My wife frequently quips, “God can’t steer a parked car.” If we are not willing to back up our belief with action, God’s direction doesn’t mean much. Stewardship becomes real when it permeates our actions. Faith requires action.
What is faith? What action does it yield? And, how does “faith-action” relate to money?
Hebrews 11 gives two verses that help to clarify what faith IS. They are: “Now faith is the assurance of things hope for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) and, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
According to these verses, faith is necessary to please God. Also, having faith means believing in God’s existence AND His goodness. Finally, having faith means that I am seeking God and that I live with a heart bent toward an eternal reality rather than an earthly reality.
If faith believes in God and His goodness with a seeking heart and an eye towards eternity, how do I implement that faith with action?
In Scripture, “faith-action” looks one of two ways. First of all, there is the example of the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. She pursued Jesus and touched His cloak, because she thought, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” (Mark 5:28) This faith was an initiating faith borne out of a belief in God’s power. There are many stories of such initiating faith in Scripture, but in every case, the people act because they believe in God’s character and His goodness. Having this type of faith means we take God at His word and believe Him to be true in a particular instance.
The second type of “faith-action” in Scripture is highlighted by the many, many Old Testament references to men and women who were “faithful.” People such as Noah or David or Moses or the prophets woke up every morning determined to continue to live with a seeking heart and an eternal eye. Faithfulness is a daily, “feet to the floor”, “hands to the plow” sort of action.
So, how does faith apply to our financial decisions? I believe that there are times that God calls us into an unknown place or into a bold decision based on His calling and our understanding of His character. We may feel led to give very generously, to pay off debt boldly, or to downsize dramatically. However, there are many more times when God asks us to live faithfully. He wants us to live with a heart and eye towards Him and His kingdom. This might look more like saving dependably, paying cash consistently, budgeting carefully, or communicating with our spouse honestly.
In either case, our stewardship responsibility depends heavily on our measure of faith. When this journey becomes difficult or when you become afraid, I encourage you to remember the words of Jesus when He said, “’Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?’ Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.” (Matthew 8:26)
*All Scripture references are from the ESV