I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (Philippians 4:10-12, NIV)
People must get tired of me talking about money, but these days it is an unavoidable subject in our household. With the sudden loss of my husband's job (eighty-five percent of our income) several weeks ago, we have understandably been preoccupied with making adjustments, making do, and leaning heavily on God's provision not only for our daily needs but also for jobs to help us recover the income and medical insurance we lost so we can get back on our feet.
We have been humbled by the generosity of those who have given to us in our season of want, especially when we know they are struggling themselves. Those who have given sacrificially absolutely radiate the joy Jesus spoke of when He said, "It is better to give than to receive." Their joy makes me long even more for the day when God blesses us financially so we can be a blessing to others!
In Proverbs 3:27-28 we are instructed, "Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”— when you already have it with you." Instead, "Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7).
Although I am no financial expert, I have been around the block enough to know that money works better for people who learn first to give, then save, then spend. Fortunately for us, even though we had not saved the recommended three to six months worth of income when we suffered this setback, our commitment to tithe to our church and give to others in need has resulted in God's gracious provision for us during this difficult time.
Have we learned our lesson? Yes. We have certainly learned that it is wise to live within one's income and wiser still to save for a rainy day. And we have also learned that even when we sometimes fail to be good stewards of God's provision, He never fails to fulfill His promises to provide for our needs and to return blessings to us when we joyfully give to others. We are living proof that God is good even when we are sometimes not.
If you find yourself in a financially-challenging position, talk to God about it. Ask Him to reveal any areas of improvement you can make. Surrender your material possessions and money to Him, giving as freely as you can, even during those times when it seems you cannot. If God leads you to meet someone's need, be obedient and enjoy the special blessing reserved for those who give.
God has given us everything we have -- our gifts, talents, and material possessions -- so that we can be the hands and feet of Jesus to those around us. You have been blessed so that you can be a blessing! What are you waiting for?
Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com
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