“The Magic Money Tree” has been much discussed over the last few months, Jeremy Corbyn have one growing in his allotment to pay for the things he was offering (although he did provide a costed manifesto unlike the Conservatives!)
More recently we have discovered that perhaps the magic money tree only works in Northern Ireland, but can’t be spent on nurses, fire-fighters and teachers.
It made me wonder do as Christians we believe in a magic money tree?
As I thought about this further, I began to think of the nature of God, a faithful God, a God that’s almighty, a God who cares for all he has made.
One of God’s names is “Jehovah Jira” -from where we get the word Giro from- which means “God will Provide”.
In a book “Dirty Glory”, there is a wonderful story of God’s Supernatural provision of miraculously appearing money to girl, Susanna Rychiger, due to fly to South Africa to help launch 24-7 Prayer.
(Pete Grieg writes) “Susanna was surprised by how many people -even Senior Church leaders- struggled to accommodate the notion that God could, or would, do this kind of miracle. “I discovered that lots of people believed God can make trees but not paper!” They believe the story where Jesus uses a fish as an ATM, because it is in the Bible, but doubt God would ever choose to do something remotely similar today. I think it is because Money is such a stronghold in our materialistic mind-sets” she says. “we worship money, we put our faith in it. If God can make money so easily, our currency gets devalued, our value system is under-mind; our idol comes tumbling down”.
Although God can make money supernaturally appear, it doesn’t seem to be something he does very often, rather his preferred method seems to be through the hearts and generosity of his people, through you and me.
So let us not scoff the idea that God can be trusted with our finances and day to day lives, the phrase that often is said is that “the last thing ever to get converted is a persons wallet”. Yet the Lordship of Christ calls us to give God control over our finances, as well as every other part of our lives.
As I thought of trusting God, I began to explore this further.
I have seen some Churches where fear has been paralysing and caused the finances to become a strong-hold, despite some lip-service to God’s ability to be faithful and provide, the words our empty.
And yet I have seen some recklessness with God’s provision too, with Churches splashing the cash in most unhelpful way, just have a flick through a vestments catalogue and you’ll be amazed at what people pay for various clerical bits and bobs, or look at the equipment some Churches rival the O2 for techy kit, and it makes me wonder about wise stewardship.
Also, I have noticed a “God’ll drop it into my lap” attitude that exist around things. Recently was talking about the funding for someone’s job and the Church prayed she’d get enough cash to carry on with the role -and that is great- but no one went writing funding bids or trying to raise money. God provides but sometimes we too have to play our part, a bit like the joke of someone praying to win the lottery week after week until one day they heard a voice from heaven and God said “meet me half way and buy a ticket”. Sometimes we are so spiritual that we don’t use our brains, gifts, skills and abilities that God has given us to go and raise the money that is already out there.
Often I have heard people saying about the absence of money as “a clear sign from the Lord”, which I think is flawed, because perhaps there are doors that God was calling you to push -God loves it to partner with us, and often when we deprive ourselves of these moments we loose the opportunity for blessing and testimony.
So, I believe we are called to be prayerful and obedient, taking steps of faith but also being wise stewards, pushing doors and not expecting God to drop everything we want into our lap, but rather seek it out in partnership with him.
So, God is able to provide, but perhaps, God is using money as a way of growing our discipleship with him.