God gives us material provision not only to meet our own needs, but also to express his generosity toward others. God blesses us so that we will be a conduit of blessing to others. We can trust God that, as we give away what he has given us, he will provide all that we need for ourselves.
God provides for those who help the poor.
The book of Proverbs is full of wisdom for life. A proverb is not an absolute promise, but does explain how things generally work. God has set things up in the world so that, on the whole, people who are generous to the poor are well provided for by God.
Proverbs 28:27 Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to poverty will be cursed.
Proverbs 19:17 If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord—and he will repay you!
You will receive from God in proportion to how you give.
The motive behind giving is very important. We don’t give to God in order to get material wealth from him. The “give to get” mentality is demeaning to God, because we give to honor God and to reflect his generous heart. He deserves the surrender and sacrifice of all we have, whether we ever get anything in return or not. But Jesus taught that the more generous we are, the more generous God will be to us.
Luke 6:38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.
Jesus’ words in Luke 6 apply first and foremost to relationships. The more you give of yourself to others, the more others will sacrifice for you in return. But whatever we invest in, if we invest scantily, our return will be scanty as well.
God gives to us so that we will give it away.
God pours out his resources in our lives, not to enrich us for our own pleasure or comfort, but so that we can enjoy the privilege of distributing his resources to others.
2 Corinthians 9:7-8 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
The Bible’s promise is that God will provide everything we need. Anything above and beyond our basic needs is provided to us by God for the specific purpose of sharing it with others. The problem is that we get greedy. We want to accumulate far more than just what we need. We look to money instead of God for security and significance, so we’re stingy about giving it away.
2 Corinthians 9:11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.
Notice why God enrichs us materially – so that we can always be generous. When we are willing to give God’s resources away, he will trust us with more to give away for him. Of course, there are plenty of non-material rewards for giving to others. For example, we form valued relationships. We have the joy of making a difference. But God also rewards us materially when we give – at least he makes sure we have enough to meet our needs, and more to give away.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Describe some of the ways God has provided for you materially.
- Why do you think God uses his people to distribute his resources to others, instead of just giving to people directly?
- Why do people hesitate to be generous with the material blessing God has given them?
- 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “God will generously provide all you need.” How can we discern how much is required to meet our own needs versus when we’re just being greedy?
- What are some ways this biblical principle of God’s provision could be twisted or abused in the affluent culture of America?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.