Tom Elliff
Oklahoma City, OK

After pastoring for forty-two years, Tom Elliff served the International Mission Board, first as Senior Vice President for Spiritual Nurture and Church Relations from 2005-2009, then as President from 2011-2014. Tom served pastorates in Arkansas, Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma and as an IMB missionary in Zimbabwe. Tom also served as president of the SBC Pastor's Conference and two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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Put Me On The “Needy” List…Please!

By on April 4, 2016

Wednesday night prayer meetings were a regular staple in the churches where I was reared under my father’s preaching. Several prayer request were so often repeated that I remember them to this day. We prayed for “All the starving in China,” (a genuine issue at a time of catastrophic famine). We prayed for “all those for whom it was our honor, duty and privilege to pray,” (I was never quite sure who those folks were).

And we always prayed for the “needy,” a category that had little interest to me as a small or even teenaged boy. It’s probably a fact that kids don’t usually consider themselves underprivileged until they are told. To me, being “needy” was more or less a reference to someone’s lack of sufficient financial resources. Nobody wanted to be on that list!

But, the older I’ve become, the more I realize that the “needy” designation probably includes each of us at some time. After all, need covers a vast array of issues. In reality, our needs, including our physical ones, only cease with death. And there are plenty of other needs beyond the physical. Those who study such things write volumes about the significance of spiritual, emotional, and relational need. Indeed, we are each numbered among the needy!

Set against this backdrop is Paul’s great promise regarding our need. Writing from a Roman prison, he fairly shouts, “My God will supply all your needs (lit. every need of yours) according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19 NASB). When properly considered, here is a promise that is nothing short of breathtaking.

The Subject: Need…your need.
The Scope: All your need…each need…every need.
The Supplier: God…my God, the One with whom I am personally acquainted.
The Surety: Will supply…not could, would, should, or might…but will!
The Source: God’s riches in glory, or inexhaustible and glorious riches.
The Standard: According to…along the same lines that His glory demands.
The Secret: Jesus, God’s agent of Grace and answer in every circumstance.

Whew! I’m sure glad I’m among the needy! Otherwise, think of all I’d miss!

And what about you?

Rejoice evermore!
Tom Elliff
2 Tim 1:12