God is Able
God's Word has some time-tested suggestions as to handling the current economic uncertainty. Read more in today's devotion about how God's More Than Able Resources outweighs any inflationary concerns!
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work (2 Cor. 9:8, NIV).
You are reading this devotional out of habit or perhaps to get some good news, am I right? You don’t really want to hear from a college economics student, do you? Yes, I graduated from the College of Agriculture at Kansas State University in the last century. I did go on to pick up an M.Div. at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City.
Just a starting point from today’s economic news. When comparing the cost of goods and services in 2021 to expected costs this year, Bloomberg economists said the average U.S. household will spend $5,200 more this year or $433 more per month. Others have estimated our monthly consumer costs will increase by $700 over the prior year, 2021. I would venture to guess that (like me) none of you have a salary or income stream that will automatically increase your take home pay to help compensate for these added expenses.
What does this mean for you, for me, and for the church? Well, it could mean eating more beans, rice, and Ramen Noodles. It could also mean that we go further into debt. And for the church it could mean fewer dollars coming in for the budget. And yet, I don’t worry about any of these possibilities as I have learned a lesson of giving that has given me confidence both in and also through God’s word.
When I married my wife, I discovered from her a couple of economic principles that I did not learn in college. First, you cannot outgive God. She was a tither. I was a giver. She taught me along with other mentors early in my life that we are to give God the first fruits (Deut. 26:10). I have witnessed time and time again how God provides when I choose to give. We have been blessed to bless others. For example, when dining at a restaurant, we like to leave a good tip for the waitress and to show our appreciation for her kind service. And last week, God instructed me to give a donation to a local church in our area at an event they were holding. By faith, I emptied my billfold. Do you know the very next day I was blessed by a family with the exact amount that I had given?
Second, generosity becomes contagious. We discuss together in marriage the ministries that we want to support. My wife pays the bills and I reconcile the income and expenses. We have been doing this since taking Financial Peace University with our church. We have seen our arguments about money (usually started by me) simply fade away. You do know that money tends to be the No. 1 reason that marriages breakdown? We have unity in the area of finances, and God always seems to bless us with more to share in His kingdom.
2 Corinthians 9:8 is a section of God’s word where Paul is inviting the church to trust in God’s faithfulness in the area of finances. Beyond finances, there is a lesson here for us to understand and to live out courageously. God wants to bless His followers; He is a God of abundance and not of scarcity. I believe we need to re-experience this truth in the church.
We have the great privilege of sharing the truth, purpose, and meaning of life with the world. We cannot get sidetracked or derailed in the depressive spirit of our present economic condition. Instead, these are times of urgent need. We are the Church that has been given the message of reconciliation. We are the ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20), which is God making his appeal through us to this world. Now is the time to expand our ministry and mission. Now is when our neighbors need to see us living out our faith with them in mind. God is able.
Lean into God by freeing up His resources from your grip to be used more fully in this world. You may not have money to spare, but you have been gifted and called to share your good works with those around you. Keep up the good works even in the midst of an economic recession unlike the Western world has seen since the 1970s. Lead others courageously through your walk of faith. Remember, you can’t outgive God.
Lord Jesus, you took the fishes and the loaves and fed a multitude of hungry people. We still believe that today you are asking us, your Church, to provide for the community around us out of our abundance. Thanks for giving us the faith to trust in your resources. Forgive us when we seek to hoard or to see only scarcity. We pray in your gracious name, Amen.
Rev. James Conley
Pastor, FBC of Delta
Ministry and Missions Facilitator, Western Slope
American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains