I’ve been struggling with the question posed in the title.
In 2011, I decided that I would save whatever money I made from working online as a missional entrepreneur.
In 2012, I knew that we would be moving and changing jobs, and I thought a larger emergency fund would be prudent in light of the transition we’d be making. Furthermore, even though our supporting churches had agreed to provide us with six months worth of funding when we left PNG, we decided that we didn’t want to be dependent on the church for something we could provide for ourselves during that transition.
It sounded like a wise idea at the time.
In the last quarter of 2011, I read Money, Possessions, and Eternity and began to wonder if the larger emergency fund wasn’t just a lack of faith.
It’s something I’ve thought about, prayed about, and struggled with for a few months, but I’m starting to feel some clarity on the topic, so I decided to share what I’ve learned.
Analogy: The Faith Required During a Move
Preparing for our international move has been a faith building exercise. We didn’t know when to start to sell the house. We were worried about how long it would take to find a buyer.
When we officially listed the house, we had two buyers outbidding each other within a week.
What a blessing.
We then found out that the paperwork and mortgage process (for the buyer) was going to take much longer than anticipated. Possibly even months after we planned to leave.
Fortunately, we’ve been blessed to see that everything is being processed quickly. We only have one last step to complete before we move, and it will come down to the wire.
What a faith building experience this has been!
Then it struck me.
People don’t move to build faith – even though it does. People move when God calls them to move.
It reminded me of the story of Abraham. What if he decided, on his own initiative, to go and sacrifice Isaac. I doubt he would be the Father of Faith, but instead, the Foolish Tester.
To put ourselves in tenuous positions without the call of God is an act of testing, not an act of faith.
I’ve decided to keep my larger emergency fund simply because I don’t yet feel moved or called (or whatever word you want to use) to use that money in another way at this moment.
- Perhaps God knows with all the ways we’re already being asked to trust him, we’re already sufficiently developing our spiritual muscles.
- Perhaps God has a future need for these funds, and he wants us to wait until that need.
- Perhaps God wants me to continue to be able to do Transforming Your Financial Diet Workshops free of charge, and this is the way he is enabling that.
I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that ‘stepping out on faith’ by your own initiative is called testing God. Responding to God’s call is called acting by faith.