Fear and finances…



Scripture: Luke 9:12 The day was drawing to a close, and the twelve came to (Jesus) and said, “Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a deserted place.” 13 But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” 14 For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 They did so and made them all sit down. 16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 And all ate and were filled. What was left over was gathered up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.

Observation: It didn’t look like much, five loaves and two fish. Frankly it could hardly feed Jesus and the 12 disciples, much less the rest of the crowd of thousands. But Jesus saw it differently. He remembered how God the Father always provided for his children. He did so with the Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years, sending manna to eat every day. He would do so now. In giving of what they had available, God the Father would make MORE available to them, not less. Which is how they started with so little, gave it away, and ended up with 12 baskets of leftovers.

Application: This is not a complicated principle. The more we give, the more God makes available to us – not to make us rich, but to provide for our every need as we provide for the needs of others. Generosity abounds in the kingdom of God. Yet, if I’m honest, it can still be a challenge for me to embrace this principle, especially when money is tight. I can find myself holding back because I fear there won’t be enough left over. In fact, I’m pretty sure the Lord will occasionally take me into seasons of lower provision to test my faith in his generosity. It’s easy to be generous when times are flush, but what about lean times?

I also admit there have been times when I have succumbed to the temptation to withhold generosity out of fear. It makes sense to give away less when it seems there’s not enough to begin with. Yet, when I withhold my tithe from the Lord for whatever reason, my situation usually gets worse, not better. I should know this by now, but fear is a powerful driver. I can begin to question if I can depend on the Lord, despite the number of times he has proven his faithfulness.

Maybe that’s you today dear brother/sister. You’ve been holding back giving to God and to others because you’re afraid there won’t be enough left for your own needs. I completely understand, truly. However, I believe the Lord yearns to demonstrate his faithfulness to you if you’ll trust him with your giving. If you’ve been holding back giving, and your situation seems to get worse instead of better, what do you have to lose? You have so much to gain!

Prayer: Lord, the truth is that fear gets the better of us sometimes. Give us grace to trust you for our provision, especially in lean times. Help us to experience your generosity by giving to others as you so abundantly give to us. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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