Trust God AND Live Wisely

I received a heated voice mail from a good friend the other day.  Something that I wrote on the blog got on his nerves.
My first reaction was "Someone reads my blog other than my mom?"

After that, I got to thinking.  My friend's reaction had to do with some of my comments about saving for the future.  Actually, not so much the comments (since I still haven't landed on what I think the Bible has to say about that), but about some of the questions I'm asking.

There's a tension between our faith in a God who provides and our obedience to the God who asks us to live wisely. 

It's not an either/or tension.  It's not trust God or live wisely.  Doing both should be an option.

But sometimes, in the name of doing one, we sacrifice the other.  And this is what my buddy was pushing me about.  He felt I was shortchanging the "live wisely" element of our response to God.  Sometimes the best expression of trust is to live the wise life.  Let me illustrate...

When my computer died last summer, it was a dramatic death.  A week before camp, no hope for recovery.  I was really tempted to run out and buy a new laptop before camp.  We didn't really have the money, but I could have financed it and I really felt like I needed a computer.  The Bible says that the borrower is slave to the lender (very economically naive, but I like it).  So, in an attempt to trust God, I held off from buying the computer.  No big deal.

The path of wisdom is always the path of trust.  Saving for the future can be a radical, counter-cultural expression of trust in God's provision.  It's the trusting person who puts a portion of a paycheck away every month rather than blowing it on the latest fad or fashion, trusting society or technology to satisfy the eternal internal itch to belong. 

We need to both trust God AND live wisely.

Good call, my friend.  Good call.

1 comment:

  1. Steve, I agree with you and your friend on the need for a both/and approach to saving and financial stewardship. I'd like to think that when it comes to finances, I practice both risk-taking faith and wise planning based on biblical principles.

    One problem in addressing this issue in our culture (indeed, among American Christians) is that we see a lot of risky non-stewardship (characterized by consumer debt and lack of savings) contrasted with a smaller number of folks who spend wisely and save diligently for the future, and perhaps even give charitably. But then there is a third, even smaller group of disciples who take pretty big risks in a different way - by moving beyond thrift and worldly financial wisdom to practice extravagant, counter-cultural generosity. I think this third option is the direction that Scripture calls us to pursue with as much faith as we've been granted.

    So I am all for calling Christians to steward their finances according to biblical principles and even with worldly wisdom (cf. Lk 16:8-9). My only concern is that "living wisely," even with a measure of generosity, must not become our final goal - it's a means, a step toward extravagant generosity. When "living wisely" ceases to point us toward greater and greater sharing of our resources for the Kingdom of God, it has ceased to be truly wise living.