It’s not so much what we have as who we are in God’s image that leads to financial security.
I knew a family years ago who worked hard, were bold and inventive, and made a small fortune through a business they created. Then, the economic situation in their country changed drastically, and they lost nearly everything. But through more boldness and great effort, they shifted what they did, built up a different business, and did well economically. But again, through a different circumstance and through no fault of their own, the business dried up. So they went back to basics and built up a third business, which has lasted.
The men in this family were the ones who built up these businesses. But it was the mom, who was also the grandmother, who had the spiritual vision needed. Her practice when times were good or when times were not so good was the same: She took all things to God in prayer.
She had the conviction that it was not what that family had in terms of material goods or property or bonds or stocks that provided them with security. Instead, their security came from knowing that they were children of God.
Whether our own savings are large or small or nonexistent, the basis of our security is the same. Whether we can barely pay our rent or we own a mansion, God sees us each in the same secure and faultless way. Whether our income is tiny or huge, we still have the same status with God as His own beloved child, for whom He does and will always care and provide.
We can always refuse to be fooled by our own economic situation – be it plentiful or lacking – and instead be intent on learning more about who we are as God’s own heir. This can and should lead to better days financially.
I love an experience recorded in the Bible in this respect. In time of a dearth, Isaac, the son of Abraham, moved his family to a place that God told him of. It was a place called Gerar. Security and well-being in those days often equated to finding water. So Isaac dug and found water. But the herdsmen of that area forced out Isaac and presumably took the water for themselves. Isaac did not react. He moved on and dug again and found more water. Again, the local herdsmen pushed Isaac out. And again, he moved on, dug again, and again found abundant water. This time there was no attack, and Isaac and his family stayed. They identified their new place with the beautiful name “Rehoboth.” “For now the Lord hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land” (Genesis 26:22).
Can’t we view the “herdsmen” of our experience as like the rough-and-tumble economic factors and conditions that we face in our times. If we place our total reliance and attention on the surface economy, we may always end up with dry wells. But if we look steadfastly to God as our Rock, we will find peace and also a place where we can contribute and earn in a gainful way.
The goal of our prayer to understand more clearly who we are as God’s own loved child is never financial. The work of study and prayer, done in an instant, but continuing over time, results in a more able you and me in terms of what our resources really are and what we are capable of. This will lead directly to a more sure supply for our own and our family’s needs. And we will cease to be concerned that our Father-Mother’s dear, daily sufficiency will not reach us somehow, or will leave us out. It will not. And we will see that clearly as we see ourselves clearly in God’s image and likeness.
Looking to God always signals our purpose to live as God’s own, well-loved offspring. This is the rightful starting point to feeling and actually knowing financial security, regardless of our economic circumstances. Trying to build financial success and security on top of a loose and scattered notion of who we are is a little like trying to build a secure home on the sand.
Another quotation that I love in this respect is from Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science: “Happiness consists in being and in doing good; only what God gives, and what we give ourselves and others through His tenure, confers happiness: conscious worth satisfies the hungry heart, and nothing else can” (“Message to The Mother Church for 1902,” p. 17).
We – who we are and the gifts God gives each one of us – are what’s in “His tenure.” As we work to understand this, the foundation of our being, then we begin to see the gifts that God has given us and how these gifts can be useful to ourselves and others. In truth, all God’s gifts to His children are much needed by Him to be fully expressed.
Of course, as we find our gifts, we have to work to understand them and develop them. But this is fulfilling work. Nothing can keep us from it. Who we are as the working, living, loving child of the living God gives us the basis for financial security. Learning more of our relationship to the “Great Giver,” we gain the wisdom, love, boldness, unselfishness, and spirituality to do wise things with both our talents and our money.
That powerful, secure feeling about ourselves that only God gives is priceless. It can be safe and growth-promoting under any economic circumstances.