How Does God Supply All Needs?
This is a promise for givers.
I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
This (Philippians 4:19) is a promise for givers, not for non-givers. It's what God does in return for the expression of your gift. Unfortunately, we often subtract it from its context and take it as a blank check we can cash any time we are in need. It has sometimes been taken to apply to everyone everywhere. It is not that. Half the world goes to bed hungry every night. This is not a promise that God is going to meet all the time every need of every human life. He will not, and permits the world to express its own innate tendencies, hungers and desires.
This is a promise in exact accord with our Lord Jesus' own words in the Sermon on the Mount. Remember what he said: Give and it will be given to you. This is a promise for givers. You give, and God will give back to you. Of course it's understood that we have all received freely from him first, and out of that sense of having received from him, let us give. The Lord says, "Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you." (Luke 6:38)
That is what Paul is saying here. He says you have given to me out of your poverty, out of your lack, at cost to yourselves. I am grateful for that, not because of the gift which in itself was a delightful fragrance to God, but it means that my God will also abundantly give back to you and supply every need out of the riches in Christ Jesus.
The source of supply
Notice the source of supply: my God. Not just God will supply, but God known in personal experience. Not some remote power running the earth, giving to the just and unjust alike, but a personal Father. This is a family matter. This is a promise for the children of God, those who belong to him.
The limits of supply
Notice also the limits of supply: all your needs. It doesn't say, all your wants. Our wants are sometimes far beyond our needs. The great theologian Dr. H.A. Ironside used to say he delighted to walk through Woolworth's dime stores because it was always such a comfort to him to see so many things he could get along without. There are so many wants in our lives, and really so relatively few needs. God has promised to supply your needs, and you must let him decide what your needs are.
The method of supply
Notice finally the method of supply. It's according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. There are many kinds of riches. There are the riches of his goodness which are available to all people. He makes the sun shine and the rain to fall upon the just and the unjust. Then there are the riches of his grace which are available only to sinners who admit their need. God's grace takes over and forgives and cleanses and gives us purity and all we need. Then there is the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. This is available for saints, to those who know him. All that he has in terms of the glory and fullness of his deity is available to any believer. The weakest saint holds in his hands all that the greatest saint ever had. He has Christ, and in having Christ he has everything!
Pray this week:
Father, thank you for all you have given me and will give me. You have not only supplied my every need but you have given me untold riches in Christ. Help me to live as one so blessed that I can say with Paul, “My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
Do we give to others with both care and prayer? Are we giving in order to be rewarded? What should be the motivation that prompts joyful, spontaneous, even costly giving?
Excerpted with permission by Global Media Outreach from Immeasurably More: A Year of Daily Devotions, © 2019, 2014 by Ray Stedman Ministries. All rights reserved. Please visit RayStedman.org for the complete library of Ray Stedman material.