Recently when I sent out my monthly invoices for work I’d completed, one of my customers e-mailed me. She was very upset. She told me how tight her cash flow was and that she wasn’t sure she’d have the funds to pay. I told her not to worry about paying me right away, and that things would work out.
I find it helpful to think that what we pay others for a job is an expression of gratitude, and these expressions can take different forms. Sometimes I trade or barter services in order to not exchange cash or credit. I swap baby-sitting with a friend, saving both of us the expense of a sitter. I’ve also bartered jewelry that I make in exchange for a haircut.
Most of us have been taught to outline how our finances are supposed to meet our needs. But if things don’t work out that way, there’s the possibility of failure. A more flexible way of meeting needs has grown out of the spiritual study I do that helps me rely on God’s guidance.
Both the Bible and “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy, point toward God as the ultimate resource. One important message is that if we trust God and wait for His direction, He will always provide what we actually need, and in the way that meets the need.
So we don’t have to hoard or worry. Mrs. Eddy, who founded the Monitor, made this helpful observation: “Giving does not impoverish us in the service of our Maker, neither does withholding enrich us” (Science and Health, p. 79).
Every day we employ His love, patience, grace, wisdom, integrity, and all the qualities of goodness. How we serve God and others constitutes our employment. Our income comes from God. It’s not outlined in a paycheck; it comes from God’s infinite resources, although it may not always show up in the form we expect. And there may be times when we need to be steadfast and deeply trust in His love and provision for us.
Around the same time that customer called me, a family member asked me to help him with some work. I willingly agreed to help him, with no expectation of payment. I wanted to help him, and in doing so, I was employing selflessness, love, and harmony. A week after the work was completed, I received a check. He was grateful for the work and the support. This check was not in my budget, my billing plan, or outline of where my income was supposed to come from, but I felt provided for by God, and my needs were met.
The next day, I went shopping with my mother-in-law to purchase a mother-of-the-bride dress for her daughter’s upcoming wedding. While shopping, we had a wonderful time and enjoyed a full day of companionship. She was so grateful for my help that she purchased my dresses for both the rehearsal dinner and the wedding. The “income” for this day was endless. It was filled with love, support, good food, laughter, and a gift that was gratefully given and received. The cost of the dresses hadn’t been in my budget, and as it turned out, was an expense I didn’t have to incur.
The Bible says: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:5, 6).
We are taught to budget, outline, and forecast where our supply will come from – and these are all practical steps for good financial management. But we shouldn’t leave God’s provision out of the picture. When we put our trust in God, and don’t focus all our thoughts on outlining how things should happen, we’re abundantly supplied with all we need.