in the form of money, but this is not always true. God could provide us a house, a car, food, an airplane, any item necessary to fulfil our calling. Mammon continually promotes the message that the power for life is in money. Now God provided food for Elijah, food, clothing and housing for Mephibosheth and food for 5,000 people through Jesus, all without money.
As we move into this understanding of God as our Source we become managers of wealth and/or money, which comes to us by grace from our Heavenly Father.
Once we recognise God is our Source, money no longer controls our lives.
So when God speaks to us to give an offering, we no longer see it as our money which we worked hard to get, the purchasing power of which I am now relinquishing, at great sacrifice to myself. No! We are managers over a small portion of God’s resources over which God requires us to steward.
Because our personal provision is already secure in His Love, our provision is NOT at stake when He asks us to direct some of His resources into a particular purpose in His Kingdom.
We are no longer bound to pray to our chequebook when an offering is made “Oh dear chequebook, how much is in you? How much can I give?” But rather we are free to pray to the Living God to find out what He wants done with His resources.
When Sparrow Faith is NOT in place in our lives, we will not see money as a tool with which to serve God (through giving and receiving), but rather only the purchasing power of the money in exchange for goods and services which we need (buying and selling).
May God richly bless you,
For more in depth reading on this subject I highly recommend the book Wealth, Riches & Money by Craig Hill and Earl Pitts.
This series is designed to build your faith in God as your Provider and to enable you to release His full abundance into your life. If you have a testimony of God’s provision as a result of applying the principles from this ministry please share it with us (and let us know if we can share it with others). If this article has helped you, please consider praying for me and this ministry. Thanks and God Bless, Richard B-P.
This article is provided for educational and edificational purposes only. It does not constitute and is not a substitute for professional advice. If you require financial advice or assistance please contact a suitable professional adviser.