When our kids hit middle school, we helped them go from piggy banks to a checking account. Oh, you can be sure our names were on the account, but it was their account, nonetheless. We provided the minimal amount that was necessary to open the account and their checking had begun. They didn’t learn a lot those first few years because there wasn’t a lot of money going into the account – or coming out. However, they knew it was there and, every once in a while, one of them would ask how much money he had in his account.
In the spring, the annual 4-H Livestock Show brought the promise of reward for hard labor and money went into the account. Several customers Dave has worked for through the years sometimes contributed to our kids in recognition of their scholastic or other achievements. Any time a check or cash was handed to Dave for one of our kids, it was brought home and given to the child – after a Thank You note had been put in the mail for the gift.
Even now, occasionally, someone hands Dave money for one of the kids and it’s handed over to the person for whom it was intended. It’s true that an occasional fine was levied for misbehavior ($3.00 for throwing something in the house, $5.00 for sassiness, and an infrequent fee for repairs of a window or door for happenings that are common when boys are growing up) and money was withdrawn from that account. [They didn’t know it at the time, but we often used “fine money” to go out to eat as a family.]
All in all, they learned that putting money into that account would reap rewards later. Not only were they stock-piling money, they were also stock-piling life experience. We all know that experience is the best teacher. Our kids learned that if a deep need or want arose, they could cash in on those funds.
Life as a believer is a little like that. We start out as newborn babies in Jesus, and we don’t have a lot of experience in trust or obedience. Sure, we experience grace when we are adopted into God’s family, but that’s about all we can point to in those first weeks after our “account” with God is activated. The balance in our Account is essentially about as low as it can be. The only amount in it initially is the ABC* amount needed to open a new-born believer’s account.
In time, things happen. Life happens. We look at what we have in our Account, and we wonder if there is enough to pull us through. Is our faith strong enough or will it fail us? Do we have enough trust to bank on God coming through for us, or are we going to be swindled and emptied out by our lack of experience and trust? When Satan’s cries, “You’re going down!”, we may question our faith, and sometimes actually wonder if we should have gone with the Opponent instead of with God.
Yet God comes through! He answers prayers we forgot we had prayed. He helps us do the right thing when it’s the hardest thing we’ve ever done (so far) and later we realize that we’ve cashed in on more trust and more faith just because we believed and obeyed. We put that experience and that increased faith and trust as a deposit into the Bank.
We look around at others who are older and more experienced, and we wonder how they can endure some of life’s hard knocks like they do. Somehow, we think our account of faith should be as loaded as theirs. We want to start out where they are now – but we haven’t had time to experience a return on savings – yet.
We watch older adults go through hard times and grief. We watch parents bury a child and we think we could never, ever, make it through an event like that. Yet as we watch the faith of those parents become stronger, we realize they have a grace we’ve never experienced. We see that experience change them for the better as they put their increased trust into their Account. We realize God has given dividends and they are richer and better because of what they have experienced. They have CDs we’ve never been able to invest.
We somehow want to amass an account when we haven’t done the grunt to get there. We forget that the only way to increase deposits is to go through life and do the hard things necessary to bring in that faith and trust.
In time, we ourselves experience betrayal, hurt, anger and fear. We wonder: can we make it through this experience? Is there enough of God’s grace to take us through this pain and this upheaval? Somehow, slowly, we realize there was a grace balance we didn’t know could be found in the Bank. We actually experience what we’ve heard others talk about: God doesn’t give us grace until we need it. When the situation comes that demands that grace, it will be there.
As we make another deposit of faith into the Bank, we realize we’ve come through this crisis and we’re wiser and better – and richer. We put those life experiences along with the interest of God’s power to forgive into the Bank. We’ve experienced His grace and found that there are more secrets to discipleship we didn’t know were available. Suddenly, our investments are cashing in and there’s a larger balance in the account than we ever dreamed possible.
Life goes on and as we experience health issues, accidents, and other crises, we wonder: how will we make it through this?
It is at these times that we can look back at all the deposits we’ve made over the years: deposits from trusting Him when life didn’t make sense, deposits from believing God was God even when life wasn’t fair, deposits from Him using His people to come through in financial crises.
Our recounting of God’s faithfulness is like compounding the interest in our faith account.
Perhaps more devastating than death at times are fractured relationships and estranged remnants of what used to be. We wonder how things went from great to good, from good to bad, and from bad to worse. Sometimes we recognize that, except for an act of God, things really will never be the same again. Again we go to the Bank of our faith and withdraw more grace and more strength to tide us over until we’re back at work again.
It’s true that there are times we feel that our account is depleted. One reason is because we don’t keep investing in the account. We have to regularly make deposits of faith as we grow in our relationship with Christ. The way to make those deposits is to grab hold of the grace, claim His care, and follow His footsteps.
There are ways to track the balance in our account. We can do that by journaling, maintaining a prayer diary, or by telling others what God has done. It’s important that we intentionally find ways to remember and to arm ourselves for an a spiritual assault.
As long as we remember, we keep adding interest. It is important that we don’t forget.
God gave the Children of Israel instructions for things to do so they would not forget. When we begin to forget, we are depleting our account.
Each day, we choose to invest in our account – or decry its lack of funds. Each life experience we face will allow us to make more deposits as we experience grace; or it will cause us to become depleted because we aren’t willing to invest in trusting God to bring us through this storm.
I used to wonder how I’d make it through losses, relationship upheavals, and financial duress. I don’t have to wonder anymore because I have an Account that is filled with past experiences where God has been faithful. He has given grace and He has provided wisdom. He has enabled me to endure things I would have declared I never could. He has helped me respond in ways that are so unlike me. Each event has been a deposit in that Account.
Each experience, each trial, each upheaval has given me confirmation that God is Who He said He is. Each time, I’ve been able to take it to the Bank. Each time, when I wondered how I could endure yet this trial, I remembered all that is in the Bank. There’s plenty of gold in His storehouses just waiting for me to cash in. I know that His storehouses are still filled, ready to be unleashed for me. On this, I have my trust account. I can take it to the Bank.
My deposits are secure. That is why I can soar. I have taken it to the Bank and I have eternal credit there.
How is your account? Have you been making deposits there?
*ABC – Accept, Believe, Confess I John 1:8
I only recommend books with which I am familiar. I have both of these books and have been through them twice. I think it’s time to go through them again!