Faith Amid Change

As with all our subject the starting line begins with our thinking and therefore it is essential to establish a proper mindset toward shifts in economic status. With the right mindset the practical steps now come into play. Having unlearned discontentment and relearned contentment how do you move forward into, and hopefully through, this season of change.

For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Hebrews 13:14-16

One of the things we all become vulnerable to when negative lifestyle changes happen is being consumed by the change and what we can do to change things back. Having it fixed in our minds that what we had and when it may return is in the Lord’s hands, we need to be careful about being fixated on the cause or the cure to the point of ignoring normal Christian thinking and practices. Most of us have heard of the widow In Mark 12 who gave her two copper coins, equaling less than half a penny together, to the temple treasury and Jesus commended this woman’s gift above those who gave out of their abundance. He said to His watching disciples, this women put in more than all the others for they gave little out of their plenty and she gave all she had. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to talk about tithing.) The story makes a point though: Don’t allow a financial downturn to turn into a spiritual one. Keep doing the things we are supposed to do as Christians. Keep praising God and giving thanks, keep doing good things and being generous, even though that has a new scale by which it is measured for you. There is a man in our church who had gone through as bad a situation as I have ever seen as it relates to finding work. Over three years he searched for a job, during which time his wife was ill and his daughter was diagnosed with cancer, yet I would see him each week and ask him how he was doing and what he said was so clearly real and from his heart it always encouraged me. He didn’t repeat the same thing each week but he always said something positive about the goodness of God and His faithfulness. He was always serving and he and his wife were at our prayer nights and when needs arose they would do good and share even while in great need themselves. It was beautiful to see and hear. There was a second blessing in this as well as many who became aware of their situation practiced doing good and sharing with them and the body, the church was edified!

This brings up a point that needs to be said in our day where many are taught that faith can bring a financial windfall. This is not only false it is dangerous and can lead to a crisis in faith when things get tough. It is true that God does bless His people materially but that is based on His will not our faith. Yes, He does bless our efforts and the law of sowing and reaping applies even in the realm of hard work and rewards. However, if we view material things as the primary means of God’s blessing us then when and economic downturn takes place and Unforeseen Circumstances occur that change you financial status then we are left with this errant conclusion; If faith brought you financial blessing then a lapse of faith must have brought the downturn. This is a grievous error as there are many cases where people have had their faith increased by times of trial and financial struggle and a lapse of faith would hardly describe their spiritual condition. I say this because financial downturns causing spiritual ones is a two pronged concern. There is a danger of becoming consumed by the “why” of the situation and doubting or questioning the goodness of God, or having a spiritual downturn because of what someone heard or learned about financial blessings that wasn’t true. I have told the church on many occasions that faith is not the ability to actualize your own lifestyle of the rich and famous. Faith is trusting in proven truth, taking the word of God as absolute truth and applying it to everyday living.

This would include trusting through trials, being faithful through trials and not seeing trials as lapses of faith or divine discipline and certainly not of thinking God has forgotten or forsaken you because the bank account looks different than it used to.

Excerpt from “Dancing With the Scars” now available on Amazon.

Barry Stagner