Without fail, we desire and pray for God’s provision for our daily needs. We pray for jobs that we may earn a living. When our business fails, we pray for His help to meet our financial needs. When we face emergencies, we cry out for God’s quick provisions. We do these because God’s Word teaches us that “this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us” (1 John 5:14). But our desires and prayers are not always in line with God’s will and His ways. There is nothing wrong with asking for God’s direction, but it is wrong to go our own way without waiting for God’s answer. So, when we turn our finances over to God, we must also be willing to accept His direction. Too often, we impatiently seek our own way without any clear direction from Him, sometimes even borrowing money to do His work. Christians have forgotten that God says He will not allow His work to be frustrated for the lack of money. A discourse between our Lord and His disciples confirms this truth – “When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing” (Luke 22:35). “God’s work done in God’s way shall lack no supply.”
If we understand God’s view on money and how He uses the need for money and its provision to enhance our relationship with Him, we will be able to recognise God’s directives better.
Purposes for which God uses our need for money and its provision
It is our wrong response to money that causes the problems. To manifest the right response in times of need or provision of finance, we must know God’s plan for allowing such situations. Because God is in control of all things, we believe that He uses such situations for our benefit in several different ways (Romans 8:28).
God uses the need for money to strengthen our trust in Him. Jesus 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. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:31-33). God permits needs in our lives to test and to renew our trust and commitment to Him. “O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing” (Psalm 34:9-10).
God uses the lack of money to chastise us for not honouring Him or for not giving unto His work. “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me” (Malachi 3:8-9; see also Haggai 1:2-12).
God uses the provision of money to prove His tender mercies, goodness and faithfulness. The Scriptures tell us that it is the goodness and mercies of the Lord that bless us with all good things. “Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 136:25). “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
Moses reminded Israel that it was God who would give them the power to acquire wealth – “But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day” (Deuteronomy 8:18). Our security is in God, not our bank accounts. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). Discovering the Lord’s faithfulness as He provides for our financial need is a wonderful faith-building experience (see Nehemiah 9:15; Psalm 112:5-9; Malachi 3:10).
God uses the provision of money to build brotherhood and unity among Christians. “But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality” (2 Corinthians 8:14). God will use the abundance of one Christian to supply the needs of another (see Acts 11:28-30; Romans 15:26; Acts 4:34). Surplus money in our lives has been given by God for the purpose of helping those who are in need (Philippians 4:14- 18; Galatians 6:10).
God uses both the need and provision of money to provide direction. There is probably no way God can direct our lives more meticulously than through the abundance or lack of money. Too often, we believe God directs our lives through the abundance of money, but He also leads us down His directed path by withholding money. This truth can be found in the Lord’s parable of the “Prodigal Son”, whose poverty providentially worked against his backsliding to bring him back to his home.
God uses money to clarify spiritual maturity. Many temptations clamour for the Christian’s attention. A great deal can be learned about our personal character and spiritual maturity by noticing how we handle money and determine financial priorities. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
God uses the provision of money to develop our trustworthiness. This principle is important because our lives generally revolve around making, spending, saving and using money. If He can trust us with money, then He can trust us with greater responsibilities and His true riches. This is what Christ has taught when He said, “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon (riches), who will commit to your trust the true riches?” (Luke 16:11).