Why God Allows Need - President's Convocation
Why God Allows Need – President’s Convocation
February 12, 2009
“What better time to discuss how God finances His work,” Dr. Jeff Iorg, president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, told students and staff during the first Chapel of the 2009 spring semester. “These are serious economic times – a national economic downturn, 2.6 million people laid off since December, home foreclosures on the rise, and governmental programs closing because of elimination of essential funding.”
Referring to verses in Genesis and Revelation, Iorg explained the consistent biblical theme that God owns everything by right of creation. “While you may buy a book, the author still, in a sense, owns it because of copyright laws.” In the same way, while people claim ownership of material things, God still owns them by right of creation. “And for believers,” Iorg continued, “we are doubly owned through redemption. Everything we have belongs to God, and He controls it all.”
“Since God owns and controls everything, why do Christians experience need?” Iorg asked. The answer, Iorg suggested is, “God who owns and controls everything, must allow need.” Iorg advocated God allows need for specific reasons since he is never capricious in the experiences he allows his children.
First, Iorg explained, God allows need to build character qualities like contentment in our lives. Citing Paul’s testimony, Phil. 4:11-13, Iorg encouraged the seminary community to learn contentment with God’s provision. “Are we really any less blessed with what really matters then we were six months ago?” Iorg asked. God also uses need to shape our values toward eternal goals and “remind us what is really significant in our lives.”
Second, Iorg continued, God allows need to correct financial irresponsibility. He noted, from Malachi 3:9-11, God promises to meet the needs of believers who give appropriately. While rejecting the excesses of the prosperity gospel movement, he underscored God’s promise to meet the needs of those who give generously. “When we compromise our giving, we will have need,” Iorg warned.
Another aspect of financial correction is making sure we are using God’s resources appropriately. Sometimes, need indicates a misuse of God’s provision – personally and corporately. “We are currently evaluating each expenditure of the seminary while creating next year’s budget. We are asking ourselves, ‘are we using God’s money on items directly related to the core of our mission?’ If so, we will continue those items, trusting God to supply. If not, we will redirect those resources to more essential activities.”
Third, Iorg noted God allows need so we will continually trust Him to provide. He reminded the seminary community of Paul’s claim in Phil. 4:19, “My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Iorg underscored God, not the Cooperative Program, other donors, or endowment income was the source of the seminary’s supply. “While we appreciate the means of the gifts that come our way, we must never lose focus on God as our Source and Supply. We depend on him and ask him as our Father to provide for us.”
Finally, God allows need to keep us on his timetable. “Remember,” said Iorg, “God owns and controls everything.” He cited Acts 24:27, when Paul was in prison for two years. “God could have released Paul anytime, but He had a reason to let Paul sit in prison for two years,” he said. “It’s God’s timetable, and he provides when He’s ready.”