"You can't tell people to trust God to provide economically for them if they live in extreme poverty!" was a recent sentiment that really got me thinking. Does God's road-map for marriage, family, finances, and repentance only work in places where people already live in wealth? Can God really be trusted to provide?
There are four major ideas to consider here:
1. It is always right to apply God's commandments and life principles, no matter what the outcome. When a person builds his life on the rock Christ and His word, his life will last for eternity. Being a Christ-follower is like having wedding vows: "For richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health..." No matter what the outcome, it is always best to live out God's will for your marriage, family, finances, and free time. God can and should be trusted and His word should be obeyed in every area of your life.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27
2. There are promises in the Bible. God promises to be there for you and you can trust Him. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28. In a spiritual sense and in view of eternity with Christ, every bad thing that God allows to happen to His children here on Earth will work out for good. Sometimes, it will be in a long, prosperous life of ministry, and, other times, it will be a difficult journey and an early entrance into Heaven. I've seen Christians living in poverty, with some dying early of preventable diseases. I've also seen Christians living in financial stability and with good healthcare. As Job said, "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21b.
What did Jesus say about trusting God for your food and housing? Jesus promised that you can trust God and went as far as to say for you to not even worry about it. Jesus modeled this during his three years of ministry. He depended entirely on the Father to provide for His food and housing, while doing His life God's way. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. 25 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
What does Jesus specifically say about daily provision? Will God provide for someone He calls from a rich family? Will God provide for Christ-follower who lives in poverty? Yes! Emphatically, yes! Will that provision occasionally be an exit to Heaven, I think so.
3. Along with promises, the Bible teaches principles for living. God's principles for living generally produce positive, physical results. Some truths in the Bible are principles and some are also promises. If you apply God's commands for living with and sacrificially loving your spouse, you will usually have a good marriage. Also, if you obey God's commands for being ethical and diligent in your job, you'll usually be successful in your career. Likewise, if you obey God's principles for living debt free, being a cheerful giver, and being a wise spender, you'll usually see financial blessing in your house. David said, "I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread." Psalm 37:25
4. As humans, we view physical health and finances as the proof for God's blessings, which is a false idea. In God's economy, poverty is sometimes the daily experience of a Christ-follower. The Bible speaks of some heroes of the faith as people who were "were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins,destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground." Hebrews 11:37-38.
To sum up, YES, God can be trusted to provide for the Christ-follower who obeys the Bible. God promises to provide physically and spiritually. And, if a believer implements God's principles, he is likely to see physical success.
We're a family on mission to bring the good news of Jesus to the Philippines.