"And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19
I love using this verse to encourage my spirit in rough times. It's always a wonderful reminder, and it also encourages me greatly, because I've seen firsthand how God supplies our needs. I especially love the last part of this verse that is so often recited, but not really understood. According to His riches in glory by Jesus Christ. Wow! It just doesn't get any better than that. God's riches are boundless and limitless, and it was Jesus Christ who made the way possible for God to share those riches with those he loves- us.
As I read chapter four of Philippians today, which by the way, I keep getting drawn to, I re-read the verses leading up to verse nineteen, and I saw the context in which Paul actually used these words. He was talking to the church in Philippi, and thanking them for their support. They had sent him aid and supplies in his times of need, and Paul was letting them know that those offerings had been received, appreciated, and that God would reward them for their diligence in giving.
It's a reminder to us that giving needs to never be far from our minds. For when we give out of our hearts, God sees the cheerful giver and will remember that in our times of need. But even better, God tends to like multiplication.
There were times in the past, where we gave something, only to have it turn around and come back to us multiplied. Once we gave a simple tote of clothes to a family who needed them. They were children's clothing that we weren't using, so we happily gave them when the need came up. A short while later, we saw that Abigail was outgrowing everything in sight, and I started to try and figure out exactly how we were going to be able to afford new clothes for her. God saw to it that the clothes that we gave in love came back to us multiplied as we received about 4 large garbage bags full of clothes for the kids. All of them in great shape, and they either fit, or were large, so they would be grown into. God took care of a need, because we took care of someone elses need. I'd love to see how that other family gets blessed in the area of multiplication!
Still another time, it was a very small act of giving, but I'd noticed the food pantry at church was dangerously low, so I went grocery shopping and filled two grocery bags with enough groceries to give a family of four one weeks worth of lunches and dinners. That winter, we had so many groceries and food items given to us, it was overwhelming. We had a full freezer and pantry the whole time Andy was laid off, and never once had to think about running low on a food item. God saw us giving from the heart when the need was presented to us, and He remembered. When the time came, He blessed us so richly for that small act of giving.
When we are stingy, and keep things to ourselves, the plain fact is that we are not giving God any rights to bless us. We need to open up the door to receiving those blessings by first being generous ourselves, and sharing what He has already given us in the first place. And He certainly sees every time we give. He sees when the children give too. When they go through their money jars, and they are trying really hard to save for something specific, God sees the sacrifice that they make by choosing to give some of those precious dollars in the offering. Sometimes He has given them the very items they were saving for. Other times He's put gift cards or more cash into their hands so they can purchase what they really want- and then some. I love seeing God reward my children for their generosity.
And I love telling stories of how we give, and then we receive. But you know, we don't give so that we can receive. When we give something, we don't sit there with a notebook and write it down, expecting that God will give that back to us within a certain amount of time. We give to give. We give because there is a need that we can meet, and we desire to meet it. Yet, at the same time, I also like to remember later on. For example, when a need comes up within our household, let's say we need gas for our vehicles. I can remember how one time we gave someone a gas card, or one time we slipped someone a few dollars to put gas in their car, and I can remind God of that. I can remind Him that we sowed into someones gas tank, and ask Him that He would remember that and put gas into ours. That helps my faith. That helps me to believe that God does take care of His children and remember all the things that He has done for us in the past.
We have to give to receive, but at the same time, we are perfectly content to just do the giving. If the receiving doesn't happen, that's not why we give in the first place. But if we don't do the giving part, we can't do the receiving part, so the giving unlocks the ability to receive.
God wants to take care of us, He wants to bless us, but He wants us to not be selfish. He wants us to love one another and take care of one another, because He so loves each and every one of us. The next time you feel the desire to give to someone- follow through on it. Give whatever it is, no matter how small, and watch it come back to you multiplied. And then remember how He did that for you- it makes a great story to tell over and over and over.