One of the emotions that some people can easily feel in regard to giving money away is the fear of not having enough. Although others may seem to spend money a little too easily, some find that generous gifts, the shouting of meals or coffees, or giving to charities or churches, is too difficult. This might especially be so if the sums have been done and the budget is genuinely tight. Naturally, sensitivity is needed to the hardship that many feel and that is often quite real. We certainly want to recognise that most people would love, in their heart of hearts, to be more generous, if only they could.
However, there are times when the fear of not having enough overtakes the very trust in a God who provides all our needs according to His riches in Christ (Philippians 4:19). Trust is at the core of living in relationship with God who often appears to challenge our obedience in tough times. What seems to be the breaking of us, can actually be the making of us.
In 1 Kings 17, there is a story of a woman who is asked to provide food for the prophet, Elijah, in the midst of a drought. She doesn’t think she can, because of the little she has. Elijah’s response, as insensitive as it might seem, is, “Do not fear.” As she obeys God, He miraculously increases her provisions, ensuring that there is an abundant supply.
And here is an important principle. We may have calculated a budget and rationalised why we can’t do certain things with it, but when we look at what we can do and what God might ask of us, we make room for His miraculous provision. I have always given at least 10% and up to 20% of my income away each year, not because I can afford to, but because I can’t afford not to. On one level, this is faith in action with obedience to the Bible’s clear instruction that 10% is the minimum giving to church (people only argue this point to give less, not more!) and that generosity is a must-do way of life for a Christian. But this is done, too, because it tests me to trust for the miraculous provision of God whose aim is not to make me richer than I need to be, but to make me aware of how rich I already am. My priorities then adjust to what I say I believe so that they prove what I actually believe.
And there is no doubt that ‘faith’, tested in the real world of financial pressure, is God’s great antidote to the fear of not having enough to meet our needs.