Post #350: Abundance

Milestone post. What shall I say that speaks of a milestone in my life? There are numerous ‘a-ha’ (or epiphany) moments along the way that have changed the way I think and who I am.

Here’s one.

eggplantMy parents never spoke of scarcity or lack in our home. This is not to say there weren’t times when we had no idea how we could make it through the month.

We were not by any measure of the phrase “the upper class.” We lived amongst common, salt-of-the-earth folks in a barrio in the Philippines. All our clothes came from missionary barrels (secondhand clothes sent from the home country). We had vegetables from our own garden, cheap non-branded food and my parents often bought in bulk and froze, canned, or preserved copious amounts of whatever was in season.

One month something happened with the bank transfers from the States upon which my missionary-parents relied. There was no money. I don’t ever remember them even telling us ‘We have no money.’ We survived on eggplant–our family and the three or four students we had living with us.

Somehow, there always seemed to be enough . . . enough for us and whoever happened to be living in our home at the time.

Regardless of our family’s financial status, we were never ever made to feel that we would go without. I heard often these words, spoken in confidence: ‘The Lord will provide.’

When we moved to Australia, mum started stashing away coins in an old cookie jar. We knew that, whenever there was a need, we would always have the cookie jar to fall back on.

We didn’t know it then but, often, there was only a few cents in that jar. I can see how my parents showed that trust in God is like having a spare change jar: you don’t know what’s in it, but, when a need arises, there always seems to be enough.

This reflection happens to be the daily reflection from StillSpeaking which appeared in my inbox one day recently:

So much of our scripture is a celebration of abundance.  The first chapters of Genesis are a song of praise for God’s generosity.  With each act of creation, the divine refrain is, “It is good, it is good, it is very good.”  And it pictures the Creator saying, “Be fruitful and multiply.”

Many of the Psalms, including the one for today, survey creation and catalogue this abundance in loving detail and with joyful thanksgiving.

Then, in the Gospels, Jesus multiplies loaves and fishes so that there is more than enough for everyone.  At a wedding feast he turns water into wine, and more wine than could be consumed at a dozen weddings.  These highly symbolic stories speak of God’s abundance.  There is enough, there is more than enough.

That’s the biblical narrative.  But the narrative by which we are tempted to live is another story entirely, a story of scarcity, where there is never enough.  In fact, we are tempted to define enough as, “always something more than I have now.” . . .

. . . Do you live out of a sense of abundance or scarcity?  That may be an economic question, but certainly it is a faith question.

(Martin B. Copenhaver)

In a day when we are well aware of the misleading abundance-preaching of televangelists and the pitfalls of embracing a ‘prosperity gospel,’ we can still say with confidence, ‘The Lord will provide.’

It is, as the writer suggests, a ‘sense of abundance.’ This doesn’t mean we will have plenty, but we will see whatever we have as an expression of God’s abundance in our lives.God provides what we need and what he wants us to share with others who need. We learn the joy of contentment and the joy of giving, all the while trusting in the abundance of God.

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I am an ordinary man, living an extraordinary life with my wife and partner-in-greatness, Vicki. We have two amazing kids who are living incredible adventures of their own. I enjoy most things I do, but especially coffee, the beach and a good read. My opinions are my own.

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