For several years I have attended a weekly Bible study in person. I now attend online. I admit it’s not the same. Yet, it’s still good to connect with these friends and fellow believers. We are all adjusting to the changes brought on by COVID 19, but of course, we hope things will soon return to “normal”.
When things are “normal”, life is more certain and certainty gives us confidence in our ability to handle what the future may hold. But when our “normal” is disrupted, as COVID 19 has done, our confidence can be eroded, which can create worry and fear. And when jobs are lost and investments and financial reserves are impacted, that fear can be heightened.
Of course our financial resources are important to all of us. In fact, Biblical stewardship instructs us to manage our financial affairs well. In times like this, managing our financial affairs may require us to make adjustments, because the future is uncertain.
But, does our certainty about the future rest solely upon our financial resources?
In the Bible study mentioned above, we were challenged to consider if we had placed our confidence in the future on our financial resources, effectively making those financial resources an idol. It was a tough question. The leader went on to explain that anytime we rely upon anything rather than God, it risks becoming an idol.
This is perhaps an especially poignant question in light of the uncertainty and economic impact brought on by the COVID 19 crisis. The last time the world was faced with a virus as severe as COVID 19 was when the Spanish Flu hit in 1918 - a time before most of us were born.
My great uncle (who I never knew) died from that virus. My great aunt (who I did know) also suffered from that virus, but survived. She spoke of being too ill even to attend her husband’s funeral.
Although she survived the Spanish Flu, her life would go on to be filled with tragedy. In fact, she suffered more personal tragedy than anyone I’ve ever known. As noted, her first husband died from the Spanish Flu. Then, her only child, a son by that husband, was killed a few years later at the age of 10 in a car accident.
She remarried but her second husband died in his 40’s. She remained single for several years but then married a third time. This husband lived into his early 80’s. She went on to live to 97. But all told, she had lost three husbands and her only child. Throughout life, the certainty of her future was disrupted by
Yet, this dear, sweet aunt who was only 4’11”, was always cheerful. She always had a smile on her face. One time I asked her “Aunt Ethyl - you are one of the most joyful people I’ve ever known, yet you have suffered so much tragedy. What’s your secret?”
Her answer was simple: “Jesus. I trust in Jesus. He is my rock.” She then quoted the old hymn “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” The hymn is in reference to Matthew 7. I’ll never forget that moment.
Times like we are now facing are confusing, and our certainty about the future has been disrupted.
Where is God in all of this turmoil? Has He turned His back on us? No, but perhaps He is trying to get our attention. He does want us to turn to Him and realize that our hope and trust for the future
must be in Him and only in Him. Money and wealth are important - but do we rely upon them for our certainty and hope for the future? Have we inadvertently made money and wealth an idol?
I heard this week on a secular radio station that since the onset of COVID 19, Google searches for prayer have skyrocketed. It took me by surprise - especially hearing that on a secular station. But people are searching, because money and wealth cannot fix what we are facing.
In times of uncertainty, His Word is certain. He must be the foundation for our strength and comfort and peace. He must be our “Rock”.
Psalm 18:1-3 tells us:
“I love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I trust and take refuge and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised.”
So, what do we rely upon in these challenging and uncertain times? Yes - we have a responsibility to be good stewards of our financial resources: to manage well what God has provided and entrusted to
us - which includes continued support of this ministry.
But our faith and confidence in the future must be in Christ and in Him alone - not in the “sinking sand” of financial resources.
In Matthew 6, Christ tells us not to worry or be anxious about tomorrow. The Lord knows our needs and He promises to meet those needs. But sometimes the way He meets those needs is through the generosity of others who are willing to give to help others in need. In fact, an important part of our stewardship responsibility is sharing with those in need (Hebrews 13: 16).
Are you willing to share with those in need? If you’re looking for ways to help, but not sure how, please call the church at (239)596-8600 x254. We can help you help those who need help.
Remember, Christ must be our rock. Everything else is sinking sand.
Director of Stewardship Development