My dear readers, please forgive my prolonged absence from this little blog as I promised you all a sequel to my previous post! I apologize for leaving you hanging :-)
If you have not yet read my previous post you can do so by clicking here.
Now, as you all probably already know, I have a large family. I am the eldest of soon to be 10 children. One of my favorite things that people ask me about living in a large family is the question, "So, you guys must have a pretty big house, huh?" When people say this I nearly fall on the floor laughing. The irony.
Our home is 1800 square feet. Make of it what you will. Some people would consider that average, some would consider it small, some would even consider it large. But in America's culture, a family of 12 living in 1800 square feet is pretty squeezy. We've been living in this house for 7 years, since there were only 6 of us children. We originally intended on only living here for a year or so--5 maximum-- but God had other plans.
When I read the story in my previous post, my thoughts immediately went to our house. The family in the story was so joyful, so content, that they did not even consider that they might be the poor family that the pastor was talking about. The three forks that they shared were enough. They weren't poor, they had enough.
It was because of this contentment that they were able to joyfully give. They didn't see that they were in need. They knew God would continue to sustain them with enough as they saved money to help others in need.
As the story continues, the family is broken when they realize that the church had recognized them as poor and in need. They were ashamed. What broke this shame and gave them joy again? When they surrendered all that cash over to the missionary to help fund the building of roofs in a foreign country. They gave all the excess that they had, believing that their daily bread was enough.
Wouldn't you, if you were in that family, have been grateful for the money and sometime that week before Sunday, at least gone and gotten a couple more forks so that everyone could have one at suppertime? No, the family was mortified. Why do you think this was? Do you think it was because they were afraid that they had given the appearance of discontentment? They didn't want to show up at school or even church because they knew everyone there knew that they were poor. How come they didn't know or realize it before? They weren't ashamed until they were compared with the world's standards of richness and found to be poor.
This is the problem. We define richness and poverty based on the world's economy. When we are caught up in looking at the world around us, what other people have, what other people think of us, how we should dress and act, all according to the world's standards, we are going to find ourselves majorly discontent. For two reasons:
1.) "Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, nor are the eyes of man ever satisfied." (Proverbs 27:20) You will never have enough. You can be the richest man or woman on the planet and still never be satisfied with all of your wealth. You can have the biggest house, nicest car, most expensive clothes and still be miserable and discontent. Because there will always be something else that you want, there will always be something new to covet. This is the common state of man; sinful, always desiring more. When we are without Christ, our eyes, hearts, minds, will never be satisfied-- greed will take over, always taking, but nothing is ever enough.
2.) And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9a) As humans, we all crave sufficiency, satisfaction, contentment--we are sinful creatures; broken, longing to be whole again. God ingrained this desire so that we might seek Him to find it-- because in Him is the only place that it might be found. The only place. God's grace is sufficient. It's enough. When we receive God's grace, repent of our sinful ways and surrender our lives to Him, He promises to watch over us, to never leave us or forsake us. This is the essence of contentment, to be found in Jesus, trusting in Him. The world will pull us away from Jesus, away from trusting in His provision. Teasing us with, "What about this? Or this? What will you do if this happens?" Borrowing trouble, and causing anxiety instead of just resting and being still in the fact that God is enough.
The world tells me that an 1800 square foot home is too small for a family our size. God tells me that it's enough. It's what He has given us, now how are we going to be joyful and use it to His glory?
In God's economy, I am rich. If I only had Jesus; if I lived under a bridge, I would still be rich.
His grace is enough.
His grace is enough.
"Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth."