“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ[b] who strengthens me.”
Do you know how to be rich well?
Do you know how to be poor well?
In times of scarcity, do you cry and lose sleep and get frustrated that it seems like God isn’t coming through for you?
In times of plenty, do you forget to thank God who owns all things and entrusts you as a steward? Do you forget to tithe and give back just a small portion of what belongs to Him anyway?
Maybe some of you are perpetually poor or rich. For me, it comes in seasons. One season it seems the world around me is barren. No matter how hard I try, nothing is bearing fruit. Bills keep coming, but finances are squeezed further and further. The next season there is plentiful fruit and it seems like things are always going to be good and okay. There’s plenty for me to live and to give. (I stole that last line from my mom. It’s a prayer of hers to have enough to live and to give. I love that!)
A lot of us don’t like to talk about finances. It’s a touchy subject. If someone works hard and earns a good salary, we shouldn’t covet that or be frustrated that we are not in that boat with them. We should rejoice for them and with them, because God has provided that for a purpose.
In the same way, if someone has been struggling to find work but just can’t seem to get anything to support their family, we shouldn’t look down on them as if they are “less than” any of the rest of us. If you see your brother or sister in need, and you have the ability, pray about how you can bless them!
Some people are rich in this world’s goods and extremely generous. They are storing up treasures in Heaven. Others are rich but greedy, and sadly they will be the poor and needy in the next life. Still others have little to nothing but give generously out of a loving heart. I see this a lot with people who give to the ministry! Oftentimes it is not the rich who give, but those who have very little, those you would sometimes least expect to be generous. It is truly humbling to witness this! God sees this, and it blesses His heart greatly. In His eyes, they are the richest. Certainly, in Heaven that will be revealed, too.
What does this mean for you today?
Stay grounded in the Lord wherever you find yourself financially.
If you are in trouble with debt or bills piling up, seek godly help and biblical counsel.
Be steadfast through every season. And remember that we don’t always bear fruit. Sometimes a dry season is necessary to clear away the old as God prepares something new in your life. This is true physically, financially, spiritually, and emotionally.
If you have plenty, be a good steward and a generous giver. Remember that wealth can vanish like the wind, so remember to store your treasures in Heaven and invest bountifully in eternity.
If you have little, be thankful for what you have and trust God to provide for your every need as you seek His face and honor Him in your spending. You should also be a generous giver, because God sees and He will take care of you. You can’t out give God.
For further reading on this subject, check out:
- James 2:15-16
- 1 John 3:17
- Malachi 3:10
- Luke 21:1-4.
There are lots more verses on this, so feel free to share your favorites in the comments below!
And one final thought. We should do whatever we do in order to honor God and love people. Our motivation should never be money. Too many times we focus on the temporal when much more important things are at stake. Nonetheless, finances are a reality of our lives that we can’t ignore. We must be good stewards of everything that the Lord gives us, including finances.
And at the end of the day, whatever we have in our hands, we should thank Him, use it to glorify Him and further His Kingdom, and keep our eyes fixed on eternity.