I’ve been thinking this week how we all want more… more time, more money, more talent, more attention, more stuff. Then a couple of things occurred to me.
First, we don’t really have anything accept by the grace of God. He alone determines the number of our days. We are born with our talents that we choose to develop or not. We, by providence or by a series of choices, are at the station in life we now are now. What we do with what we have is more significant than how we can get more, since, for the most part, getting more is not really an option.
I’m reminded of a video I saw recently (I tried to find it for this, but I can’t locate it at the moment) where a person pretending to be homeless first goes to people in a fast food restaurant and asks for food. After being turned down by those who had just bought their own food, he goes to a homeless person around the corner who has just been given a meal from the same restaurant. He asks the homeless man for some of his food and the homeless man shares it happily.
There is a lot to learn from this social experiment, but one lesson is that those with much seem to hold on more tightly to what they have than do those who have little.
In Malachi, God tells the prophet to tell the people to “bring the whole tithe into the storehouse and see if I won’t pour out a blessing that you won’t even be able to receive it.” Growing up Christian I’ve heard the claim that if you pay your tithe that God will provide for you in financial ways. You won’t get sick. You will get or keep your job. Your car will last longer. And so on. The problem is that when things go bad financially, as they can and often will, people holding on to these false promises think that God has turned against them. But God never made those kind of promises. Jesus taught that He came that we might have abundant joy. He did not promise us an easy life, good health or prosperity. He gave all that we could be free from sin and death, but He also taught that those who follow Him will suffer.
Yet, we have the opportunity to have true joy, whether we are suffering or not. Paul taught that he learned to be content in all circumstances. God makes that possible in that we can do al things through Him that gives us strength. Which leads me to my second thought.
It is only by realizing that we really have nothing, that we are able to more easily let go of that which we think we have. Realizing that God provides our time allows us to use it to serve other for His purposes. Realizing that all of our possessions are provided to us through the blessings of God allows us to use our assets to provide for others through charities and the local church. God gives us all we have and asks for us to trust Him by returning 10% to Him. Once we learn that He can do more with 90% than we can do on our own with all of it, this becomes a much easier task.
Truth be told, I have to learn this lesson over and over, because I am always wanting more, but my greatest joy comes when I trust God to provide what I need and let go of things I can’t have. Someday, maybe I’ll get it right.