God’s Provision; February 21, 2020

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

This whole section on giving is true and important, but it has been used and abused by so many people who were in “ministry” for the money that it almost leaves a bad taste in my mouth. People who want you to give “seed money” to them so they can buy a better private jet are an abomination. That’s not to say that private jets don’t have their legitimate uses, even for nonprofit ministries, but it is to say that pleading for money to acquire them disgraces the name of Jesus before the world. That said, some people fail to give to the Church because they don’t really believe this verse. God is not stingy, and He has a literally infinite supply of everything. We need to remember that when Paul wrote this section he wasn’t seeking funds for himself personally, but to be able to take those funds to Jerusalem to help the believers in Judea. What he says in this verse focuses not on giving itself, but on God’s supply and the purpose for it, and that supply certainly isn’t limited to money. As Paul says, it’s all grace in all things at all times. That does include finances, but it also includes wisdom and knowledge and patience and insight and healing and endurance and strength, and the list can go on and on. And the purpose of all that is that so we will “abound in every good work.” God doesn’t give us stuff of any sort just to inflate us (or our bank account) but to equip us to do the work he has for us to do. As Paul wrote so memorably to the Ephesians, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10) If we feel our supply is limited, we need to check and see if we are using what we have already been given in the way God intends. Jesus’ parable of the talents (Matthew 25:13-30) is very explicit on that account, almost frighteningly so. We are not to sit on God’s provision in any area, but rather seek Him to know how He wants us to use it, and be faithful to follow through.

Any time I talk about God’s provision I remember a period of special blessing that He gave us years ago. I had resigned a pastorate over the race issue, and for the next nine months I had only intermittent, temporary employment of various sorts. One thing God showed us in that time was that we didn’t need money exactly, we needed what we would normally get with money, and He provided it: places to stay, heating oil, food, gasoline, and on and on. During that time He also provided various opportunities for ministry, and trained us in the grace of prayer with fasting. It was a blessed time indeed! It wasn’t always fun at the time, any more than my basic training in the Army was always fun, but it grew us and equipped us for our ministry here in Omura, which followed that period. We have learned that if we are listening obediently to God, the provision of every sort is there. As the refrigerator magnet says, “Where God guides, He provides.”

Father, thank You indeed for Your abundant provision. Even I tend to doubt it at times, and I certainly know better! Thank You for the new missionary family from Taiwan, and thank You for the physical healing the father in that family currently needs, because You have already provided it. Thank You for Your grace poured out in other situations as well, more than I could list. May we all trust You fully, not holding anything back, because we know that Your supply is unlimited, and there is much work to do. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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