We’re continuing to look on at the topic of fear in the area of provision and finances. God wants you and I to live fearless lives! He doesn’t want us to live lives in bondage because of fear; that’s what fear does. It holds you in captivity and prevents you from living in the freedom that God’s got for you; fear will prevent you from fulfilling your destiny. One of the biggest areas of fear for people is in the area of finances. The things I am sharing with you are things that I have learnt. I have learnt not to fear about provision whether I have little or whether I have much.
A few years ago, there was a month where the ministry’s income dropped drastically. My associate and I were looking at the income and at the expenses and things looked bleak. What the church was paying me was enough to cover the shortfall of expenses and so my wife and I decided to sow our salary back to the church that month and we would trust God for provision. My associate wasn’t keen on the idea but he had no choice and I forbid him to tell anyone. We are not into the “hint ministry” and so we never told anyone about our situation; we told God and trusted Him to provide. That’s what we felt to do and we saw God’s provision in amazing ways! People didn’t know what they were doing when they brought us meals, gave us cash that they “felt” to give us, or blessed us in other ways. We didn’t go around telling people about our situation; we chose to trust God. We didn’t lack for anything. We had more than enough; all that we needed. We were blessed, blessed, blessed! And it wasn’t because of our savings either, because we had none! God sent provision from unlikely places and it was awesome. At the end of that month, we were able to use that testimony to encourage our full-time team who were all “living by faith” on partnership.
Here’s the thing that you need to understand: it doesn’t just work for me and my family because we’re in ministry full-time. This works for all of us because we’re children of God!
Matthew 6:27-30 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
You cannot add any time to your life by worrying about it. 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? Look at the wildflowers in the field. See how they grow. They don’t work or make clothes for themselves. 29 But I tell you that even Solomon, the great and rich king, was not dressed as beautifully as one of these flowers. 30 If God makes what grows in the field so beautiful, what do you think he will do for you? It’s just grass—one day it’s alive, and the next day someone throws it into a fire. But God cares enough to make it beautiful. Surely he will do much more for you. Your faith is so small!
It says, “why do you worry about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they neither toil nor spin. And yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God, so clothes the grass of the field, which is today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, the fire, will he not much more clothe you, oh you of little faith?” When I had just gone into ministry, a few years before I met my wife, I had the opportunity to learn these things. I remember worrying about clothing, saying, “Lord I don’t have enough clothes. My clothes are shabby. My shoes have holes in them…” I was starting to worry about all of this and then I read these verses and it was like a loving spiritual slap in the face. Think about it: if you’re worried about clothing then Jesus is saying that you’ve got really little faith; you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel with regard to your faith. If you cannot trust God to provide in these insignificant things then you can’t trust for more important things!
Yes, you can believe for clothes and get clothes. You can believe for a house and get a house. You can believe for provision and finances and receive it, but we need to move beyond believing for stuff and trusting for stuff and we’ve got to move into the realm of trusting for people! Trusting for their hearts to be open and for us to receive and create opportunities to minister the Gospel to them. Maturity uses faith to trust for opportunities and open doors to further the gospel. We should be believing for increase in finances so that we can look after our families well and be able to give more into the kingdom. We need to graduate past self-centeredness with regard to trusting God for ourselves, and we need to move into the realm of eternal perspective.
Now, when I first went into ministry this is where I was at, so I was trusting God for food and rent money. There is no condemnation if that’s where you are but God wants to grow you past that place! I trusted for clothes and shoes and got them. I’ve trusted for cars and got them. Now, I use most of my energy to trust God for opportunities to further His Gospel. When I have needs I simply thank God that He is my Father and that He is looking after me. I declare my faith in His goodness and then I continue to get on with what He has called me to.
One day, I was short on rent money and so I simply prayed and said, “Thank You, Father, that you are my provider. I’m going to go and minister and do what you’ve called me to do…” And I went out and did some ministry. Nobody knew about my situation and when I got home I found an envelope full of cash in my room, with my name on it. Enough money for rent and food for the month. A couple of weeks later, I had a friend contact me and say, “Hey, I’ve collected some money from a number of friends for your birthday. We decided we just wanted to bless you and take you shopping to buy some shoes or whatever you need.” I didn’t look shabby and hadn’t told people of my situation or prayer and God was reaching out and saying, “I know that you need some clothes and so here you go! I’m going to provide for you!” Since then we’ve seen God providing in so many different ways. I have countless testimonies of God’s miracle provision!
The other day we were in a store as a family when we saw kid’s shoes. William, my eldest, said something and my wife also mentioned that we’d have to buy him shoes sooner or later. His current shoes were uncomfortable and he hadn’t said anything and so we were just going to wait for him to outgrow them. As soon as I heard that he was uncomfortable he had new shoes in a matter of a few minutes. Not because I had money budgeted for that but because I love him so much that I would rather make a plan and make sure that he is looked after. My father heart wanted my son to be well looked after. The love inside of me made a plan. And I understand that some parents might not have been able to make a plan as I did, but any good parent would have had an overwhelming desire to make a plan. God so loved you so much that He gave Jesus to rescue you from perishing in sin. He is a good Dad. How much more willing do you think He is to provide for you than I was willing to make a plan for my son? How much more does God want to see you provided for? All you need to do is trust in his goodness.