Two months ago we were awash in funds, our on-line business was booming and we were able to give freely and abundantly to various people and causes. Now those funds are tight and growing tighter daily. Our business has slowed to a crawl and we have had to cut back on everything including how much we can give above the tithe. The question that I pose is this; is this downturn a result of some secret sin on our part or simply part of the ebb and flow of life?
Contrary to what the government and media report, there is a general slump in business activity going on. The CEO of one of the country’s biggest retail stores said the first ten days of February were the worst ten day period in the company’s history. I frequent various stores and I am amazed at how empty they are, even during sale events. For many reasons, people are just not wanting to spend their money right now on frivolous things.
Stores are running continuous sales trying to lure customers back. Despite all these tactics, people are being very careful right now because things are tight or they are feeling the effect of incredibly high gas prices and other inflationary things. People are cautious right now and for good reason.
Although we have plenty to meet our needs, we are feeling the effects of a constricting economy. What we do not have is abundance over what is needed. Is that a bad thing? Is it indicative of being horrible people to not have more than what we need? We are so conditioned in our culture to believe we need more and more and more that when we only have what we need we think something is wrong.
The apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11-13, 19:
[blockquote]Not that I speak in respect to want, for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 19 But my God shall supply all your need, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus[/blockquote]
God gives no guarantees that we will always have abundance in this life but He does promise to meet our needs. We must learn that there will be times of plenty and times of need but either way, it is Christ who gives us strength and God who meets our needs. We are to be good stewards of what God has given us and then look to Him to take care of us.
If we truly believe God is our sufficiency, we will not panic in times of need and look at times of plenty as a way to give more. That, I believe is the answer to my riddle.
[quote]Is it indicative of being horrible people to not have more than what we need? We are so conditioned in our culture to believe we need more and more and more that when we only have what we need we think something is wrong.[/quote]
I was thinking along those same lines earlier this morning. We are quick to jump to conclusions that if anyone struggles with anything, they are being punished.
If we never suffered need or experienced hardship, we could not truly learn that God is our sufficiency. I've been learning that at a deeper level these past five years. At the moment, I think I might be feeling a bit like the widow felt when she was taking her little bit of oil and pouring it into vessel after vessel.
I remember when my husband lost his job several months ago and I mentioned to you that perhaps I would have to cut back on some pledges I had made in regard to CB as well as some ministries I support. You challenged me by saying something to the effect of, if God was going to provide my needs, wouldn't He provide enough for me to do those things as well?
For the past two months, one way or another He has... and every need is being met day by day by day.
The question that I pose is this; is this downturn a result of some secret sin on our part or simply part of the ebb and flow of life?
No it is not a result of sin but the condition of the worlds economy that is under the control of God and he will use this experience that you find yourselves in as a type of testing and refining of your faith for him to provide all our needs. The more important question is - will I trust God completely to see me through or will I try to slog it out through my own efforts and ideas? Do we really believe God will honour his own word?
blessings - remember God will shelter you under his wings.
"If we truly believe God is our sufficiency, we will not panic in times of need and look at times of plenty as a way to give more. That, I believe is the answer to my riddle. "
Absolutely agree with you here.
If we never learn to trust God in those lean times, how would be be able to trust Him in the fat times. Would we just be fearful of again facing those lean times and just hide away what we have instead of giving?