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Abundance

When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down.  Numbers 11:9

There’s a lot of chaos in the world these days creating havoc in so many lives.  But if we were to breakdown the situation into two basic schools of thought we’d probably arrive at the concepts of scarcity and abundance.  On one side you have people who believe everything in the world is limited.  Limited natural resources, limited finances, limited opportunities, limited food, limited education, and on and on.  On the other you have the concept of abundance.  That we are limited only by our will to seek, create, build, gather, harvest, and more.

God created a world teeming with abundance.  He has always provided and will always provide.  That’s not to say we don’t need to share in that abundance but rather we should live in the mindset of what we are given is 1) from God and 2) enough.

“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life  does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” Luke 1:14

When we think of the gift of abundance from God, we can be swayed by the world into attributing it to “stuff.”  How much stuff, money, food, etc we have.  We will see that unfold today with Black Friday stories of fighting and grasping for more of that “stuff.” But in God’s world abundance is to be shared.  Whether we are blessed by money, talents, love, possessions, and more God is always asking us to give freely and abundantly just like Him.  

The concept of scarcity entered the biblical story when Pharaoh was worried about the drought and famine.  He greedily began gathering up all the grains and animals for himself.  He worried he wouldn’t have enough.  And throughout the Bible we read stories of people, like the prince who approached Jesus to become one of his disciples, who cannot open their treasure stores because of their fears of scarcity.

These conflicting world views are sometimes used to say Jesus is a socialist.  But that twists the message of the Bible.  A government which forcibly takes from one people (who they deem having too much abundance) and gives it to others (who they deem are not able to live abundantly) is acting out of that scarcity mindset.  Jesus always wants our heart.  He is powerful enough to demand it but wants it freely. 

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” Matthew 6:25

When I see young people on the streets screaming for the rich to “pay their fair share” it really saddens me. What is a “fair share?”  Who has determined what someone is “owed?”  Who has determined what is “enough?”  All that comes from a belief there isn’t enough.  But God has created a world of amazing abundance.  There will always be those that have more and those who have less.  The only person we owe anything to is Jesus.  And when we thank Him for His abundant love for us we should be spurred to share in all that He has given us.

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Time Well Spent

We do not want you to become lazy, but to 
imitate those who through faith and patience 
inherit what has been promised. 
Hebrews 6:12

If today’s verse sounds familiar, it should!  The King James’ version was our stepping off point for this new series – “That ye be not slothful…”  Remembering that the Greek word for slothful, nothros, means slow or sluggish, Paul urges us to grab hold of our inheritance and be diligent to the very end (Heb. 11-12).

What does this look like in our everyday lives?

I had an acquaintance tell me the other day that she would like her church group to start back in studying the Bible.  You see, with the chaos from the pandemic their family lives have been turned upside down.  Kids are constantly home and constantly needing help with getting the education our schools have neglected to provide.  And so studying the Word has fallen by the wayside.  They are waiting for a “better time” to reboot their studies.

Hours for the world!  Moments for Christ!  

Charles Spurgeon

But if we are to be honest if it weren’t the pandemic, for many Christian believers there would be something else keeping them from regularly attending church, going (prepared) to Bible Study, sitting quietly studying His Word.  For my family it once was youth sports.  We abandoned church for softball tournaments.  We saw it as a season that would eventually change and God probably didn’t really mind.

Had I truly valued what God wants for me I would have realized that during that season I especially needed His Word.  It’s when our lives seem most chaotic that we need to grasp hold of God.  He is our center, our Rock, our plumb line.  He puts the swirling world and all its stresses into perspective.

The world has the best of our time and our prayer closets the leftover fragments.

Charles Spurgeon

So, when Paul reminds us to not be lazy or slothful or sluggish with our obedience to Jesus he especially means during difficult times.  To not turn to the flesh for solutions and comfort.  He chastises us to finish strong by keeping close to God.

I’ve invited many friends and acquaintances to participate in Bible study.  And every time I hear multiple people say they are too busy with “life.”  Work, family, hobbies, other obligations take precedence.  I get it.  I’ve been there many, many times.  But when I look back to those times I do so with a measure of regret.  Because those times are gone forever.  Times when I could’ve really used the Word of God to comfort me and to reignite my faith.  There are so many instances where I needed God’s wisdom to make better choices – both for myself and my family.

We do not forget to eat.  We do not forget to be diligent in business.  We do not forget to go to our beds to rest.  But we often forget to wrestle with God in prayer and to spend long periods in consecrated fellowship with our Father and our God.

Charles Spurgeon

Our days are numbered here on earth.  Christ sacrificed Himself to a horrible death so that we may have a close relationship with God and the gift of salvation. When our ledger is opened at the end will it show that we have made God the primary focus of our time or will He be a footnote?