Are you feeling the weight of financial struggles today?
According to a report by CBS News, seventy percent of Americans say they are struggling financially.1 That number varies depending on the source of course, but even the most conservative reporting from The Guardian has that number at forty percent of Americans in serious financial difficulty.2
If this describes your situation, you are not alone, and I am so sorry.
Financial struggles are unique in that they seem to threaten and affect almost every aspect of our lives. They can threaten our sense of safety and security, including the way we relate to God, ourselves, and others.
It won’t surprise you to know the Bible is anything but silent on the topic of money. “In the Gospels, no less than one out of ten verses (288 in all) deal directly with money.”3 Consider Proverbs 10:2-5 which says, “Ill-gotten gains do not profit anyone, but righteousness rescues from death. The LORD will not let the righteous go hungry, but he denies the wicked what they crave. Idle hands make one poor, but diligent hands bring riches. The son who gathers during summer is prudent; the son who sleeps during harvest is disgraceful.”
Those are strong words and probably hard to hear if you are feeling the weight of financial difficulty today. That said, this passage, along with many others in Scripture, provides us with a framework to navigate seasons of financial difficulty. Here are some helpful suggestions:
1. Get counsel.
Proverbs 11:14 says, “Without guidance, a people will fall, but with many counselors there is deliverance.”
Proverbs 23:12 says, “Apply yourself to discipline and listen to words of knowledge.”
Knowledgeable people can offer wise counsel to you in this season. Many churches employ stewardship pastors; if yours does not, reach out to one that does. Other ministries offer support. Consider reaching out to financial experts such as Dave Ramsey at ramseysolutions.com. They can also provide referrals.
Proverbs 3:9-10 says, “Honor the L ORD with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest; then your barns will be completely filled, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”
Tithing is part of God’s mysterious economy. Never wait until you can “afford it” to tithe. If it comes to you, a portion of it goes to God. You can trust Him in this.
3. Readjust your focus.
Like a master optometrist, Jesus skillfully adjusts our focus from the things of this world in Matthew 6:19-34. It is part of what is best known as the Sermon on the Mount—Jesus’s inaugural address and the heart of His teaching. In this passage, He tells us plainly that we cannot serve both God and money, that we should not worry about the material things of this world, and to seek Him first because He knows what we need and will provide.
Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Keep reading because what follows is the “cure for anxiety”!
Consider the wisdom of Proverbs 23:4-5 which says, “Don’t wear yourself out to get rich;
because you know better, stop! As soon as your eyes fly to it, it disappears, for it makes wings for itself and flies like an eagle to the sky.”
Paul gives practical counsel in Philippians 4:6-8 which says, “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things.”
If that wasn’t clear enough, Hebrews 13:5 says, “Keep your life free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for he himself has said, I will never leave you or abandon you.”
That is not to say that if you are struggling financially that you love money more than God! It is simply an invitation to readjust your focus.
4. Ask for help and accept it when it’s offered.
It’s very hard in our current culture to humble ourselves and ask for help. Men may be known for not asking for directions, but asking for help in general has no gender bias.
In appreciation of the support he received from others, the apostle Paul said to the believers in Philippi, “I know how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.”
A theme of generosity and of caring for one another (especially the alien, orphan, and widow) runs through every chapter of God’s story. This is how we are commanded to live.
Does your church have a care or benevolence department? Please ask for help. Are there community resources or services that would benefit you? Are there services your bank or mortgage lender might offer? A call to your creditors to set up a small but steady payment plan will relieve you of enormous amounts of stress. Please ask for help.
King Solomon, considered to be the wisest man who ever lived, had much to say about the pursuit of wealth in the book of Ecclesiastes. In gaining pleasure and possessions, he found only emptiness. In wealth, he found loneliness and a lack of satisfaction.
His conclusion is quite simple and beautiful, “When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is this: fear God and keep his commands, because this is for all humanity” (Ecc. 12:13).
It sounds a lot like Jesus’s encouragement to us in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” That is my prayer for us today.
Father, let our eyes be fixed on You alone. May we trust, believe, and lean on Your provision, Your wisdom, Your counsel, and Your comfort. Give us Your insight and understanding of what to do next. In Jesus’s name. Amen.
Kaye Hurta has a Masters Degree in counseling from Liberty University and is a crisis counselor for Women’s Events through Lifeway Christian Resources. Whether speaking, singing or listening, Kaye’s passion is to help others find intimacy with Christ and soul transformation through the living pages of His Word. “I was a wounded, lonely Midwest farm girl until the Divine Romancer swept me off my feet. I want to steward my story well so that others can find Him in their stories and be fully satisfied.” Kaye met and married her husband Chris in Austin, Texas in 1987. They have two daughters through the miracle of adoption, Madison and Cami. They live on Florida’s West Coast and are both on staff at Bayside Community Church. Kaye is also a contributing author for the Lifeway resource, Women Reaching Women in Crisis.
1. Aimee Picchi, “70% of Americans say they are struggling financially,” CBS News, November 14, 2019, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/70-americans-are-struggling-financially/.
2. Amanda Holpuch, “Serious financial problems afflict 40% of US households in recent months,” The Guardian, October 12, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/oct/12/us-households-financial-problems-medical-care-food.
3. Steven J. Cole, “Lesson 15: The Church and Money (Various Scriptures), Bible.org, August 9, 2017, https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-15-church-and-money-various-scriptures.