Summary: God is big enough to provide for us in any and every circumstance.
All men live in one of two tents - content or discontent. Which one do you live in? The contented man looks beyond his circumstances and sees a better day; the discontented man looks at his circumstances and sees no other way. The contented man understands the purpose for which he was born; the discontented man looks at other’s success with a face that is filled with scorn. The contented man has surrendered to a purpose that demands his very best; the discontented man has selfishly hoarded much, and grasping for more, will not rest. The contented man has placed his values on things that will forever last; the discontented man has placed his values on things that will soon be past. The contented man is anchored to clear goals and hardly is ever swayed; the discontented man has no goals that anchor him and many times becomes dismayed. The contented man counts his blessings and names them one by one; the discontented man counts other’s blessings and thinks he has no fun. All men live in one of two tents - content or discontent. Which tent do you live in?
I am convinced that it is the desire of God that all His children might know the contentment that Paul knew. Paul knew a contentment which comes from the assurance that God was big enough to provide for him. God was the source of Paul’s supply.
As Paul testifies here about the fact that God is big enough to provide for us, he tells us three things about the supply God makes available to each of His children.
1. The sufficiency of God’s supply - vs. 11-12
Paul testifies that he had learned through experience that no matter what the circumstance of life, no matter what his needs, God’s supply is always sufficient. Paul tells us that God is big enough to meet our needs precisely.
The Scriptures are filled with stories of God meeting the needs of His children precisely. Let’s reflect on only one (Exodus 16:13).
Research into the migratory habits of quail in the Middle East makes the miracle of the Lord’s provision all the more exciting. Each autumn, the birds fly from central Europe to Turkey. There, they prepare for a crossing of the Mediterranean. The flight across the ocean is done in a single flight at a very high speed. Any bird that falters falls into the sea. When the birds approach the land, they drop down in altitude but maintain their high speed. As soon as they are over the coastland they land exhausted and completely drained. They lie motionless for hours while they regain their strength. For years Bedouins who lived near the coast harvested the easy prey, until a law was passed which prohibited quail trapping. The amazing thing about the biblical account of the provision of the quail is that the birds must have kept flying until they reached the wilderness of the Sinai where they became the source of survival for the hungry Hebrews in the desert. How did the quail know to fly on farther after their already exhausting flight? Only the Lord, who created them could have pressed them on to be His blessing for His people in desperate need.
But not only are the pages of Scripture filled with testimony of God’s precise provision for His children. So are the pages of history. Of these countless stories, consider one.
In his book, George Muller: Delighted in God, Roger Steer relates a wonderful story about God’s precise supply. George Muller was a German pastor who came to Bristol, England and founded five orphanages. In chapter nine of his book, Steer reviews a period of struggle which began in the summer of 1838. He quotes from Muller’s diary: “August 18, 1938 - I have not one penny in hand for the orphans. In a day or two again many pounds will be needed. My eyes are up to the Lord. Evening. Before this day was over, I received from a sister 5 pounds. She brought it, little knowing that there was not a penny in hand, and that I had been able to advance only 4 pounds, 15 shillings and 5 pence for house-keeping in the boy’s orphan house, instead of the usual 10 pounds. August 23 - Today, I was again without one single penny, when 3 pounds was sent from Chapham, with a box of new clothes for the orphans.” During the whole period, according to Muller, the children knew nothing of this trial. In the midst of one of the darkest periods, he recorded, “these dear little ones know nothing about it, because their tables are as well supplied as when there was 800 pounds in the bank, and they have lack of nothing.”
But we need not look only to the saints of the past to find testimony to the sufficiency of God’s supply. No doubt, this room is filled with believers who could tell stories of times when God net their needs precisely. But let’s just hear one.