National Catholic Register

Culture of Life

For Financial Security, Balance Providence and Prudence

BY Phil Lenahan

July 4-10, 2004 Issue | Posted 7/4/04 at 1:00 PM

 

Family Matters

I find it difficult to give up “control” of my finances and to trust God with my money matters. How can I better allow God to lead me in this area?

Married Life PHIL LENAHAN

A key to being a good steward is to achieve a balance between trusting in God's providence as our Father and being prudent in our planning. Here's a story that can help us learn better how to apply these principles.

St. Maximilian Kolbe, a Franciscan priest, is best known for his heroic death in the Auschwitz concentration camp. One of the works Father Kolbe is less known for is a family magazine he published. When he first came up with the idea for the magazine, he sought the approval of his superior. Recognizing the good the project would do, the superior gave his okay but also let Maximilian know that the order could not help him financially. Having planned the project, Maximilian knew he had raised half the funds necessary and he felt confident in starting this new venture.

Halfway through the project, Maximilian ran out of money and was bitterly disappointed that he had failed in this important endeavor. In prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, he expressed his disappointment and feelings of failure to Our Lady. As he got up to leave, he noticed an envelope on the altar. It was marked “For You Immaculata.” Inside was just enough money to complete his project.

Closer to home, I remember a year ago when we were planning to launch a daily radio show at Catholic Answers. Through planning and prayer, we concluded that a daily live call-in program could do much good in teaching and explaining the faith. The time came when we had to commit to building the studio — at a cost of $20,000. The bill would be due upon receipt of the materials (in about 10 days), and we didn't have that money set aside. With our staff and families praying, we moved ahead with the purchase and, within three days, received a check from a woman in the Midwest for $20,000. I remember the awe we all felt at God choosing to provide in this way.

A key point here is that trusting in God's providence doesn't mean that we fail to plan or that we go against the principles on finances he has provided in Scripture and Church teaching. While we were stretching ourselves financially to undertake the radio program, we had a solid plan in place and were not taking risks that would endanger the apostolate.

Achieving balance in this area is a challenge. It comes most effectively when we are rooted in prayer and truly place ourselves at God's disposal to do as he desires. Whether you are dealing with financial issues related to your family, business or apostolate, learning to balance prudence and trusting in God's providence is a key to being a good steward. God love you!

Phil Lenahan is founder and president of Financial Foundations for the Family in Temecula, California. To receive a free sample of its newsletter, Money Sense, write plenahan@ix.netcom.com or call (909) 699-7066.