Thursday, January 27, 2011

Our God of Abundance

Our God of Abundance
by Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins

"The 12 gates were 12 pearls, each of the gates made from a single pearl; and the street of the city was of pure gold..." Revelation 21.21

When times get tough, many of us develop the habit of scarcity thinking. Sometimes we forget that ours is a God of abundance. The picture painted in Revelation of God's dwelling is quite opulent! Gates of pearl and streets of gold might be garish to our sensibilities, but they clearly represent abundance. And that dwelling is actually within us, which shows what great spiritual and emotional resources we have at our command!

Jesus is thought to have said, "Give and gifts will be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over..." (Luke 6.38).

The point is we live in an abundant universe. We have something to share because we've been given so much.
I once served a church where a woman on a fixed income gave only a small (but consistent) amount of her income to church each month. However, she also recycled aluminum cans and paper and gave all her recycling money to the church. She also volunteered as the church receptionist (saving the church a lot of money) and she attended church every single Sunday. Though her income was modest, she found ways to give very generously of time, talent, and treasure! She knew she had something to give, and she experienced great joy supporting the church she loved as best she could. She knew that she served a God of abundance, and she trusted God to help her contribute to something meaningful in her life while still having enough to meet her needs.

The prophet Malachi imagined God saying to those who share generously, "Shall I not open for you the floodgates of heaven, to pour down blessing upon you without measure?"

Now I'm not a prosperity preacher promising that if you give a certain amount to a particular ministry you'll become instantly, magically wealthy. We should give out of love, joy, and with a passion for the work to which we are contributing. But I do believe in a God of abundance, and when we trust God's abundance and share our own, we find we are participating in the divine economic plan. When we give to church, charity, or even to people we love, we feel good, don't we? We are blessed to bless others! The more joy, goodwill, hope, and help we give, the closer we feel to God and the better we feel about ourselves. We need not give more than we can afford; neither should we give less than we can honestly spare. When we give joyously, we tend to reap an abundant harvest of even more joy.

To become wealthy, speak to a financial advisor. But to feel blessed, be a blessing to others. As one great gospel song says, "You can't beat God giving; no matter how you try." As we give time, talent, and treasure to church, charities, and causes we believe in, we find that we receive so much more than we give. We're giving hours and dollars, but we are receiving spiritual growth and joy. And you really can't beat that.

- Prayer -
God of abundance,
Help me to see and seize the good that you have already ordained for me to have.
Give me the grace to know I have something to share.
Bless me to be a blessing to others.
And as I bless others, fill my heart to overflowing with great joy.

"It is more blessed to give than to receive." Acts 20.35

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