New Hope Notes
A Vision For Provision
Pastor Jon Burgess
A Vision For Provision
Pastor Jon Burgess
October 12 & 13, 2019
Welcome, New Hope and Our Online Audience!
We’re excited to continue the series of Everyday Miracles, and talk about A Vision For Provision. It’s not just about money, but, obviously, provision has to do with money—not so much our lack, but our view. God wants to flip our understanding towards money and rather than living out of scarcity, that we would be living out of generosity—when we see how much our Heavenly Father has given us for all our needs! And we’ll be saying, “God, everything I have is yours, anyway!”
If there’s any place that our trust is tested, isn’t it in finances—in places of provision? If In God We Trust is just a historical reminder of what happened in the past, then we are no longer living in the present tense of trusting our God with our finances! If this is just something that’s printed on our dollar bill rather than written on our heart that, inherently, is the problem, in the first place, and we don’t have A Vision For Provision! Maybe we should plaster In God We Trust on our walls until we get a vision for provision! It’s on our money; but does it say it on our hearts?
In our Life Journal reading, we are in the book of Acts—and my prayer is that the 21st century church would look more like the 1st century church. They didn’t have a lot, but they had a fiery trust in God—that if He said that He would take care them, they believed and didn’t doubt Him, and saw Everyday Miracles—not just the big ones, but also the small ones!
In those days, when a Jew became a Christian (a Jesus follower), that meant leaving their family religion. Very often, they would be kicked out of their family and lose their job (which was wrapped up in their family heritage) and they would become homeless! So while the church is exploding with new converts, there would be more needs for the new believers in the church!
The following scripture grabbed me and said, “Jon, do you trust your God the way they did?”
Acts 4:31-35 NIV says: “ 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. 32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.”
This is the reality of God—no needy person among them! I want to see this kind of reality here at New Hope Oahu. God is saying that He wants to train us; give us a vision for provision; and to have a people who will be used to meet the needs of others. I want to share a story in 2 Kings that will help unlock the vision of Acts 4 called…
The Container Covenant
Following are three covenantal stipulations that God is using to build A Vision For Provision:
1. If I Have A Need I Will Share It. Key is Humility
Sharing your need requires humility—it is humbling to admit to a brother or a sister that you have a need and don’t know how to meet it. That’s a pattern of human behavior whether inside or outside the church. We see this with a widow in…
2 Kings 4:1-2 NIV says: “The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, ‘Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.’ 2 Elisha replied to her, ‘How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?’‘Your servant has nothing there at all,’ she said, ‘except a small jar of olive oil.’”
Rather than going to Elisha with her need sooner, she waited till the last minute to get help from him, and now she was in a desperate situation—the creditors were coming to take her two sons as slaves to pay off the debt! It was embarrassing and she didn’t want anyone to know about her need; yet, sharing is part of the Container Covenant: If we don’t bring it into the light, we cannot make it right!
And Elisha asks, “How can I help you?” Have you noticed this pattern in scripture that Jesus often asks questions when He already knows the answer? A blind man approaches Jesus, and He asks, “How can I help you?” There’s something about the power of confession that allows us walk into a place of humility—one step in humility and God covers the rest of the ground!
Elisha asks the widow, “What do you have in your house?” She says, “Just a little oil.” He is drawing her heart to a place of humility so she could a have a front row seat to a miracle! The place that you are lacking the most and ashamed is the place that God wants to bring a miracle—a breakthrough! It can’t happen without humility (confession to a trusted brother or sister) that’s where it starts. When we give God what little we have, He can do a lot with it! Watch what happens!
2. If I Have A Container, I Will Give It. Key is Community
Elisha asked her to go to her neighbors and ask for empty jars—don’t ask for just a few. Elisha doesn’t explain what to do with the jars. Obedience will be the ingredient needed for the miracle that’s about to take place. Our obedience is not predicated upon explanation. We want explanation, but God is saying, “Can you obey me? Just trust me and the why will come.”
2 Kings 4:3-4 NIV says: “3 Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars.Don’t ask for just a few. 4 Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”
This was a small town and everyone knew about her predicament (great debt and creditor coming to take her sons as slaves to pay off the debt). Can you imagine what the people were thinking about when they saw her coming to their doors? “She’s probably here to borrow some money!” But, can you imagine their surprise when she asks for empty jars!?
The community had no idea that they would be part of a miracle of God that would be written in scripture that Christians in the 21st century would be talking about today! Sometimes, when God asks us to share what we have, we have no idea how God will use it—it could be your talent or ability that God wants to use to answer someone else’s prayer!
We each have limitations, but when we bring what we have to God, He leverages our limitations by multiplication! Just say, “This is what I have; can you use it?” Luke 6:38 NIV says,“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
God wants to give us a Vision For Provision! But sometimes, what we call a random act of kindness inspired by the Holy Spirit and breathed into a common everyday moment—that’s when we find ourselves in the middle of an Everyday Miracle!
3. If I’ve Been Given A Container, God Will Fill It. Key is Unity
When we as people of faith, come into unity (vertically with our God and horizontally with each other) this is where miracle takes place:
2 Kings 4:5-7 NIV says, “5 She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. (Can you imagine this moment? She gets this small jar of oil from the shelf and looks at this empty jar. She feels foolish and was glad she had closed the door so no one could see her! She pours the oil until the jar is filled, and continues to fill all the jars!) 6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.” But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing. 7She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”
A brilliant plan! It’s the first time she heard it—after the miracle, not before! We always want to know the plan beforehand, and God is saying, “Can you trust me through it? Just walk in obedience. I promise you’ll see why. I’m working something inside you—developing something in your character. I’m using this situation to draw you deeper and closer to the One who made you.”
As a result of this experience, the widow and the entire community became part of this amazing miracle! When God multiplies the oil, He gives you the best—the expensive type that she could barely afford—but it was enough for her and her boys to retire on! God had that plan the whole time!
She shared it! They gave it! God filled it! God does the heavy lifting, the multiplying! We just provide the container. It takes obedience without explanation! Simply because He said it, “I’ll do it! I’m God’s priority!” Do you believe that? You are! When did the oil stop? When they ran out of containers! What would happen if God never runs out of containers, that He always has a willing person to be used by God for Everyday Miracle for everyday of our lives? What if, instead of closing up out of scarcity and fear, we open up to the possibility of God what we have? It might not be a lot, but in His hands, He can do a lot with it. What if we let God breathe life into that?
1. According to God’sVision For Provision, how does He want to flip your understanding towards money?
2. What consequence does a Jewish person face when they become a Christ follower?
3. Why is humility a requirement for Everyday Miracle?
4. Share a time when you obeyed God without an explanation—you just did it because He asked you to. What happened?