To move away from anxiety about money, it helps to reflect on what money is and what money is not. Money is a gift from God, a blessing that he freely gives to his people. But money is not God. When we attribute good things in our lives to money and not to God, we are robbing God of the credit he deserves.
The story in Exodus illustrates our dangerous temptation to turn God’s gift into a god itself. In Exodus 12:36, God gives the Hebrew slaves favor with the Egyptians, so that on their way out of Egypt they take Egyptian gold with them. These riches are a gift from God to his people, a reminder of his love and power. Yet when the people worry that Moses is taking too long on Mount Sinai, they urge Aaron to use the gold to make a new god. The people feel more comfortable with a fake god they can make themselves than with the real God who demonstrated his love and power over and over again. It shows just how easy it is to confuse money with God, particularly when anxiety makes us forget the ways God has provided in the past.
Just a few chapters earlier, God had given the Hebrews an antidote to forgetting him, in the commandment to celebrate the Passover. In Exodus 13:3 Moses instructs the people to celebrate God’s faithfulness by abstaining from leavened bread for seven days. This is to remind them that God brought them out of Egypt and that he is sovereign over everything.
Sometimes we need a concrete reminder that God is the source of all good things. If you’re having anxiety about money, consider trying a simple fast. If you typically buy lunch every day, or coffee at a coffee shop, take a break for a week. Eat more simply or more cheaply, and see how your anxiety level changes. Perhaps a fast will remind you that God has done good things for you in the past, and he is taking care of your needs today.
Lord, you have done good things for me. Help me remember your faithfulness. You are the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Treasure transforms. The “Treasure Principle” says that caring more about money than about God leads to anxiety. Click here to read more.