Jesus addressed fear quite a few times in his ministry on earth. We understand why. Fear is probably the number one impediment to faithful following Christ. And part of that faithfulness is our giving.
How does fear show up in our lives? One way is in a desire to have 100 percent certainty about our giving decisions. We want to be sure that the ministry we’re giving to or the person we’re helping will use the money wisely. Of course we want to be wise in our giving decisions. But the reality is we can do “due diligence” for a very long time and never reach the point of 100 percent certainty.
Oddly enough we accept less than absolute certainty with other decisions, both saving and spending. Did we have certainty when we purchased our last car or made that investment?
So why does a degree of uncertainty discourage our giving? Two possibilities exist.
The first is that we have a hard time accepting God loves us as we are, not because of what we do. In the parable of the three servants, the third servant buried the money the master gave to him to steward. Why did the servant do so? Was he afraid of the master?
Are we afraid of what God might do if we later find that money we gave was not used well by others? If so, we may want to reflect on our view of our Heavenly Father. Do we fully believe that God loves us beyond our imagination?
A second reason for our excessive caution may be our view of whose money we’re giving. If a ministry doesn’t use our gift prudently, whose money was misused, ours or God’s? Once we open our hands and recognize that all we possess belongs to God, we may feel less like we were taken advantage of or that we lost something valuable to our identity. He will use any circumstance for good. And we’re often not in the best position to assess a “mistake.”
This doesn’t mean we don’t learn from the consequences of our decisions. Or that we don’t seek to make the best decision we can. But we can move forward in freedom, because there’s one thing we can be certain of: we have a Father whose love is not based on what we do. And we can give with peace, because we know that He’s writing a story we can’t always see.