Philippians 4:12 NIV, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
Contrary to popular opinion, not every minister is living the life of the rich and famous. In fact, some are juggling financial obligations right now trying to stretch Kingdom finance as far as it can go. There are some whom the Lord has blessed and has opened great and effectual doors and there are others whom the enemy has deceived into thinking they are truly blessed and are operating off of some counterfeit stuff, but that is another story. The season of leanness is not foreign to many in ministry. Even Jacob who fathered the nation of God’s beloved people, experienced famine. So when we encounter those lean seasons where like Elijah, our brooks, or streams of income dries up, we have to learn to trust and depend on the provisional capabilities of our Father.
Some ministers are too ashamed to admit when their ministries are struggling financially and for others, it’s reasons of pride. But the Bible says we have not because we ask not. Sometimes just to break the spirit of pride, the Lord will allow a lean season to provoke you into asking for help. But that’s another story too!
There were plenty of times when Jesus was hungry and thirsty but He did not allow His circumstances to dictate His purpose. He fasted 40 days but still whipped the devil. He was looking for figs and cursed its tree because it could not provide for Him. David was so hungry, he entered the House of God and ate the consecrated bread. Jesus was homeless, He said the foxes have holes and the birds have nests but I have no place to lay my head. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4:11 that they were hungry and thirsty, beaten, and dressed in ragged clothing. He also said in 1 Corinthians 11:27 that he had sleepless nights, was hungry and thirsty, and was cold and naked but he says in Romans 8:35 that none of these things shall separate him from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.
Suffering is an integral part of ministry. Suffering identifies you with Christ. Ministry is a suffering way. Our lean seasons are a part of our suffering. It’s God’s way to humble us and teach us to keep depending on Him. Further, our lean season may not be financial, it may be a lean season of fellowship or companionship, etc. Leanness manifests in a variety of ways. Know the differences between your God appointed lean season, a demon of lack or your own laziness. And understand that even when your season changes from leanness to abundance, that you need to stay rooted in what you learned about God in those lean years. Wealth is a mindset. Therefore, you must act and think like you have it even when you don’t or you won’t know what to do with it when it finally arrives. This is where you find people doing stupid stuff with their money because they still have a poverty mindset so they buy everything they’ve always wanted and are back in poverty again. But THAT’S another story too! Bottom line, study to be content with the Lord no matter what state you are in.