Matthew 6:11 – “Give us this day our daily bread.” NASU
Proverbs 30:7-9 – “Two things I asked of You, do not refuse me before I die: 8 Keep deception and lies far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion, 9 That I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the LORD?” Or that I not be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God.” NASU
I have listened to many preachers, heard and preached many sermons and messages through my decades on Planet Earth. I have observed that man, generally, preaches one of two gospels. He either preaches the Gospel of Prosperity or Poverty. Of course, there are modifications of those two but at the heart of the message and mentality is often one or the other.
I do not believe that most people believe either completely. Before you attack that statement let me explain. Some seem to believe that it is somehow godly to lack and be in need or want all the time. I have been told by preachers and parishioners that it is not good to have money or possessions because it will make you proud and you will lose your hunger for God. I’ve been told by others that God intends for each of His children to be rich and if you are not rich you are lacking in faith, commitment or relationship with God. I believe both are right and both are wrong at some level. I know that places me in a position that appears to be guilty of vacillating and so vague that my argument provides no benefit. If I left it there, I would totally agree.
I had a church member tell me once they believed that it was God’s job to keep the pastor humble and theirs to keep him poor. I had a minister tell me that God expected the church to ensure that he always had the best of everything even if they didn’t. I am troubled by both views. Jesus’ words throughout the Scriptures reveal that it is God’s desire to bless His children. There are many passages in the Bible regarding God’s desire and willingness to bless us and in Malachi, we are told to PROVE GOD regarding finances and He will open heaven’s windows with blessings beyond what we can contain. Jesus also taught that when we give it will be given back in an overflowing fashion to mention a couple. Proverbs 10:22 is exciting, “The blessing of the LORD, it makes rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.” He said, that we can ask anything and expect the answer and that includes possessions and money. That is not limited to those but they cannot be excluded.
On the other hand, God’s purpose for giving us abundance is not so that we can live as Regals ignoring the plight and needs of others but He gives to us so that we can have the ability to give to every good cause He sets before us. We are told, that those who give to the poor lend to the LORD and God faithfully repays. In the sense that we need to keep everything in perspective suggests that the prayer of the writer of Proverbs 30 is revealing the heart of God. He asks for neither riches or poverty but his heart is crying for something else – PROVISION.
I believe that the Gospel Jesus preached was the Gospel of Provision. He is our Provision as well as our Provider. He is our Health and Healing as well as our Healer. He gives us Guidance and is our Guiding Light. He gives us Hope and is our Hope. He gives us Life and is our Life. Remember what God told Moses when asked: “Who will I tell them has sent me?” He said to tell them that “I AM. I AM THAT I AM.” He is our Provision. The Bible does not tell us to seek first possessions or poverty but the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness. The Bible does not tell us to lift up riches or extol the virtue of lack but to lift up Jesus and if He is lifted up He draws people to Him. Jesus is our PROVISION and no matter what the need HE IS what we need.
I realize that this is somewhat simplistic but my heart is crying out to urge everyone to seek neither poverty or riches but Him who is the giver and sustainer of life. My God, the Bible tells us, shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. There is no need for which He is not the supply. I have stopped preaching or seeking prosperity in material things and reject the mentality that God wants me to live as a pauper. Rather I have determined to Preach Jesus and when I make Him Lord of All and Seek Him first and foremost I live as the Hebrews with NO SENSE OF LACK for I have THE PROVISION.
God, bless you as you enjoy this day in Jesus!