Feeling Anxious about Money?
I was sipping on a coffee with a friend recently. And while we were chatting, he mentioned the pressure he’s feeling around money at the moment. It wasn’t crushing him, but he said he was feeling the pinch. The truth is many Aussies are feeling anxious about money. I read an ABC article today which said, “The majority of workers are struggling with soaring costs, reduced purchasing power and rising interest and mortgage payments.” That’s the situation we’re dealing with right now, and it’s leaving some feeling anxious or worse. What can you do if you’re feeling anxious about money? The emotion of anxiety is like smoke that’s coming from a fire in the human heart. We’re meant to follow the smoke to its source and put out the fire.
If you’re feeling anxious about money spend a few moments with God. Get curious about the emotion you’re feeling, and write down what you’re feeling. Try to describe accurately the emotion. Don’t just write, “I feel negative.”, that’s too vague. Try to be precise (I feel worried, fearful, hopeless). Then ask what this says about your heart. How does the smoke of this emotion give you insight into the deeper thoughts of your heart? Maybe, when you follow the smoke, you will notice there’s a subtle agreement there (e.g. “Money is my security, if it gets taken away I feel vulnerable”). Then take this to Jesus in prayer and counteract any lies with Scripture.
One of my favourite stories in the Bible is where Jesus deals with a man who was hopelessly gripped by the security and power and pleasure that money offers. He sacrificed his reputation, his family, his place among God’s people to get money. Yet, after he encountered Jesus, money lost its power over his heart. He gave it up because he had found greater riches, security and joy in Jesus. This man’s story shows us how we can be released from the trap of trusting in money for peace and security. I’m talking about the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-9. Zacchaeus “was a chief tax collector and was wealthy” (Luke 19:2). As the chief tax collector, he was a head honcho of a network of tax collectors. Tax collectors, under Roman protection, could take as much as they wanted on top of what they collected from their fellow Israelites. And Zacchaeus got a cut from them all! He was stinking rich. But, he was despised. He was like the First Century version of a Nazi collaborator. He collaborated with the Roman oppressor to profit off of his own people’s misery!
This man gave up everything for his love of money. He worshipped wealth. If his money was taken away, his life would have been over. He had nothing else left. Family had likely shunned him, the synagogue refused him, the community despised him. Money was his everything. Yet, Jesus made a stop in Jericho to visit this notorious sinner. While walking through the town, he stopped, looked at Zacchaeus and said, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” (Luke 19:5). Jesus knew this man. He knew his name. And the word ‘immediately’ in the original Greek carried the meaning ‘it is necessary… I am compelled…’. Jesus didn’t stop in Jericho randomly. It was God’s plan of divine grace that compelled Jesus to stop. God had set his love on this undeserving sinner, and Jesus asked him if he could eat with him!
We don’t know how long Jesus spent with Zacchaeus, or what else he said to him. But we know that Zacchaeus’ encounter with Jesus resulted in his salvation (Luke 19:9). Jesus saved him from the power of money and from the judgement he deserved. So much so, in fact, that Zacchaeus gave copious amounts away in repentance (Luke 19:8). Here’s what all this means for us. When you feel truly rich in Jesus, money loses its power over your heart. When you know that you deserve to be excluded from heaven… that you deserve God’s judgement, but instead have received Jesus’ grace, it makes your heart sing! It makes you feel spiritually rich, and cared for by God, so that money loses its power over your heart.
I don’t know if the situation will get worse for Aussies. But I do know the grace of the Lord Jesus. We can lean on him in our troubles. We can rest in him. We can trust God (Matthew 6:25-34).
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)
Let’s trust Him today,
 Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). In A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 214). University of Chicago Press.