When Financial Security Threatens Our Trust in God

“We can trust Him too little, but we cannot trust God too much.” – C.T. Studd

I have been reading a biography about C.T. Studd recently and am blown away by his conviction and passion. Studd was a missionary to China, India, and Africa in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Before going on the mission field, he had gained a lot of fame as one of the best cricket players in the world. He was also very wealthy. Notwithstanding his wealth and fame, he left it all to spread the good news of Jesus Christ in faraway places.

Before leaving for China, he gave away everything he owned. He became poor to create an absolute dependence on God. After returning to England from China and India, Studd felt called to go to Africa. He was in poor health and was told that the journey and conditions in Africa would kill him. His church, friends, doctors, and family tried to convince him not to go. Still, he felt God calling him to Africa and so he went.

Can you feel the tension that must have existed for C.T. Studd? Though many tried to dissuade him along the way, he put God’s glory ahead of everything. He was daring and risky. Some probably even say he was foolish. But what we cannot say is that he did not trust God.

Working in a ministry that helps people learn to manage their money wisely, my greatest fear is that I will point people toward placing their hope and trust in money instead of God. This becomes especially challenging when helping people think through the question of how they should provide for their family. The problem is that we tend to think that providing well for our families means giving them more things and more safety nets. What if provision for our families means something entirely different? What if it means providing them with a trust in God as their provider? What if it means putting them in situations where they are utterly dependent on God? What if it means putting them in danger?

Is this foolishness? Is it foolish to trust God too much? Are we being reckless if we take our families to Syria to reach the lost? How do we balance our desire to protect with our desire to trust God? I believe more and more each day that blindly accepting my comfortable, safe, suburban mindset is utter foolishness. Why would I want my kids growing up without the need to trust God?

Selling all I have or moving to a dangerous country are not the only ways I can learn trust God. I can learn to trust God by faithfully witnessing to my neighbors and helping those in need. I can learn to trust God by boldly living a life of radical generosity. I can learn to trust God by walking into the darkness of the world to shine His light. What I cannot do is be content with my comfortable lifestyle and never venture beyond my doors to demonstrate God’s love for others.

I don’t know what God is calling you to do, but I do know He wants you to learn to trust Him. That may require you doing dangerous and difficult things. It may require you selling all you have and giving to the poor. It may require you knocking on your neighbor’s door to share the truth about Jesus with them. I don’t know what it will take for you to learn to trust God, but I know that I don’t want to get to the end of my life and say that I trusted God too little. If my money or money management is a barrier to that trust, then I need to change what I am doing. Whatever it takes to learn to trust in God is exactly the best thing for me to do financially.

C.T. Studd’s life was not easy. He only saw his wife for one day over the final 13 years of her life. He gave much, knowing that everything in his life was loss when compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus. He lived hard for God and God honored him by always providing enough for him to live on and more than enough of Himself. He did not trust God too little.