Several years ago construction workers were laying a foundation for a building outside the city of Pompeii. They found the corpse of a woman who must have been fleeing from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius but was caught in the rain of hot ashes. The woman’s hands clutched jewels, which were preserved in excellent condition. She had the jewels, but death had stolen it all. That’s the bottom line in life. Worldly treasure is not a wise investment because you can’t take it with you. Jim Elliot, a missionary who was martyred for his faith, understood this reality when he wrote in his journal, “A person is no fool to give up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose.” It’s not foolish to give up what you cannot keep in order to gain what you cannot lose.
If you make eternity your focus, you can put money and marriage into perspective and reduce the tensions it creates in your marriage.
Money and marriage principle #2
Trust God to provide for your essential needs. (Matt. 6:25–32)
You are more valuable to God than anything else he has created. One of the most difficult things to deal with is a loss of a job and the income that goes with it. It is exacerbated when you add debt to that mix. I have been there; I know. When you face such times, you must always remember—you are still of immeasurable value to God. Just as he has provided for us in the past, he will continue to provide. Even if we lose everything we own on Earth, we still have what really matters—a God who loves us and works all things for our good. (Rom. 8:28)
Worrying does absolutely nothing to resolve things. I can’t think of anyone who has a better life because they are obsessed with worry because of finances. If you can devote yourself to more productive things, other than worry, you are far more likely to come out better.
Money and marriage Principle # 3
Everything else falls into place when we seek God first. (Matt. 6:33–34)
The things we worry about most will be provided for. God is far more committed to our good than we believe. Look at what he did through Jesus. We see in God’s free gift of salvation that God can be trusted. Jesus is more precious than anything else. (1 Peter 2:7) When we have him, we have the most important thing.
Stay focused on the problems of today—not what could be. One reason it is so easy to fall into Satan’s trap of the money and marriage scarcity-mindset that produces our fear is that we rarely make the time anymore to stop and appreciate all the blessings God has already showered on us and all the capacity for blessing others he has placed within us. Ironically, we can usually manage the day- to-day issues of life without too much pain—especially if we focus on these blessings. It is the imagined, awful scenarios that most likely will never occur that cause our anxiety. It is this “awfulizing” that cripples our marriages as much as anything else.
There is a Father who has blessed us and will continue to do so. But there is also an enemy, Satan. First Peter 5:8 tells us, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” He will do everything to distract you, hurt you, and make you believe there is not enough, and that God does not really care for you. He will attack you in the places where you are most vulnerable. He will make empty promises and brew dissatisfaction in your soul and blatantly lie to you about God’s love and provision.217 He plants seeds of fear and hopelessness for the future. But remember, “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
Many couples are like the one in our opening story. One spends too much and the other is fragile and worries too much. Both need to meditate on these passages (because they speak directly to money and marriage) and learn to overcome the fear of scarcity and to seek God’s kingdom first. For the wife, it is to learn that stuff does not provide security, and for the husband, that worry fixes nothing.