Melvin Newland, an Oklahoma minister, tells about a preacher friend of his who decided to keep track of all the questions he was asked and all the requests people made of him and the church for one week.
“When people stopped by to see him, what did they want? When people called him on the phone, what was on their mind? What was bothering them? What did the people really want?”
Melvin left me hanging a little bit, because he didn’t reveal the result. I wondered what needs people were wanting met by the preacher and the church.
This thought reminded me of a quip of Gladys Kounce, an older sister where I once preached in Tampa. When you would mention to her about getting something, she would ask, “Is it a need or a want?”
In one of the great verses of the Bible the apostle Paul reminds the Philippian brethren about needs. “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19)
The context of this verse is helpful in understanding Paul’s point. He is acknowledging the brethren’s generosity in supporting his ministry. The cared him for and met his monetary and physical needs. In fact, at one time the church at Philippi was Paul’s sole means of support.
But Paul’s wasn’t worried about his needs being met. He had learned to be content. He had encountered many situations and circumstances in his life. He said, “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” (Phil. 4:12).
His strength to find contentment, peace and assurance was rooted in his faith in Christ. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” he confidently declared.
Yet, the brethren were God’s way of blessing Paul. Warren Wiersbe expressed it this way. “Paul does not see this gift as simply coming from Philippi. He sees it as the supply of his need from heaven. Paul’s trust was in the Lord. There is an interesting contrast between Phil 4:18 and 19. We might state it this way if we were to paraphrase Paul: ‘You met my need, and God is going to meet your need. You met one need that I have, but my God will meet all of your needs. You gave out of your poverty, but God will supply your needs out of His riches in glory!’”
“God has not promised to supply all our greeds.” When the child of God is in the will of God, serving for the glory of God, then he will have every need met. Hudson Taylor often said, ‘When God’s work is done in God’s way for God’s glory, it will not lack for God’s supply.’”
It may be a bit difficult for many us in such a prosperous country as the United States to think about being in need. Yet, I have encountered situations where there was a imminent and pressing need. But it has always been met. I suspect many of you could say the same.
Of course, not all needs are physical or material. We have emotional needs. Relational needs. Social needs. Intellectual needs. Spiritual needs. These many needs often converge to cause stress in our lives.
In such cases remember that God promises to meet our needs. In his providence He can exercise His power to deliver the resources sufficient for every demand in our lives.
Furthermore, when I follow the principles revealed in His Word, it’s amazing how “things seem to work out.” God knows our needs. He supplies our needs. And provides every blessing for those needs to be met.
Don’t fret. Or worry. Or complain.
Instead “wait upon the Lord.” And you can exclaim with Paul, “Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman