“The rich get richer and the poor get poorer”—sure doesn’t sound like something you would find in the Bible, does it? But, believe me, it’s there. I think we need a clear understanding of this biblical principle.

Let me read it to you from Luke 8:18. Jesus is speaking, and he says: “Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.” You’ll find almost the exact same words in Matthew 13:12 and Mark 4:25.

Have you ever read those statements by Jesus and wondered what he meant? How could it be fair that those who have will get more and those who don’t have will lose what little they have? Yet admittedly we can see evidences of this phenomenon all around us.

I think it’s important to note that Jesus is not proclaiming a law, but rather explaining a principle. He’s showing what can be expected, just as he explained that what you sow, you reap. If you put corn seed in the ground, don’t look for beans to come up because that would go against natural principles set in place by the Creator. So it is with this principle: Whoever has will get more, and whoever does not have will lose the little he has.

Here’s what Jesus was trying to teach us: We must use what we have in order to have more. Large fortunes didn’t begin with large sums of money. They began with small amounts—frugally saved and invested—which yielded a larger amount to invest, and on and on until the sum was large. But if that first small amount was never invested, it never would have multiplied and produced the large fortune.

Now think with me a minute as we apply that to our spiritual lives. When God sees us invest for him our little bit—whatever it is—then he gives us more to invest. Maybe you don’t have many gifts, talents, or money to offer, but if you take the little bit you have and give it, you’ll discover that your resources increase. If, however, you refuse to use what you have—perhaps because you feel the contribution is not significant—then you’ll lose what you have.

As I look back over the past years, I see how this has been true in my life. It’s something you don’t really notice while it’s happening, but in retrospect you can see how God is enriching you personally by enlarging your talents, your abilities, and your opportunities. But it won’t happen until you gladly and willingly use whatever you have for his glory.