Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” Genesis 22:13-14
“Although there is no shortage of good intentions from marketplace Christians to put their faith into practice during business hours, there is often much fear resulting in holding them back to fully implement God’s Word in their work environment.
Such fear stems from a faulty theology in provision, which coincidently also underpins another important spiritual discipline – stewardship. In a nutshell, it has to do with how we manifest our role as stewards and not owners of whatever resources that God has placed in our hands including wealth which he has enabled us to generate.
Let’s be absolutely clear about this: if you incorrectly view your ultimate source of provision as anyone or anything apart from Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides, you are going to be afraid of not having enough or running out (of money in particular) and therefore you will hold back.
Holding back can take many forms. It can stop you from being generous with your time, talent, and treasure (thereby hampering your stewardship); it can also stop you from “taking risk” in living out biblical teaching and calling at your workplace in fear of tilting the apple cart of income provision.”
Roger Lam in “The Common Foundation Between Effective Marketplace Ministry and Good Stewardship” in FBG Gatekeepers: Doing Business With Purpose. Roger is author of Lost and Found: Money vs. Riches, a must-read book if you have not already read it.
Whether you are faith-driven entrepreneur, a marketplace worker, or business owner, you have to get the source of provision right. If you don’t, you won’t integrate your faith and work with any effectiveness, and fear will dominate your decision-making.
As Abraham testified in today’s Scripture, it is the LORD who provides, and not us. Those who grasp this allow faith to guide their life. It gives them confidence. Our marketplace ministry syncs with our stewardship when we see all provision as coming to us from God, as belonging to God, and to be used for God.
For example, if we generate wealth, we put it to work wisely when we give to God, care for our family, and use it grow a business as a worker for God. But, if we ever view that wealth as ours or think of ourselves as the provider, it will allow fear rather than faith to dominate our thinking and actions. Fear leads people to hold on to wealth.
How do we know if we have a faulty view of provision?
This malady surfaces when we have feelings of fear, moments or worry, or when we fret about the future. This leads us to hold back, as Lam notes. We have learned that whatever we hold back actually takes hold of us, so don’t hold anything back.
When we hold back we not only put our marketplace ministry in jeopardy, we run the risk of exchanging the life of faith with a pathetic existence ruled by fear. That’s no way to live. The only responsible way forward is to think and work from a posture of trust in God as Provider.
I changed the header photo to a shot of a recent Rugby game I attended in Australia. It fits with today post because as marketplace ministers we must see ourselves as part of God’s team. My favorite Rugby expression “with you” signifies that we must run in sync with each other (and God) to help each other press on toward the goal.