“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NKJV
Dear Heavenly Father – Thank you Lord for your gracious principles of giving and receiving – to meet our needs. Thank for your providence and blessing. Please open our eyes to see you and our ears to hear from you. Wake us up, and please open our understanding. In the name of Jesus – Amen
In our quest to study the 4th chapter of Philippians and to reach the promise of God’s provisions, we have learned so much about God and His provision – learning: that we cannot put anything before God, more about how God views us and in that truth we can stand fast and be strong in faith, that agreement is a powerful tool which causes the power of God to work, that help is on the way and we should be helpers, that we should rejoice and be gentle, that the Lord is at hand, that He has provided ample tools to combat anxiety, how to wait on the Lord for provisions, and that God can use us even in our own need – to bless, not just the immediate situation, but generations to come!
God’s provisions are expressed in this this entire passage! Let us pick up on verse 14 of Philippians chapter 4, as we have studied up through verse 13 yesterday.
Paul continues his letter to them letting them know that ‘sharing in his distress’, they have done well and accomplished a greater good, that not even Paul could foresee.
“14 Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. 15 Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only.” Philippians 4:14-15 NKJV
Imagine giving to an evangelist who came through town for a tent meeting because God told you to give and you were obedient, and then almost 2000 years later a bunch of people are still reading about how only your church gave. Wow. And how when you heard he was in another town and had a need, so you gave again, and again –
“16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.” Philippians 4:16 NKJV
Wow. How blessed! Their obedience in giving out of their need is an example for us all for all of time.
In the Bible, I struggle to find examples of people who gave out of their abundance. I am sure there are wealthy people who gave large amounts to the Lord, to the ministries and to the temple. There may even be examples – none come to mind and a quick search did not bring any examples to light. Instead, I see that those who gave out of their lack, out of their need, are recorded for all of time.
There is nothing wrong with tithing or only giving a small amount. Some people have abundantly and giving 10% is no sacrifice – to be very clear, it is not wrong to give out of your abundance, and to give without sacrifice, as long as you are giving according to what God tells you to give. Obedience is ALWAYS key. But God uses the example of people giving out of their lack many times – and there is a lesson in it that should be understood by everyone. Even if you do not lack in finances, you may lack in other areas and it is in those areas you can apply these lessons. (We all have some sort of sacrifice and as I often say, obedience is the action of faith.)
“And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, 2 and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. 3 So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; 4 for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” Luke 21:1-4 NKJV
Here is another example of giving out of need. This widow was trusting that God would supply all her needs. This act of faith moved mountains – it may not be recorded exactly how God provided for her, but we know Jesus saw and asked God to take care of her, therefore we know she was provided for. We see that her story has been told for almost 2000 years, comforting all believers who gave out of their lack.
And then there is the widow at Zarephath. God asked her to give out of her lack as well. The drought dried up God’s plan A for taking care of Elijah so God sent him to the widow. (God always has a provision and sometimes it requires a plan A and a plan B and maybe even more.) The widow at Zarephath was obedient to the will of God and fed Elijah. Here it is recorded what happened to her – God provided all her needs!
“15 So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah.” 1 Kings 17:15-16 NKJV
She is also recorded for all of us to know of her faith and obedience. Her gift to God, and to Elijah, keeps on giving. Did she know feeding a prophet would mean as feeding thousands of generations of believers with a great spiritual lesson about the principle of giving?
So without further delay – here is the principle at work:
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38 NKJV
Without flat out saying it – God is teaching this to the church at Philippi (and to us as well), in practical application. We haven’t even reached the verse yet about God suppling all our needs and we have seen the give and receive lessons (wrapped in putting God first, how God sees us and loves us, and the many ways in which he provides). We have learned about the lessons in the waiting time. And the blessings of giving.
So, as we all know, I start from a position of lack and I give in many ways – God has always met all my needs. If they aren’t met, then either I don’t need it or it’s not yet time. So one day I had a little extra in the bank account, enough to cover a meal with my friends. I offered to pay – they counter-offered to pay. I asked them not to rob me off my blessings!!! This will not work with everyone, but my friends were very concerned about blessing me. They wanted to make sure I received a blessing. But since I am seldom in a position to bless them, I felt lead to do so. I pulled out this principle and showed them. If they blessed me with a meal, I got a meal. But if they let me bless them, they got a meal and I got a “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over”! Amen?!
Well, one day – they decided to bless me with a gift that was worth a lot of money. I told them no – God will provide another way. They reminded me of this lesson and told me not to rob them of their blessings from God. So I pray: God, please return to them a “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over”! Amen! (Thanks for just praying that with me in agreement!)
God provides – God gets the glory. We may have a relationship with Him – but it’s kinda one sided when it comes to who gets the glory. It is always God! And quite honestly I am ok with that! His love, goodness and grace are abundant therefore He is worthy of all the glory!
If you don’t already, and today you would like to have a relationship with a God who can communicate with you and be part of your life (and protect you) – one who is full of mighty power and tender love, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**
Thank you for reading ~ Grace be with you
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Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!