That’s Not Your Money
Many people have “life” verses – a passage of Scripture that has been significant in their lives. Mine is from Proverbs 3:5-7, which says,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.”
I think the Lord really wants to continually remind me of these verses because He knows how much I need to walk in the truth they contain. Every new year, our family randomly selects a Scripture card to see how God will fulfill the truth in it in our lives in the new year, and almost every year I end up with Proverbs 3:5-7. In fact, this year we were doing a training at the beginning of January, and I passed a box of Scripture cards out to the students and told them to prayerfully select one for themselves. All the cards were taken by the time the box was returned to me, so I didn’t get to select one. At the end of the teaching session, I looked down and on the floor behind the pulpit was one Scripture card that had evidently fallen out of the box. I thought, “Ok! That’s going to be my Scripture for the year.” I picked it up, and sure enough, it was Proverbs 3:5-7! The Lord knows I need to be constantly reminded to trust Him and not myself.
Jesus has taught me the lesson of Proverbs 3:5-7 many times in my life. One very memorable time was many years ago. When I was a young pastor, I visited a pastor friend in his home. He was very excited as he showed me his new computer. Home computers were just coming out, and I had never seen one before. He showed me all the programs he had on it and all the things he could do with it. He had several Bibles on it. He had software that could keep the financial records of the church. Another program allowed him to have the contact information of all his church members. He could even write sermons and lessons on his computer. Suddenly, I had computer lust. I wanted one very badly. I asked him how much it cost. He told me it cost about $5,000 for the whole system and software. That was a lot of money, especially in those days!
Every day after that visit, I would pray and ask the Lord to give me $5,000 so I too could have a computer. I would reason with Him: “Lord,” I would say, “I, Your faithful servant, could serve You so much better if I had a computer. Look at all the things I could do for You and for the church!” I never told anyone that I was asking the Lord for $5,000 for a computer system. I didn’t even tell my wife.
Several months went by. I kept praying, believing that God would send me the $5,000 I needed. One day, a lady from the church came to my office. She opened her purse and said, “Pastor, you need a computer system to do your work. Here is $5,000 to buy one.” She drew an envelope out of her purse and reached out to give it to me. My heart leapt. Outwardly, I remained calm and dignified, but inside I was having a hallelujah party and dancing with Jesus on streets of gold! God had answered my prayers! I was going to get a computer!
As I reached out to take the envelope from her, the Lord spoke very clearly to me, “That’s not your money!”
I stopped dancing…
“Yes, Lord, I know it’s not my money. It’s Yours, and the computer will be Yours as well!”
He replied, “No, it’s not!”
I was very confused and troubled. As the lady left, I put the envelope in the top drawer of my desk. I wanted to run right out to the computer store, but I knew I couldn’t. I tried to work, but it was hard to concentrate, and every now and then I would slide the drawer open and look at the envelope. I was reasoning in my mind about this situation. I hadn’t told a single person about the $5,000 prayer request. This lady didn’t know I was praying for money for a computer, yet she brought me the exact amount I was asking the Lord for and told me it was for a computer. How could this not be the answer to my prayers? Yet I knew the voice of the Lord, and I knew He had told me that this money was not mine.
A couple of hours later, I received a telephone call from this lady’s husband. He was distraught. “Pastor, please pray for me. I had $5,000 in cash set aside to pay some bills for my business, and I can’t find the money anywhere!” I told him, “Don’t worry my son; we will pray, and the Lord will help you find the money!” I then prayed a great prayer of deep faith and assured him that the Lord had heard it and would answer my prayer for him. Shortly afterward, his wife rushed into my office. Now she was distraught. She looked around to see if I had already purchased the computer. I didn’t speak a word. I just smiled and opened my desk drawer and returned the $5,000 to her. She was, of course, very grateful and very relieved. I am sure her husband thought I was a great man of faith after she returned the money to him without telling him the true story of where it had gone.
Most of our troubles come because we fail to trust in the Lord with all our hearts. We lean on our own understanding of things, thinking we are wise and know what we should do. It looked like God had answered my prayer, and it would have been reasonable for me to purchase that computer. But inwardly, I knew it would have been wrong to do it. I knew I couldn’t lean on my own understanding of this situation and had to trust the Lord for what I couldn’t understand.
I thank God for the truth of Proverbs 3:5-7 and have endeavored to live my life by it. It is a core value of The Keystone Project as well. I am not wise enough to know what to do in most of the situations I face. But I can always trust in the Lord and acknowledge Him, knowing that as I do so, He will make my paths straight and direct my steps.
How about you? With the end of 2019 just a few days away, perhaps you would select Proverbs 3:5-7 as your Scripture passage for the new year. If so, you will see what great things God will do in your life as you trust in Him and acknowledge Him in all your ways! May you have much joy and many blessings throughout this holiday season and the coming new year.
ABOUT THE KEYSTONE PROJECT
The Keystone Project is a global missions network of churches and leaders committed to the fulfillment of the Great Commission in this generation.