GLEANINGS FROM THE SCRIPTURES
THE WONDER OF GOD’S SUPPLY
By Keith L. Estes
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul writes, "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, to be content…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. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
The text here suggests that contentment is a lesson learned neither in a classroom nor overnight, but through many practical experiences in life.
To be ABASED means literally to discipline one’s self, that is, to tighten the belt in lean times. To ABOUND means to live in prosperity and to have plenty. To SUFFER NEED means to go without. Paul has acquired the skill required for successfully living with little and with much, the latter probably being harder. Thomas Carlyle said, "For one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred that will stand adversity."
God never asks us to give what we don't have. On the other hand He doesn't want us to refuse to share of the little that we do possess out of fear that it won't be sufficient.
C. H. Spurgeon tells of an incident, which occurred in the orphanage, which he sponsored. One day they were in need of food for the children. In God's good providence a huckster stopped Mr. Spurgeon at the local market and said, "Here are six dozen bunches of turnips for the orphans. I hope someone else will supply the mutton." When he arrived at the institution with the turnips, there stood a farmer waiting with a sheep that he had fattened, killed and dressed for the youngsters. A coincidence you say? Yes but who ordered it? There was no human conspiracy or agreement between the huckster and the farmer, for neither knew about the other or his intentions. There may be an affinity between turnips and mutton, but no chemical law so strong that it attracts them to the door of an orphanage at a given hour and time. Surely God had ordered that meal, for the Father of the fatherless by the promptings of His Spirit could command the simplest agencies to provide for His own. Had the huckster not given the turnips, the meal would have been incomplete. God in His wise providence, however, inclined both their hearts to provide the necessary complementary gifts.
To refuse to give mutton because we cannot give turnips, or to withhold turnips because we cannot furnish a sheep, is to forget that God overrules all and directs each one's partial contribution so as to supply the total need. God is a God of detail. Give what you have, and trust the Lord to supply the rest. If you will be faithful in furnishing what you can, He will ask no more of you. It is by the combined giving of all His children that our Lord sets the table for His own.
The Christian's ability of knowing how to live skillfully on little or in prosperity does not mean that we are spiritual supermen. God orders our various situations, and He gives us the strength to be content in them all, trying and perplexing though they may be.
Oswald Chambers writes: “Our heavenly Father knows our circumstances, and if we will stay focused on Him, instead of our circumstances, we will grow spiritually- just as the lilies of the field.”
References: Phil. 4:11-13, KJV, The Holy Bible, The Liberty Study Bible. Our Daily Bread, Nov. 1967.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition