October 2019 (Reprinted from August 2018)
“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” —Luke 12:32
A good many of the prayer requests we receive—and we receive thousands—are due to money problems. People want prayer for better-paying jobs so they can stop working two or three. They need money to fix their cars, pay the doctor, feed and clothe the kids and send them to Christian schools. If they had more money—and more things—they would be better off, they say. So it’s easy to believe the experts who tell us that the average American owes more than $15,000 in credit card debt. Apparently, when the cash runs out, rather than go without, they charge it.
The subject of money affects every area of a person’s life. Not having enough money—or even the fear of not having enough—causes people constant worry and fret. They know that money issues have the power to break marriages, damage work relationships, and distance the believer from God.
Nowadays, people struggle to under-
stand the difference between a need and a want. My husband and I have traveled to many foreign countries where all you see is need—children needing food, clean water to drink, and clothes to wear. It’s heartbreaking to see them going without. Their parents struggle daily to meet these basic human needs, but often fail.
For those fortunate enough to live in America—where capitalism, thank God, still prevails—a good many make enough money to afford a place to live, pay their bills, and maybe have a little left over to save or spend. While this should be something to be thankful for, most Americans aren’t satisfied. They want more. They’re looking for a lifestyle, like the ones they see onscreen—the kind that looks pleasant to the eye. And advertisers know how to make it all look good. Billions of dollars are spent each year showing people—telling them—why they need a bigger house, nicer clothes, a newer car, more furniture, or a well-deserved vacation.
Money And Morals
But this approach is nothing new. It’s been going on since Adam and Eve. Genesis 3:6 says, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes ….” In his commentary, Matthew Henry points this out about Eve: “She saw. A great deal of sin comes in at the eye.”
Eve could have taken fruit from any other tree, but Satan made her want fruit from the one that was forbidden. Remember what he told her, “You will be as God.”
Every commercial you see is saying the same thing: “Buy this and you will be this: happier, richer, smarter. Sadly, most people believe this ancient lie and spend their way into financial—and spiritual—debt.
Why is that? Because the two are tied together—money and morals—which is why the believer does well to understand God’s economy and how it works.
A simple definition of the word economy is, “a thrifty and efficient use of material resources.”
So how does this word apply to the Creator of the universe who owns everything? The Bible says that the earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof; the silver and the gold belong to Him, as does every beast of the forest and the cattle upon a thousand hills. God’s material resources are inexhaustible—He made them.
God is able to open the windows of heaven and pour out on us blessing—blessings so great they will chase down and overtake the child of God. He who is named Jehovah-jireh (which means “the Lord will provide”) promises to meet all of our needs. But there are conditions: We have to ask, and we have to believe—daily.
When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He said, “Give us this day our daily bread.” God is the God of today—today is the day of salvation. Tomorrow He holds in His hand.
The Father’s resources are limitless, yet He meets the needs of His children in an efficient manner, as we see in the following verses:
In each of these situations, the need of the moment was met—nothing extra and nothing wasted. When God’s children ask and believe Him to provide, the ravens come, the fish deliver money, and everybody is filled. But when there’s doubt and murmuring, like when the children of Israel tried to store up the daily manna, “it bred worms and stank.”
- “Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day…” (Ex. 16:4)
- God told Elijah, “And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.” (I Kings 17:4).
- Jesus told Peter, “Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee” (Mat. 17:27).
- Jesus provided a meal: “And they did all eat, and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes” (Mk. 6:42-43).
God the Father wants to be our daily resource of provision. That was His original intent. In the garden of Eden, God was Adam’s sole source, but after the fall, man was indebted in every way possible. According to Matthew Henry, Adam’s habitation was cursed, the ground was cursed, his food became unpleasant to him, and his employments and enjoyments were embittered. Adam turned from God’s provision to tilling the ground, and it was hard. Henry writes, “Labor is our duty, which we must faithfully perform; it is part of man’s sentence, which idleness daringly defies. Uneasiness and weariness with labor are our just punishment, which we must patiently submit to, since they are less than our iniquity deserves.”
Most people realize that they have to work to earn a living. But as Christians, we shouldn’t look to our jobs as our source of provision. It is God who gives us jobs to earn money. He’s the one who gives us favor with our employers. He promotes. If we start believing that it’s our abilities, talents, and skills that make our paychecks possible, then we move our faith away from God as provider.
When Adam sinned, he stepped outside the spiritual realm of God’s provision. He fell, and all of mankind fell with him into a debt we could in no wise pay. Only Jesus and what He did for us on the Cross of Calvary was enough to satisfy the incalculable debt of sin.
Salvation is God’s greatest provision for mankind. Once the sin problem gets solved in a person’s life, he is welcomed into God’s realm of provision—His economy—and eligible for God’s richest blessings.
Now maybe you’re thinking, “Frances, I’m saved, but God doesn’t care anything about me. He’ll bless other people, but He won’t bless me. He won’t help me. God doesn’t love me anymore. He hasn’t blessed my finances and He knows I don’t have anything.”
If that’s you, let me remind you of two widows who found themselves in extremely desperate situations.
In I Kings 17, we find the first widow, asked to give Elijah some water and a morsel of bread. She only had enough meal and oil to make a last supper for her and her son to eat and then die. But the prophet insisted that she feed him first. My husband says, “A great lesson is taught here. The economy of the Lord was about to be introduced to this woman. The world says, ‘Give to me first, and then maybe I’ll give something back to you.’ However, the Lord says, ‘Give to Me first, whatever it is you have, however meager it might be, at least if it represents your best, and then I will give back to you.’”
The woman did as the prophet said, “And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah” (I Kings 17:16).
The second widow, in II Kings 4, is found crying to Elisha. Creditors were after her, and if she didn’t pay up, they were going to take her sons away to be bondmen. My husband notes, “Many a Christian is like this widow. There is depression, poverty, and bondage in the life instead of joy, wealth, and liberty. The truth is, the plight of this home was not God’s will. It is God’s will that we be in health and prosper, even as our soul does prosper (III Jn., v. 2). Satan never ceases in his efforts to deprive the child of God of his rightful inheritance in Christ Jesus.”
When Elisha asked this widow what she had in her house, she said nothing, except for a pot of oil. The prophet told her to borrow vessels from her neighbors and “borrow not a few.” Then she was to “pour out” into all those vessels. Afterward, she sold the oil and was able to pay off her debt.
Think about this: As the first widow reached her hand into the barrel for that last handful of meal to give to another, and the second “poured out” oil into vessels—both were exercising faith in God’s word to them, which resulted in His miraculous—and ongoing—provision.
Giving To God
Just as employment affects the U.S. economy, so does giving affect God’s economy. When a believer gives to God out of faith and love—especially to support His work—God’s return on that investment is blessing. And please understand that not all blessings are material; many are spiritual such as hope, joy, peace, and purpose—and these are invaluable.
Believers should want to give to the work of God and enable the gospel to reach others just as it once reached them. Yet many people struggle over the issue of tithing. People will ask, “Should I tithe or buy groceries?” My husband and I always say such decisions are between you and the Lord because it is a matter of faith. We’ve had to believe God every step of the financial way for this ministry, but He has always made a way. And that’s what you have to understand—God is able to make a way for you—create a way—even if it’s pulling the amount needed from the mouth of a fish.
Seek First The Kingdom
Consider, if you will, one more widow:
“And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had” (Lk. 21:1-4).
Whether we’re reaching in for that last handful of meal, pouring out, or casting in all that we have, God sees. And He knows, Jesus said, exactly what it is we need. He said, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things” (Mat. 6:31-32).
And then He tells us how to get those needs met: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”