Richer Than You Think
My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
Paul’s promise that God would meet every need comes in response to the Philippians
generosity to give to God‘s work. Times were tough in the first-century mission field, and Paul often had very few supporters. He really appreciated the ones who stood behind him! The Philippians had sent him a wonderful gift. Paul describes it as a “sweet smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God” (Philippians 4:18 ). Was it an a aromatic candle? No, I don’t think so. Whatever it was, the gift was as sweet to Paul as a bouquet of fresh flowers.
The gift, though, had cost the Philippians a lot, As a perceptive leader, Paul understood that some of them might be wondering, “Hmmm, if we gave money we needed to live on, what’s going to happen to us? Paul answered by telling them that God wouldn’t forget their generosity. He would meet their needs in a way that revealed His direct involvement in their lives and His pleasure and their generous hearts.
The promise isn’t that God will meet every desire or every want. It is that God will meet every need – especially those needs created when we have given over and above what we can afford to support God‘s work in the world. In an influence culture like ours, most of us have few real needs. We enjoy the latest technology, we want a nicer car, and we expect a better vacation than last year. Maybe we should give so much to God that He has to meet real needs in our lives. That would be an adventure!
I can testify that the Lord is as good as his word. If we trust, believe, and bring our tithes into the store house, He will pour out His blessings of all kinds, Including personal, family, and business.
God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God ‘s supply.
For almost fifty years now I have seen the power of this promise. Many are the stories I could share about how God has supplied our need, many times way beyond the need. As a young Christian I was taught the discipline of giving of my resources to God first and then trusting Him with the remainder. Whether that was giving of my time or my money or my skills, it seemed that each time God enhanced what was left.
Often I’m asked why God wants us to give when He has no need and our need/want could easily utilize everything we have. The first reason is to recognize that God is truly the owner of all things. We who are the children of God belong to Him. The Bible says that Christ redeemed us, purchased us with His own blood on Calvary.
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]? You were bought with a price [you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own]. So then, honor and glorify God with your body.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Since we were purchased by God, then all we are and all we have are His. Giving, then, is acknowledging the ownership of God. In our western individualistic, independent culture the idea of being owned grates on us. We are driven to prove that we can do as we wish, live as we wish, and answer to no one. But that is not the biblical concept at all. What the Bible teaches is that our free choice and will is limited to two choices- God or the devil.
“Do you not know that when you continually offer yourselves to someone to do his will, you are the slaves of the one whom you obey, either [slaves] of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness (right standing with God)? But thank God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient with all your heart to the standard of teaching in which you were instructed and to which you were committed. And having been set free from sin, you have become the slaves of righteousness [of conformity to God’s will and purpose]. I am speaking in [familiar] human terms because of your natural limitations [your spiritual immaturity]. For just as you presented your bodily members as slaves to impurity and to [moral] lawlessness, leading to further lawlessness, so now offer your members [your abilities, your talents] as slaves to righteousness, leading to sanctification [that is, being set apart for God’s purpose]. When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness [you had no desire to conform to God’s will]. So what benefit did you get at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? [None!] For the outcome of those things is death! But now since you have been set free from sin and have become [willing] slaves to God, you have your benefit, resulting in sanctification [being made holy and set apart for God’s purpose], and the outcome [of this] is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God [that is, His remarkable, overwhelming gift of grace to believers] is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord..
So then, as you choose how you will spend your life and resources you acknowledge who owns you.
Second, God asks us to give beyond our ability to teach us trust. Generous givers are those who truly trust God. When you choose to give to God first, before you pay your bills or before you spend your time on other things, you are trusting that God will make a way for you to do both- give and still have sufficient.
In the Old Testament there is a story that illustrates this well.
“So he set out and went to Zarephath, and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks [for firewood]. He called out to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a jar, so that I may drink.” As she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a piece of bread in your hand.” But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have no bread, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar. See, I am gathering a few sticks so that I may go in and bake it for me and my son, that we may eat it [as our last meal] and die.” Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. Just make me a little bread from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son. For this is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted nor shall the jar of oil be empty until the day that the Lord sends rain [again] on the face of the earth.’” She went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty, in accordance with the word of the Lord which He spoke through Elijah.”
1 Kings 17:10-16
This illustrates the principle. The widow had just enough for one meal- the last one before starvation. She chose to trust God with what she had and because of that trust, she not only received enough for that one meal but a sufficient supply that carried her through the famine.
This is the promise of Philippians 4:19. It is not a promise to everyone. It is only a promise to those who choose to give liberally to God first.
If you’re struggling, as I’m sure many are in this time of inflation, won’t you decide today to give in trust to God and receive His promise to supply your every need? If you will, He will!
Dr. John Thompson