We all know that God promises to provide for us, to supply all our needs. But just what does that look like in our life? What needs is this verse talking about?
What God Promises to Provide & The Concept of Profit
According to I Timothy 6:8, we are to be content with having food and clothing. Jesus also promises provision of food and clothing in Matthew 6:25-34 if we seek His Kingdom first. Food and clothing? We certainly need a lot more than that!
"What about housing, cars, cell phones, and vacations?" you ask.
That is extra blessing that is provided by surplus money, or what the Bible calls profit. God provides extras through your personal hard work. When it says that God supplies our needs, He is promising to provide food and clothing for us. Not that God is limited to only this provision. He also provides shelter, transportation, ways to communicate, and times of refreshing, but He is not limited by our definition of "what is best for us" or "what we really need." These things are most often the reward of hard work.
The only reason I bring this up is because I have seen God provide the need for shelter through hospitality. Family or friends open their home to a homeless family. Many times people have asked me why this happens, assuming that God promises that we will have our own home. I have not found that promise in Scripture, though I so often see God provide a home for His beloved people.
"All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty," (Proverbs 14:23 NIV)
God supplies our "extras" as payment for industriousness. This hard work is not only the work we do for a paycheck. God rewards elders financially for caring for God's flock, especially those who teach and preach (I Timothy 5:17). Running sound, ushering, teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir, and volunteering at a soup kitchen are all opportunities to work hard and receive a profit. Homemakers may not receive a paycheck, but they do receive a salary from the Lord, who rewards their labor!
Those who serve faithfully in their local church often receive "surprises" from the Lord such as gift cards, movie tickets, furniture, haircuts, used cars, or, even, vacations. God loves to bless us!
Why Work is So Important
"For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: 'If a man will not work, he shall not eat," (II Thessalonians 3:10 NIV).
Why is hard work important to God? My grandfather always said, "Idle hands are the devil's workshop." Too much free time can lead to the pursuit of pleasure, harming our character. But working hard and receiving payment in the form of a check, or as a blessing from God, teaches us to value what we are given. We associate hard work with needs being met. There is no such thing as a free lunch. If we receive something for free, it is because someone somewhere worked hard and let their profit go to you.
I believe that God wants us to be grateful for everything we receive, understanding and appreciating the price that is paid. When we reward laziness with financial or material blessing, we harm the recipient of the gift. It would be better to imitate God, providing a job, however small or big.
Provision for Kingdom Work
It has been my observation, over the years, that God provides all we need to faithfully fulfill all ministry obligations he has called us to. In our life, we have had supernatural provision so that we always have a home (our ministry involve large amounts of hospitality), bills paid, and a telephone (counseling is another big part!). A lady whose act of service is to drive people to church will see God miraculously provide for car repairs and gas. She may even receive free vehicles.
You see, God will provide for His work to be accomplished. He is very interested in seeing His agenda completed.
"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work," (II Corinthians 9:7-8)
As we tithe, give, and work cheerfully to extend God's Kingdom, He will give us whatever is necessary to fulfill the ministry He has for us. Now, keep in mind, His plan may be different than our plan. Often we want to fulfill our own dreams, rather than take the path of service that He wants us to take.
God will supply our needs, and many times the "extras" too, especially whatever is necessary to fulfill ministry in His Kingdom.
Merey (Meredith Ludwig Curtis)