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Can We Save For The Future And Still Say We Trust God?
By Keith Rawlinson
Volunteer Budget Counselor

Scattered throughout the Bible are many references to trusting God.  The Bible teaches us not to worry about the future, not to worry about our needs being met, not to be fearful and so on.  If that is true, then doesn't saving for possible financial emergencies show that we do not trust God for our future?  How can we say we trust God if we are saving money to take care of ourselves in an emergency?  Isn't that worrying about the future which the Bible tells us not to do?

In my financial counseling, and in the financial classes I teach, I refer to the Bible as the instruction manual.  In fact, I think I call it that more often than I actually call it the Bible.  I call it the instruction manual because that's what it is--God's instructions for how we are to live our lives and have a relationship with Him and with His Son Jesus Christ.  It seems to me that when one is trying to figure out how to do something, an instruction manual is a great place to start.  So, let's look at what the instruction manual says.

Go to the ant you lazy person.  Consider her ways and be wise, who having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer and gathers her food in the harvest.   Proverbs 6:6-8

This verse is talking about saving for future needs.  If the ant does not put up her supplies and gather her food while it is available, she won't have what she needs to get through the winter.  Notice also that this verse says if a person doesn't do these things, they are a lazy person.

A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the foolish pass on and are punished.  Prov. 22:3

This verse shows us that a prudent man--a man who is wise and thoughtful--considers what might happen in the future and prepares himself.  This verse also shows us that those who do not prepare for future problems will endure hardships.

The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.  Prov. 21:5

This verse instructs us to plan for the future.  It says that if we do, it will be to our advantage.  It also says that if we don't plan, we will end up in poverty.

These verses, along with the information given in my article What does God teach about saving, tell us that not only is it all right to save, but we are actually instructed to save and to prepare for the future.  So then, how can we be trusting God and saving up money to take care of ourselves at the same time?  To answer this question, let's look at two more Bible verses:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding.  Prov. 3:5

This first verse tells us that we are to trust in the Lord with all of our heart.  In other words, we are to believe what God teaches and accept it as true and trustworthy.  This verse also tells us not to lean on our own understanding; in other words, we trust that how God teaches us to do things will work, even if we don't fully understand why we are supposed to do it that way.

A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.  Prov. 16:9

This is the verse that I think best answers the question of how we can save for our future and still say we trust God for our future.  This verse tells us that a man's heart plans his way.  That means that it is all right for people to plan for their futures.  Part of planning is to prepare; thus, it is all right for us to prepare for our futures.  The second part of this verse, however, is the more important part.  In order for the first part of the verse to work, we must also do the second part.  The second part of the verse says that the Lord directs our steps.  In other words, we are doing things the way God teaches us to do them.  What is the most important means by which God teaches how to do things His way?  Simple, He put it all in writing in the instruction manual (the Bible).  In fact, the Bible teaches that if we are directed to do anything any way other than how the Bible directs us to do it, then those directions are not from God.

That all makes perfect sense.  We cannot say that we are doing everything God's way if we are not even doing what God told us to in writing.  Not through tradition, not through prophecy or supernatural insight, but through a written instruction manual provided by God Himself thousands of years ago. Think about it this way: trusting God means doing things His way, and the best resource for determining His way is the Bible itself.  So, if we are reading God's written instructions and following them, it is because we are trusting that the way God tells us to do things is correct--quite simply, we follow God's instructions because we trust Him.  Well, just looking at what the Bible says about saving as discussed in my article What does God teach about saving, we can plainly see that we are instructed by God Himself, through the instruction manual, to save and to prepare for the future.  If we fail to follow God's written instructions, then that is not trusting God.  Following His written instructions is trusting God.  If we ignore God's instructions which tell us to save and prepare for future needs, and just expect God to bail us out supernaturally should we get into trouble, then we are not trusting God.  In that situation, how can we say that we are trusting God when we are not doing what He told us to do?  We can't!

So, there's our answer.  If we are doing what God's instruction manual, the Bible, tells us to do, then we are trusting God.  And since saving for emergencies and preparing for the future are things God tells us to do in His instruction manual, then doing those things is trusting God.

Can we save for the future and still say we trust God?  Absolutely!  In fact, how can we say we trust God if we are not saving for the future?  After all, He did tell us to do so.

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