This is a question I’ve worried about more times than I can count. No matter how often I’ve seen God meet my needs in the past, I can still wrestle with fear about the future.
And the truth is no amount of money solves this fear. It’s present among the rich and the poor. We all feel that what’s here today could be gone tomorrow. We instinctively know that money can sprout wings and fly away.
So what should we do?
Worry or Work?
A few months ago, I had coffee with a friend who has built a successful career in business. But we got together because his future at his company looks uncertain and he was wrestling with what if his good income goes away. Will God actually provide for him?
I have two other friends, both good businessmen, who feel a calling to pursue ministry roles. The one thing holding them back is fear about money. They’ve built good lifestyles for their families and don’t want lose them.
Worry is our natural response. We lie in bed awake, our minds running to and fro, trying to figure out a way to make it work, a way to be okay.
Work is the world’s advice. Hustle, scrap, get up early, and work late. The world says you can outwork, outsmart, out-save, and out-invest the insecurity of money. And when you do you’ll be set up for life with no more worries.
But God’s answer is very different than worry or work.
The Answer To Insecurity
First, God actually affirms the insecurity of money. In Proverbs 23:4-5 we read, “Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven.”
In 1 Timothy 6:17 we read, “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches.” Even when you have money, you can’t count on it. Moth and rust destroy. Thieves break in and steal. Tax laws change. Medical emergencies come up unexpectedly. Wealth is so uncertain.
Similarly, Jesus told a story about a rich farmer who was so successful he built bigger barns to store all of his grain and goods, thinking to himself, “You have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” The farmer felt that he had finally found security. But in the end, God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” (Luke 12:20)
The answer to the insecurity of money is not storing up, it’s seeking first.
Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
God’s provision is promised if we’re seeking first his kingdom. What we’ll eat, drink, and wear is not our responsibility, but God’s. Several hundred years ago Jonathan Edwards said this so well. He wrote,
“If you do not selfishly seek your own, but do seek the things that are Jesus Christ’s, and the things of your fellow human beings, then God will make your interest and happiness his own charge, and he is infinitely more able to provide for and promote it than you are. The resources of the universe move at his bidding, and he can easily command them to subserve your welfare.”
God’s way is that we will be taken care of not by our worry or our work but by our Father who provides for us as we seek his kingdom.
A Better Question
As my friend and I talked that day about the uncertainty of his job and what he should do next, the main thought we wrestled with was: How could this next chapter of life be more aimed at the bull’s-eye of eternity? Instead of simply securing a new job with a good salary, how might he increasingly seek first the kingdom of God?
And this is the question for all of us to focus on. For those of us who have put our faith in Jesus Christ, we are children of God. We have a Father in heaven who knows what we need and he invites us to lay aside the worries of money and put our best effort into seeking first his kingdom.
The question to be concerned with is not “Will God provide for my future?” but “How can I seek first his kingdom?”