“Just put your trust in God.”
“You know, just let go, and let God.”
“You’re just going to have to trust God on that one, sweetie.”
If you’ve spent any time at all in or around church, you’ve probably heard a statement like this. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? You know, just “trust.” What could be so tough about that? It’s just one five-letter word. Do it. Done. Next.
Of course, we all know trust doesn’t work like that. You don’t “just trust.” Trust is earned. It grows. It builds. In a moment, it can be broken. And then, it needs to be rebuilt.
Think of any human that you trust. How did that trust develop? What were the steps? I didn’t immediately trust the woman I married. We dated. I put out a little vulnerability and then she accepted me and did the same. At each step, I risked a little more. I gave a little more of my true self. Like the first time I farted in front of her. Or cried. And each time I did, I remembered all those past places where she had accepted me, so I was able to give (and risk) even more. That path ends in intimacy, and it’s built on trust.
The same is true of a relationship with God, but I think the stakes are even higher. With God, we’re often looking for more than just acceptance. We’re also looking for things like provision, or security, or meaning, or happiness. That’s where money comes into play.
Whoa, hold on. This is an article about money? I thought this was a love and acceptance article. Hard left turn, bro.
Relax, stay with me.
Money is a touchy subject. Especially money and church. But the reality is that all of those things that we might say we hope to trust God with—provision, security, meaning, happiness—if we’re honest, those are the places where our trust is actually in our money.
Money provides. Money secures. Money gives my life meaning and can buy my happiness. You might even say if you have money you don’t really need God. I think maybe God knows this. Which might be why he invented a little thing called, “The Tithe.” It’s like He was saying: “You have to trust me with the one thing you think offers you what only I can truly provide.”
I’ll tell you my story, and maybe this will make more sense.
I go to a big church. I love it dearly. That’s a whole other article. At one point, my girlfriend (now wife) and I were asked to commit to a building campaign. She looked at me and said a number that I thought was crazy. Looking back, it wasn’t a huge number, but I was still in college and made exactly zero dollars. Guess what? We went for it, and we fulfilled that commitment. Trust points scored.
Later that same church did another campaign. And then another. Each time, we committed larger and larger amounts. Each time, I looked at the commitment number and thought we were out of our minds. I mean, a person has to eat! Each time (and I know, it sounds cliche), God provided. Trust. Building.
Later, our giving leveled off. I was making more, but I wasn’t “tithing.” Tithing means giving 10% of your gross income to your local church. If you know anything about finance stuff (which I barely do), “gross” and “net” are not the same number. I was convicted we needed to make that change. Not out of some weird religious obligation, but out of love and trust in the God I now knew would provide.
And here’s where we get to “How to Trust God.”
All of those giving steps were my wife and I leaning forward, risking more. At every step, I can look back and see that God not only provided for us at that time, but he went way above and beyond providing.
I don’t have mysterious accounts that are now full. I don’t have a boat, motorcycle, or even a car I like. But I have a life that I love. Healthy kids. An abundance of friendships. Travel, literally, around the world. Experiences I could never have imagined.
Trust is about stepping into the unknown. Slowly at first, and then more over time. If you want to “trust God,” try trusting him with your money. It’s in that place where I’ve most experienced God as a true provider and a good father. The intimacy continues to grow.