It’s silly, I know, to approach a conversation about trust with the proverbial “trust-fall” analogy, but the reason it's so overdone is because it’s just so relatable. We’ve all experienced it: that delighted, nervous squirm after agreeing to give it a try, facing forward without seeing what the person behind you is doing, nerves ratcheting up at the thought of what you’ve just committed to, the tentative count off “three, two, one!”, the first tip backward when you could still catch yourself, and then the swoop in your belly when you lock your knees and pass the point of no return, fully committed to trusting the other person to catch you, and finally, the relief when you feel arms come up under your own, giggling madly at the rush of feeling.
But in real life, practicing trust is seldom that fun. The stakes are higher—it’s not just falling flat on your bum and an embarrassed squeak of indignation that’s at risk, it’s your heart. Or your future. Or your next bill payment. Control is much easier than the bravery and work that it takes to “lock your knees” and fully trust another, even the perfectly trustworthy God. I’d much prefer to catch myself, thank you very much.
When it comes to practicing life as a faithful steward of God’s resources though, absolute trust is key. Giving up control is hard—it does not come naturally. We are prone to fret over what we “have” and how it is never enough, especially when it comes to giving it away. Sure, we’ll meet the minimum requirement for tithe because scripture says so, but truly cultivating hearts of generosity above and beyond that? Ya right!
Your ability to practice absolute trust in giving depends on how you answer the following questions:
Do you trust God to meet your needs?
Do you believe that God’s people should ultimately give at the prompting of the Holy Spirit?
In our discussion about one-kingdom living, we saw that the basic foundation for living in this God-centered way comes down to listening and obeying. If we believe that all we have is actually God’s, and we are to act as his vehicle for disbursing it in the world, then we have to first talk with him about how he wants those resources used. Then, and here is where absolute trust comes in, we have to obey. Actually follow through.
The enemy loves to mess with us in this area of trust. God’s perspective might be wholly different than ours, and we are so susceptible to doubt and fear. For example, we might find ourselves asking:
What if God asks me to give so much I won’t be able to make rent at the end of the month? How will I have enough for my other needs?
What if he urges me to introduce a dear friend to someone else with whom they might get along? What if they get so close I am left out?
Or what if God asks me to volunteer at my local shelter, even though I already have commitments several other nights a week? Will I burn out?
If I own a business, what if God ask me to employ a seemingly under-qualified person so that they can see an example of Christian leadership in me? Sure, the person might see God better, but will my business suffer as a result?
Or, as a church, what if God asks us to allow a missionary to invite church-members to give toward their ministry? Will they still give enough to meet the church’s needs?
When these fears come up, we need to remind ourselves of the truth about God: he is with us always (Matt 28:20); he will strengthen, help and uphold us (Is 41:10); he cares for even the birds, and we are so much more valuable to him than they (Matt 6:26); he withholds no good thing (Ps 84:11); and he will supply all our needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:19)! These truths can free us to totally trust God, and thus, to totally trust him with all he's given, and is asking us to give.
One of the first things that drew me to my husband was his abundantly generous heart. Time after time, I’ve seen his immediate willingness to go “over the top” to bless another person, even if that means sacrificing something ourselves, trusting that the Lord will take care of us. Curious where this heart of generosity came from, I asked and he told me a story from his childhood: At the time, his mom, newly divorced and learning how to support her four boys on her own, was heartbroken and struggling to keep enough food on the table. In response to her need, their church community pulled together a food drive for them, and surprised them with a whole truckful of supplies and food to care for their family for months! As a kid, this abundant display of generosity marked him deeply, and now we live out that legacy in our family. For us, that looks like helping a friend suffering under the weight of a debt hanging over them, a coworker in need of new tires for her car that she cannot afford, or someone raising support to minister cross-culturally to those without Jesus—we trust God’s promises to provide, and we obey. The Lord has increased our capacity so that we could help, and has always met our needs in turn.
When we can trust God absolutely to take care of our needs, obeying God becomes infinitely easier, and true joy in giving abounds. And, as my husband’s story illustrates, our acts of listening and obeying will be an example to others of how to live in God’s Kingdom; it will increase their faith in God, and their faith to do the same (2 Cor 9:12-14)!
I’ve personally witnessed a lot of trust-falls in the area of giving lately. In just a few short weeks, my husband and I are relocating to Asia to become CRM field staff. These last few months while raising support, I have been humbled by the sheer number of times I have seen those who are partnering with me do trust-fall after trust-fall into God’s arms, listening to his prompting and obeying by committing to give. My hope is that you might experience this same encouragement—of seeing the body of Christ seek him as they steward his resources, obey the prompting of the Spirit, and trust him with their every need—but even more than that, I hope you will be inspired to do the trust-fall yourself, and discover personally the arms of God holding you up.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sophie Sykes has been with CRM for six years, heading up communications for CRM’s Partner Development Team. She and her husband Nick will soon be launching into new roles with CRM in Asia.