I was given a prayer journal several years ago that just turned up in the right timing to be a place for me to write down thoughts and prayers and Scriptures when the pages of the previous one were full. It had this message in the front of it, after speaking about the widowâ€™s miracle in 2 Kings 4: â€œIn the same way, God wants to abundanty supply your needs — physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually. Are you ready to receive the blessings He has in store for you?â€
As you might guess, based on what Iâ€™ve been reading in the Word and thinking about lately, the idea that God wants to abundantly supply my financial needs throws up all kinds of red flags. Why? Because Iâ€™m not sure thatâ€™s necessarily true. I do believe that God wants to supply my needs. But whether I should be expecting pressed down, shaken together, running over cashflow, Iâ€™m not sure.
Hereâ€™s why. Over the last few years, Hero Hubs and I have been consistently working on a tight budget. God has indeed met our needs and I have no complaints in that department. But the kind of â€œ financial abundanceâ€ and â€œprosperityâ€ that is being promised many people from many-a-pulpit today is not what we have witnessed in reality. Our bank accounts are not beautiful, but we are indeed blessed. And the biggest gift, I think, has been that God has simply met our needs, not with ridiculous extravagance, not with Mercedes Benzes and flashy clothes, but with what weâ€™ve needed when weâ€™ve needed it.
I am afraid a lot of people think they are doing something wrong because they are not seeing the kind of (perhaps extravagant) financial blessing they are hoping for, and they are misconstruing the truth in Godâ€™s Word.
There are two polarities that exist in my mind here. First, I see the way God has met our everyday needs as extravagant abundance. We live in a really beautiful place. Weâ€™re renting a furnished apartment that has been nicely decorated. We have a breathtaking view of the mountains of Gordonâ€™s Bay and when the weather is warm we enjoy coffee on our balcony, overlooking the boats in the harbour right below us. We have never missed a meal because we couldn’t afford to eat.
At the same time, we trust God for the finances to meet our needs, pay our bills, and so on. And by some standards we might be judged to be living very frugally because we donâ€™t go clothes shopping (unless someone else takes us! ), we don’t have much in the way of disposable income and we very rarely eat out.
But then there are other standards, suddenly staring me in the face. These are the standards of children who donâ€™t have shoes. Who will not have a coat this winter. Who arenâ€™t sure where their next meal is coming from. And suddenly I realise I am the exception. This is the rule:
If you make more than $25,000/ year (about Â£17,000 or ZAR 190,000) you are in the wealthiest 10% of the worldâ€™s population. Yes, you are actually wealthier than 90% of the people in the world.
I am reminded of the story of the rich young ruler who visited Jesus. He desired righteousness, and perhaps Jesusâ€™ commendation because heâ€™d kept the commandments since his youth. And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and finally said, â€œIf you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.â€ (Check it out in Matthew 19 if you like.) For years now Iâ€™ve read this and thought, shame, that rich young ruler sure was attached to his wealth. He went away sorry because he had so much stuff. We donâ€™t know what he eventually decided to do, and I suppose we all kind of guess he gave up on righteousness because he loved his stuff.
I feel like I have, in some ways, been that rich young ruler without realising it. I am NOT saying everyone is called to sell everything they have and give it all to the poor. I am saying I think a lot of us might be missing a big part of what we are called to do or give, because we are using the wrong measuring stick and donâ€™t realise we are rich already.
I am suddenly seeing the real richness and abundance in my life in the realisation of all that I already have, especially because I have Jesus. I donâ€™t want to miss realising how rich I truly am because I am using the wrong measuring stick. Because I am staring at my neighbours driving porsches and Hummers (seriously) while we drive Mr. Potato Head. Because I would like to be able to eat out lots and often and I want new clothes every month. If you think you arenâ€™t rich because thatâ€™s what you lack, think again! If you have more than five shirts in your closet, you are better off than most.
The Sermon in a Nutshell: If youâ€™re sitting on your own computer, in your own place, taking the opportunity to read this today, I have a feeling the Lord may have already abundantly supplied your needs — I just hope you realise it!