Personal Finance Bible Study: Work (Part 3 of 15) – Providing for Our Needs

Corey —  October 21, 2010

       We’ve already seen that God desires Christians to work hard as a way to glorify His name. But that’s not the only reason He calls us to work. There is value in hard work, and these tangible benefits are impossible to achieve without effort. Today, we’ll look at how hard work provides for our material needs.

Will Work for Food

       With the money we earn from work, we can buy the things we need. Food and water, shelter, clothing, fuel for warmth in the winter, and other necessities can only be obtained when we are willing to work for them. This could mean earning the money to buy those things, or putting in the time and effort to make or produce those things ourselves. Unless we are willing to work hard, we will not get the things we need to survive.

       One who works his land will have an abundance of food; but one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.

Proverbs 28:19 (WEB)

       Working hard with what God gave us will provide an abundance for our needs. But sitting around talking about what we could do or will do brings us nothing but poverty. This clear advice from Proverbs tells us that we need to focus on actually doing the needed work instead of chasing fantasies. Those dreams of getting easy riches from the stock market or some get-rich-quick scheme will bring you no closer to actually meeting your needs.

       In all hard work there is profit, but the talk of the lips leads only to poverty.

Proverbs 14:23 (WEB)

       Hard work will provide for our needs. Talking about our needs and how we wish we had the money to get the things we need does absolutely nothing to bring us closer to meeting our needs. God’s wisdom has not changed throughout the ages – this is as true today as it ever was in the past.

       Before I go much further, I want to stop and look at what our needs really are. When I’m talking about needs, I mean the things we actually need to survive. Food, clothing, a place to live, a way to stay warm in the winter, transportation to our jobs (if necessary), etc. – these are things required to survive. Cell phones, cable/satellite, entertainment, eating out, internet, and other things that aren’t absolutely necessary for our survival are luxuries or wants. We’ve forgotten these definitions of needs and wants in the U.S., but spend any amount of time learning about living conditions in third-world countries and you’ll start to realize how easy we have it here.

       It’s important we understand the difference between needs and wants when we start talking about budgeting or giving. Part of denying yourself and taking up your cross is realizing what the “wants” are in your life and choosing to forgo those in order to help the poor. In some cases, this may even mean helping yourself. If you’re struggling to get by every week and keep going deeper in debt, one of the first things you need to do is break down your expenses into absolute needs and unnecessary wants. Eliminating the wants can give you the cash flow you need to make it to the next week and begin getting out of debt.

       Once we know what our real needs are, we know what our soul desires and requires to survive. Then, through hard work we can meet the desires of our soul:

       The soul of the sluggard desires, and has nothing, but the desire of the diligent shall be fully satisfied.

Proverbs 13:4 (WEB)

       God can bless us and fully satisfy our needs. But we must be willing to work hard instead of sitting around waiting for God to hand everything over to us. Working hard is no guarantee that we’ll get everything we want. But God promises to meet our needs if we diligently work and trust in Him.



Corey is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in religion. While he enjoys learning and writing about Christianity, another one of his new passions is writing about personal finances in order to help others make wise decisions with their money.

2 responses to Personal Finance Bible Study: Work (Part 3 of 15) – Providing for Our Needs

  1. God will certainly provide for all our needs – according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus!

    That doesn’t mean we can slack off and neglect our own financial responsibility to work hard and plan for our future.

    Unfortunately, I’ve worked with too many pastors who haven’t saved for retirement and claim that they don’t have to because God will provide. Yes this statement is true – God does provide – BUT we’ve also been called to be good stewards of what he’s given us.

    On the flip side, I’ve worked with missionaries and other pastors who didn’t make much money but saved consistently and have more than enough in retirement.

    Both worked hard – but those who planned were much better off financially.

    I know this article focused more on ones actual work- but managing your finances takes work and we can’t expect our finances just to fall into place without work.

  2. Thanks for commenting, Tim! The point of this Bible study is not to overemphasize what we do for ourselves. Anything we gain comes from God and remains in His possession even while we have it. But even though God has promised to supply our needs He clearly calls us to work diligently (both for income and for managing what He’s given us). It’s the stewardship side of things that meets the call you’re speaking to – we need to plan ahead and save without beginning to trust in riches. That’s a difficult task, but it’s not impossible with God’s help.