Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods? Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD will hear when I call to him. In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Offer right sacrifices and trust in the LORD.
Many are asking, “Who can show us any good?” Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD. You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
Lots of people I meet seem successful by world standards, but spiritually haven’t a clue. With their big houses, their SUVs, and their barn full of toys, I’m sure they laugh at us behind our backs for living a simpler life and following our faith. But I wonder if they realize that they’ve traded an eternity of deprivation for a few years of personal comfort while we’ll dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Who’s the winner here? And how about the fact that there’s never as much satisfaction in having stuff as there is in getting it? Like someone said, “It’s better to want things you don’t have than to have things you don’t want.” Are they really as successful as their possessions lead us to believe, or do they need to keep getting more things to keep themselves feeling good?
I’ve found that even believers miss the point of the Lord’s abundant life promises. We weren’t put on earth solely for the self-centered pursuit of pleasure that so many seem to be almost compulsive about. While He does promise us an abundant life, the Lord also admonished us not to store up treasure here. He said we should store up treasure in Heaven instead. And Paul confirmed that, saying we’d be made rich in every way so that we could be generous on every occasion. (2 Cor. 9:11) (Many of us like the first half of that promise, but ignore the second half. We forget that the reason that we’ll be made rich is so that we can be generous.)
I’m convinced that the Lord’s promise of an abundant life is literal and that the way to access it is through generous giving. Like many of the Lord’s promises, it’s counter intuitive to our thinking. Is it really possible that we can get more of what we want by giving away more of what we have?
The answer is yes because two things happen when we begin giving more generously. The first is that the Lord becomes more generous with us. That shouldn’t surprise us because He promised us that the measure we use in giving is the measure He’ll use in blessing. (Luke 6:38)
And the second is that we’ll get such a rush from giving that we’ll actually begin to resent having to use money for any other purpose, so we’ll start cleaning up our financial lives to free up more. The end result? Instead of spending money we don’t have to buy things we don’t need, winding up enslaved by our possessions, we’ll be passing along money the Lord sends us, experiencing the true and lasting joy of giving, and achieving financial freedom in the process.
There’s just one catch. It takes faith. We have to begin this process by giving before we receive. And when the Lord returns what we’ve given, as He will, we have to give it away again, and again. Little by little we see that He’s returning more, allowing us to give more and so it goes. If we ever stop, so does He. But as long as we keep giving in faith our lives will grow richer and richer in every way. That’s the abundant life.
Prayer: Lord, please help me to understand the abundant life as you do, and to receive your promises into my heart . Give me a generous heart as it pertains to those in need and the courage to act when I sense Your Holy Spirit prompting me to help. Amen