Do I Really Trust God to Take Care of Me?
by John & Sam Eldredge
Editor’s note: Killing Lions captures a long-running conversation that took place in weekly phone calls between John Eldredge and his eldest son Sam, 25, who sought counsel on a range of life questions. This excerpt is from the chapter on money.
SAM: I received a terrible phone call yesterday afternoon from the mechanic I’ve been working with to get my VW bug back on the road: “Looks like this is going to be more difficult than we thought.” Immediately I thought, How am I going to pay for this? But he was right. It needed some serious work. And now the cushion I thought I had in savings wasn’t enough to pay for it all, and it felt like the floor was falling out. It was a battle to stay focused on the fact that God will take care of me. The overwhelming sensation was: I’m sinking and no one is here to hold me up.
JOHN: This is what I meant when I called money a constant dose of reality. It forces us to wrestle with what we truly believe. Are you fundamentally on your own? Is it all up to you? I believe this is the heart behind the biblical idea of tithing. When you get that paycheck at the end of the month and the first thing you do is take 10 percent out to help others, you’re immediately faced with, Do I really trust God to take care of me?
That’s what Jesus was getting at in the whole lilies-of-the-field thing:
What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met (Matt. 6:31–33 msg).
The World says, “Chase money. Money is your security.” God says, “Chase me. I am your security.” When your mom and I married, we didn’t have two nickels to rub together. All our furniture was borrowed or given to us. We ate off of a folding card table your Grandma Jane loaned us—for ten years. We lived paycheck to paycheck, and those were some of the happiest years of our lives. We had a great group of friends, we loved our church, and we had a lot of fun. God took care of us. The Big Lie is that more money makes you happier. It’s just not true.
SAM: But if you don’t have any money, your life can be miserable.
JOHN: That is also true. Rather than “filthy lucre,” Scripture looks at money mostly as a blessing from God:
The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it. (Prov. 10:22)
Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life. (Prov. 22:4)
Here is the shining beauty of the kingdom. There is an “if ” to that promise that all things shall be given unto you: seek ye first the kingdom of God. God will provide for you if you are first seeking his kingdom, living for him.
Look—either we have God or we don’t. Either he is our ally, or we are on our own. What you believe about this affects everything else.
An excerpt from Killing Lions: A Guide through the Trials Young Men Face by John & Sam Eldredge ©2014. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.