I’m talking to ministry folks who may be on the poor side of life right now. Those who are hungry and wondering where their next meal or week’s worth of groceries is going to come from.
Paul’s words in Philippians 4:12 express how so many of us feel, “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” Our journeys through ministry life bring us to those hungry places.
To you who have a bare pantry and nothing but condiments in the refrigerator. Don’t be tempted to rush out and solve this problem yourself! Psalm 37:25 tells us David’s testimony of God’s work for His children.
I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” Psalm 37:25
Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God
Lack of food can be a worry when you feel responsible and your kids are asking for something to eat. The Bible teaches us all Christians should make God and His Kingdom our first priority. Relying on God for food requires the rubber meeting the road and helps us practice what we preach/teach by living in faith.
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? …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
You fill in the blank for what seeking the kingdom of God is for you. You know your own personal need for Bible reading, the ministries you have (including your family), and the opportunities God places for you to be a witness for Him. If all of your monetary resources are dry stop panicking and stay busy doing God’s work. Be satisfied with that obedience and, as stated many times throughout this article, wait on Him to take care of you.
Ask and ye shall receive
Luke 11 gives us a great explanation from Christ about how God gives to His children,
“And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; … If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” Luke 11:9-13
Simply ask, “God, you know we don’t have food for the week, will you please give us the next meal?” Then, wait in faith.
Give and it shall be given unto you.
My single mother worked hard cleaning houses and had just enough money for us to make it. Once I watched her go into our pantry and fill a box with food leaving our shelves nearly bare. She gave the food to our next door neighbor, she was mean and hateful to her kids and had rejected my mother’s friendship with her. Mom, in the middle of the night, left that box of food on her porch. Mom had the kind of faith that God would provide for us because we were His children. She taught me these verses: “ Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Luke 6:38. God always rewarded her generosity and we never were hungry.
God happily blesses those who give, especially those who give in His name, to His people in their time of need. Allow your heart to stay soft toward others. Even in your “poverty” it is good to be in the practice of giving.
A Side Note: One danger in ministry is we may have knowledge at times about who the givers and non-givers are in our church because we are involved in the church finances. Guard your heart against becoming bitter at other families that may not be giving and are faring better than you while you may be struggling to feed your family. God takes care of His servants, so keep your eyes on Him!
Expect only God’s daily provision.
In the account of Elisha’s life in 1 Kings God directs him to the brook of Cherith. He provides him daily meat from the ravens. Then, as the brook dries up He directs him to lodge with the widow and her son. Miraculously her empty containers fill daily with meal and oil with just enough for them to eat that day.
In the account of Israelites’ journey in the wilderness God provided manna for them to eat daily for 40 years! There’s no question God can accommodate you, it’s a matter of when. In the Lord’s prayer it says, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Daily bread, is what we are to pray for, nothing more, nothing less.
Fred and Christine, a couple we know, spoke about how when they were young Christians living in a tiny apartment on a tiny income. They met friends who lived downstairs and regularly both couples would be down to simple items in their pantry. Together they found out they could combine their resources and have a meal, one would bring a loaf of bread, another would supply tomatoes or meat and they would eat simple sandwiches and feast on fellowship. A little humility (admitting to a friend you only have a little) and a bit of creativity may create something delicious.
Don’t beg or broadcast, just wait in prayer.
Reading George Muller’s biography is a help to anyone needing encouragement in trusting God’s provision. He saw prayers answered for daily bread for the orphanage he owned in Germany. The food for the children would run out and each time they would pray specifically for that meal, God would uniquely give to them. When times were tough he would not beg or broadcast to anyone, he would pray. The best way to ask for what you need (like mentioned above) is to do it in your prayer time. Devote time you would ask others to pray for you into asking God instead.
Earlier I mentioned speaking with a friend about your situation in humility. Remember, that is not the same as purposefully dropping hints to other people expecting that they will hand you some cash or invite you over for dinner. Worry often catapults us into asking others to take care of our needs instead of expecting God will. Always use your manners and courtesy, because ministry people do not need to be known as mooches. Prayer is most effective in these situations! When God answers your prayers, you cannot doubt His love.
Be wise with your money.
If you have ever gotten into the money pickle that leaves you with only pickles in your refrigerator then think about your money decisions that lead you to the money pickle… Making wise money choices can still leave you with no money at the end of the month to buy the last week’s worth of groceries, but being an unwise steward can also leave you with empty pockets to pay bills and buy food.
If you struggle in wisely managing your money:
- Ask God for help!
- Learn Biblical principles of money stewardship, do a Bible study or take a class.
- Don’t stop tithing or giving in your local church.
- Budget your funds.
- Limit your splurges and stop spending needlessly.
- Use what you already have.
- Run from the temptation to use credit!
We err, as Americans, often in temperance (self-control) in this area of our lives and sometimes we suffer for our extravagance and make ourselves suffer needlessly. Dedicate some of your time to helping yourself become a wise steward.
I cannot promise how God will feed you. If and when He does, praise Him and thank Him! Share your story of provision with others. AND I would love to hear your story, send me an e-mail and tell me what God has done!