Who or what do you depend on for what you have? Some Christians are reluctant to give because they don’t trust God to provide for them. They know they should be giving, but they’re more certain of the bills they have to pay than they are of God’s provisions. They worry that if they give their money away, God might leave them high and dry. In other words, doubts about God’s provisions hinder their giving. Are there any promises of God that can help build faith in that area?
I could point to several verses but let me focus on something Paul wrote to the Philippians:
And you Philippians know that in the early days of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving except you alone. For even in Thessalonica you sent gifts for my need several times. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the profit that is increasing to your account. But I have received everything in full, and I have an abundance. I am fully supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you provided—a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:15-19, emphasis added).
Here is the context: the Philippians had financially supported Paul’s ministry on several occasions. In fact, at times, they were the only church that supported him (“no church shared with me…except you alone”). And in light of that giving, Paul knew that God would supply “all their needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” That was a promise to the Philippians, but I believe it illustrates a principle that applies to all believers under grace. As William MacDonald said, “this is a specific promise that those who are faithful and devoted in their giving to Christ will never suffer lack” (MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary, p. 1981). This is part of the larger principle of sowing and reaping (cf. Prov 11:24; Luke 6:38; Gal 6:6-8; 2 Cor 9:6).
This passage also illustrates that God supplies your needs through other people. How did Paul “have an abundance”? God didn’t create it out of nothing, but provided through the Philippians. It’s the same in your case. God provides through secondary channels such as your job, friends, strangers, or local ministry. He gets you what you need through the giving of other people. But all the while, He’s your ultimate supply.
What difference should that make to you?
Imagine if you believed your job was your supply. You trust your employer to pay you, provide medical benefits, and give you a good retirement. And then, one day, imagine your company closed or they fired you. How would you react? You’d probably become anxious, angry, or depressed. It might feel like your whole life was falling apart. Why? Because you depended on your employer to be your supply, and they failed you, so it felt like the walls were crumbling.
But how would you react to that situation if you trusted in God to be your supply? In that case, your perspective would be different, wouldn’t it? Even if you lost your job, you could still have peace on the inside because that peace never depended on your employer, but on God’s promise. So you would keep trusting God to continue supplying all your needs—only now, the Lord would use some other channel to do it. Having that perspective will make such a powerful impact on your life.
Do you also see how it would make a difference to your giving? Under grace, you’re supposed to give freely, out of a cheerful heart. But if you’ve failed to give out of fear of not having enough, maybe you need to try trusting in God to be your supply. Now that you know His promise in Phil 4:19, are you willing to change your perspective, trust Him, and step out in faith? To be clear, I’m not condemning you. Neither is God (cf. Rom 8:1). I don’t want you to feel guilty for not trusting in God, and then give out of guilt. God doesn’t want that either. He wants you to give cheerfully, out of trust in Him. Paul encouraged the Philippians with this promise, and I hope it encourages you, too.
Prayer for the day: Heavenly Father, I’ve been depending on the world to take care of me, and that’s often made me too scared to give. I worried that I wouldn’t have enough. Thank you for the promise to supply all my needs according to your riches. Use that promise to renew my mind, so that my giving can be a “fragrant offering” to you.