Philippians 4:12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
In the Western Church, we get a lot of sermons about how we’re very rich (true) and that we should use our riches wisely (true). And we hear about how it’s hard to be rich and still real with Christ (true) and… well… maybe it’s just me, but at the end of a decade or three of that, and you get a little freaked out about having more than enough. Maybe a touch *guilty*. Children starving, after all. And I’m not saying that maybe we shouldn’t do a better job of sharing our wealth. Not in the least.
But I *am* saying, that if God has given you generously, you should enjoy it. No, I don’t mean get heavily into conspicuous consumption. I mean – enjoy it! Thank God for what He’s allowed you, and enjoy it. Trust Him to provide for you. Don’t curl up into a little ball and say, “well… here today, gone tomorrow”. Enjoy the fact that your greater resources give you a chance for greater generosity. God pours into you? Pour right back out.
Sometimes we can get into this mindset where we don’t want to enjoy what God has given us, because He can take it away anytime He wants. It gets to be a hoarding thing. Hoarders stack up stuff because they’re afraid of disaster, they’re not being sensible, they’re AFRAID. We’re not supposed to be in fear. If God thinks your character could be improved by poverty, He can manage that, and your not-enjoying things now won’t stop Him. He’s probably not staying His hand because He’s impressed by your humility, you know. :p
And if you get a chance to do something awesome, enjoy the experience! We’re not ascetics, we’re not Stoics, we’re CHRISTIANS. That means that we’re allowed to enjoy stuff. Not all the stuff…. but the right stuff? We can enjoy *that* to the hilt.
(You totally realize I’m writing this to myself the night before a family trip to Disneyland, right? That I totally guilted myself about, even though DH worked some mandatory OT and paid for it in advance and wants to have some fun for once and the kids are bored out of their little minds and ready to have some real *fun*… because it’s not the nearly-free thing we COULD do. Because um. Virtuous? God is sooo thumping me on the nose. He provided the means, the time, the ability, and I’ve been snorking around when I could be excited. Sucking fear. -shakes head- You realize this whole blog is basically me writing to myself, right? I figure maybe someone else out there needs to hear what I need to hear, so I share).
It’s that confusion that leads, in the words of CS Lewis, to a pretty woman pretending that she’s ugly, or a smart man pretending that he’s dumb, so as not to appear immodest. Thinking about your resources as YOUR resources is what’s immodest! And what leads to hoarding. What belongs to you can be taken from you. What belongs to God can be reallocated, but it still all belongs to God, you just got reassigned.
God is a good Father, and He enjoys giving good things to His children. So *when He gives them*, we should enjoy them. And when He gives us an opportunity to flourish without them? We should enjoy that… maybe learning to lean on Him a little harder. Open hands to receive and not grab – and not push away because we’re afraid that losing it again will hurt too much.
Either to abound or to be in want, to be content in whatever God brings our way.