I thought our future plans sounded wonderful. In theory, they were, because here I was, married for just one month and working right by my dreamy husband’s side helping him make a living. Biblically speaking, our decisions lined up with the Word of God and it seemed like the best, God-fearing path for our future. That is, until my romanticism and theology collided with the real world of being self-employed where you had to create work for yourself…Every. Single. Day!
Here’s what I said to my new groom about my new reality:
“How on earth do you live like this?” That was code for: I freaked out!
“How do you pay bills and what do you have to rely on? And how much money do you know you’ll make? How do you plan anything?”
Can you say Control Freak? That’s what I was. I chuckle now when I hear how other women call themselves that. I totally get it! Yes, I was one, but the Lord, in His precious ways took a chisel to me and started chipping those controlling issues away. Of course I still revert back to my old ways from time to time, kinda like a dog returning to it’s vomit like the Scriptures say. But looking back over all those years, that little young bride’s faith in Christ grew tremendously! My faith increased greatly over the next several years and it was all because I had to learn how to rely on the Lord for our finances.
The Lord even blessed our business beyond anything that we could’ve ever imagined and He did so for many, many years. But then we entered a time in our life that was like a drought where the business dried up. I’d remind my husband, who felt like a failure at the time, that there was a famine in the land.
When you live through a financial drought, no amount of saving, rationing, and frugality can increase your finances, because saving money and producing money doesn’t share the same attributes.
The life of a farmer can shed some light on the matters of financial drought or increase. He can do everything in his might to produce a great crop. Choose the best field, till the soil, fertilize it, and plant the best seeds possible, but if there is no water, then the crops can’t grow. And if there’s no crops, there’s no source of income for his family. All he can do is hope and pray that the Lord will send rain so there’s an increase to his labor. Even though my husband is not a farmer, this premise still applied to us.
As we have journeyed this financially-dry path, the Lord has allowed us to see His hand and His ways and it is my hope to share with you what Christ has shared with us.
So if you missed my first post called, Got Financial Concerns in Your Life?, you can read it here.
Now today’s post is for you if…
- You feel anxious and fearful about your financial situation or future.
I encourage you to read the following passage about the Prophet Elijah and his financial struggles. Even though the passage is a bit long, I know it’ll minister to you as we dig deeper into this story.
Now Elijah, who was from Tishbe in Gilead, told King Ahab, “As surely as the LORD, the God of Israel, lives—the God I serve—there will be no dew or rain during the next few years until I give the word!” Then the LORD said to Elijah, “Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River. Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.” So Elijah did as the LORD told him and camped beside Kerith Brook, east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he drank from the brook. But after a while the brook dried up, for there was no rainfall anywhere in the land. Then the LORD said to Elijah, “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you. “So he went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.”But she said, “I swear by the LORD your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.” But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son.For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the LORD sends rain and the crops grow again!” So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days. There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the LORD had promised through Elijah. 1 Kings 17:1-16 (NLT)
So who brought the rain? God.
Who provided the ravens and brook? God.
Who provided the meat and water? God.
Next the Lord sent Elijah to see a widow to provide for him. Now that sounds kinda absurd, doesn’t it? I know of one widow today and let’s just say I don’t find her to be so well off financially that she’s able to provide for someone other than her family. But hey, Elijah listened to the Lord and he went to Zarephath.
Now here’s something I want you to see.
The town of Zarephath is just a handful of miles outside Sidon, which was the stronghold of Baal, a place of pagan worship. This is were the widow was from. And many widows back then were exceptionally poor because they had few options of income being that they were surrounded by the industry of agriculture.
Here’s my point. Elijah is a prophet, a man of God. He’s trusting in the Lord and he’s given his whole life over to do the Lord’s will and proclaim His name. But he’s hungry and thirsty. I would imagine he feels a little forsaken and defeated in the process, but that’s just my own opinion. So what does God do? He tells Elijah to go to a city and seek out a poor widow who comes from a place of pagan worship. Now read that again and let it sink in. He tells him to seek out a poor widow who comes from a city of pagan worship! Hmm, sounds like a great plan, doesn’t it? Please know I wrote that with complete sarcasm.
I say all of this because having faith does not always line up with our logic.
Now let’s switch places. Let’s take a look at the widow.
Some strange man comes up to her and asks her to give him water and food. We know the story. All she’s got left is enough food for just her and her boy. But what does the woman do?
She tells Elijah, “As the LORD your God lives (1 Kings 17:12)….
This is a profound statement and here’s why:
She’s professing that she does not have the same biblical heritage as Elijah, (she’s not a Jew), BUT she has belief in his God. She is a new convert, a new believer, if you will. And she’s poor, a single mother, a widow and she’s about to die because of starvation. The woman needed the One True God, not Baal, to do a miracle in her life.
So here’s this man of God asking for help. Not only is he asking for her help, but he’s asking her to give him her last meal!
Ponder that scene for just a moment. How would you respond? Would you give it to him? Of course it would take a great amount of faith for you to do so, just like it did for the widow of Zarephath. I don’t think she responded out of logic or how the ways of the world would have told her to do so. No, that woman responded in faith!
Often times we go through life just looking at our world’s system of money rather than looking at our situation through the Bible. When we do this it causes much worry and grief for the Believer when we’re dealing with our financial concerns. Bottom line: We get caught up in the ways of this world, rather than the ways of the Lord.
Am I saying it’s wrong to work or save, or plan or budget? No. I’m not saying any of those things.
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:8
The Bible also talks about us toiling the ground (Geneis 3:17) and not being lazy (Proverbs 21:25).
Should we save money and be frugal? Of course. I believe those two things are great disciplines to have and since it is the Lord who has given us the ability to produce wealth, then I believe He has not only entrusted us with His resources, but He desires that we be good stewards of them as well.
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 forefathers, as it is today. Deut. 8:18
We do our part and work as best we can and let the Lord bring the increase.
But as God’s kids we need to stop being fearful of our future. The world has conditioned us to put our faith in our finances, jobs, and abilities rather than in the Lord.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Tim. 1:7 NLT
Let me leave you with these words encouragement….
When you’re not living by faith, you miss out on God’s glory!
So, friend, is your faith being challenged like Elijah’s and the widow’s?
I’m linking up with: Unveiled Wife