Matthew 6:25-33. 25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
……………….32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
For some time now I have been writing about increase, abundance and God’s plan for this season of my life. As I write I know there a few believers who have been following what I have been saying and can personally identify with the stories I have been telling. I am not sure everyone fits in but my hope is that as many as come into contact with this will begin to open their minds to Godly possibilities.
In trying to open my mind to these possibilities, I have been through several classes with the Holy Spirit, just to catch God’s drift. My latest class had to do with provision and prosperity. I have always thought of them interchangeably but they are not the same. Let me take you though my latest journey.
I remember when we moved into our first house. We had so little. We had been married for a while and were trusting God for our home. Where were we living? With friends of ours who were also newlywed at the time. They lived in a lovely three bedroom flat and asked us to move in with them. An offer we felt would last a few weeks went on for 10 months before we could finally move.
We moved into the lovely little two bedroom back flat having paid a little over half of the rent. We gave the landlord our word that we would pay up in three weeks. At the end of three weeks we had no money in sight. We had used up all our goodwill, had asked everyone we know, had tried every available option to raise money to no avail. I was seven months pregnant and we were distraught not knowing what to do. I was not working at the time that did not make things better.
Eventually, a friend of ours who had been out of town for a while, happened to be in town, stumbled onto a note we had dropped for him a while back, and decided to drop by on his way back out of town. He heard our dilemma and decided to bail us out, that was how God met our first need for rent as a couple. That was provision.
Since then, we have experienced God’s provision in so many areas of our lives. I could write loads of books about that. Having experienced his provision over and over, there is a tendency to call that prosperity but I recently understood, it is not. Even though my housing needs may have moved from a little back flat to a house on the peninsula, my rent being paid is God’s provision for me not prosperity.
Prosperity on the other hand means an empowerment for increase. When a man is prosperous, He has an anointing, an unction for increase. He effortlessly multiplies and increases. He is fruitful simply by being alive. Let me explain. I once went to Elizade to window shop with a friend who wanted to buy a Toyota RAV4. One of the salesmen showed us what they had. As he was showing us around, we noticed a white Camry car (this was about seven years ago) packed in the show room. The salesman in trying to make conversation, told us the Camry belonged to one of our known men of God in Nigeria. A member of his congregation had bought the car for him but it was still packed in the show room. That is prosperity. The car is not the issue, but the fact that the man of God can inspire someone going to buy a car for him which is not borne out of need, means there is an unction on His life. His needs are no longer a problem for Him. He no longer thinks of or even prays for His everyday material needs, they just show up. All he has to do is think it and it will manifest. That is the place God wants to get us to.
Don’t get my obsession with materials things wrong. Prosperity to a large extent is about material things. Every time God referred to prospering His people He referred to physical, material things- houses, vineyards, crops, animals, barns, children etc. It was always God’s plan to prosper His people but a lot of the time, we tend to think His provision is His prosperity, especially when our needs are big. It is not. The fact that my need is now to buy a house rather than rent a little one does not mean I am now in the realm of God’s prosperity. I have simply moved up on the provision platform.
What does God think of making provision for material needs for us? He says we should ask and we will receive. He knows we tend to worry about these needs, so He tells us not to worry because He knows we have need of them. Instead we should look for His Kingdom and these things will come to us. To Him, our needs are no big deal. That is why when He met material needs in the Bible, there was not much ado. He just did them. On the other hand His healing miracles were usually accompanied by a lot of encouragement to walk in faith. But when it came to material things, He just did them.
When Elijah needed food, God commanded ravens, (usually scavengers) to provide food for him 1 Kings 17. When that was over, He got the widow of Zarephath to feed him. The meal was about to run out, He just kept the supply going until the famine was over.
When the widow in 2 Kings 4, had the material problem of her late husband’s debts, she cried out to Elisha, the Prophet. She was crying but it was no big deal to God. He asked her to borrow containers and pour the little oil she had left into as many containers as she was able to get. The oil just kept multiplying. She sold the oil and paid her husband’s creditors.
Whenever Jesus had needs, He simply gave instructions. When He needed to pay tax, He caught a fish with a coin in it Matthew 17:24-27. When He needed a donkey, He sent for one Matthew 21:1-3. When He needed a venue for the last supper He simply requested for the place to be prepared for them Matthew 26:17-19. When He needed to feed a crowd, He simply multiplied the food Matthew 14;13-21. All these things were His material needs-food, money, house, transportation, the things we pray for every day. He just did them.
When Peter had toiled for fish all night and caught nothing, all Jesus asked him to do was to cast the same net again and this time he had a huge catch Luke 5: 4-11. It was just an instruction. What would we say about Jesus? He was prosperous, even though He was lowly. The unction for increase and multiplication was on Him. Those who say He was poor don’t understand.
All He asks of us is to seek His Kingdom and its righteousness and these things will be added Matthew 6:33. For Him, it does not require anything other than that. As the needs arise, He will sort them out. We tend to worry and that leads us to toil. We sow, we pray, we fast, we do all kinds of things, to build faith to receive- anointing oil, prayer shawl, fast, bind, loose, when all He asks us to do is watch out for His kingdom. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with all these things in themselves but what is our motivation. We are simply trying to drown the voice of our worrying by all our ‘spiritual activity’. He does not require them.
In today’s text, He asks us to let the birds and the flowers teach us. Birds do not toil. They do not sow, nor store in barns yet they eat. The flowers are here today and gone tomorrow, yet none of the clothes we wear are as beautiful as they are. They never worry, but their needs are met. That is the way He always intended to provide our needs-as they arise, while we are watching for His kingdom. If we cannot get it right at the provision level, then the prosperity level is just a dream. No matter how many conventions, seminars, revivals and what nots we attend, they cannot help us.
The good thing is that God desires we all get to the place of prosperity where material things do not limit us, where we live in seasons. Once it is time for something to happen, it happens. But we grow from the provision stage to the prosperity stage. How do we translate from the former to the latter?
That is where process comes in. We will be trained during the provision stage- through trials. They will build us to the point where the next natural thing is the prosperity stage. It takes time, but growth is taking place. The trials will keep us focused on the Kingdom of God and its righteousness. The training period is not usually comfortable. We learn Godly principles at this stage. Sowing and reaping comes in here. We build character at this stage. We develop our faith at this stage. We become strong at this stage. That is the period we learn not to worry about our needs as we increasingly experience God’s care for us.
I am sharing my learnings with you because I believe I am in the final test for the provision stage. I have been here for almost three years. It’s not like a normal school year. Each stage can take forever, till God is convinced you are fine. I know because He told me. He has been saying a lot of things to me that tell me I am about to enter the prosperity stage. The door is wide open, but I need to ascend from provision to prosperity mentality. That is what the last few months have been about. I believe the things I have learnt will benefit us all, especially those who understand their process times. We are in this together. At the end of the day, it is by His grace. It’s all the workings a mighty loving Father whose heart towards us is to bless us abundantly. Hallelujah. Ck