One of my responsibilities as part of my new job as Director of Children and Family Ministry is to teach preschool chapel once a month. Like many churches, we have a thriving preschool on our campus and it’s a delight to see all those 3- and 4-year-olds gathered together in a squirmy mob on chapel days. After a few rousing and energetic songs, it’s my job to get them to sit quietly and listen to a story about Jesus.
Last month, I told the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand, how one boy’s small lunch was multiplied to be enough for everyone. I taught the kids a new big word: ABUNDANT. For each syllable, we made a wider and wider circle with our hands to show God’s provision and enough-ness.
Later that week, one of the preschool teachers told me a child had repeated the word and the gesture while making Valentines during a chattering conversation with a friend!
Truthfully, ABUNDANT stayed with me too. I started seeing and hearing the word everywhere. My ears pricked up when I heard it on a podcast or in a sermon. The word jumped off the page in more than one book I was reading.
What would it look like to live from the abundance of God’s love for us?
The scarcity trap
So often, we look around and see lack:
not enough time…
not enough sleep…
not enough money…
not enough energy…
not enough patience…
Our default is to operate from a place of scarcity. We are the boy with the small lunch, looking at the size of the crowd and feeling overwhelmed by trying to meet the needs before us. We forget that we are always in the presence of the Abundant One.
It’s very easy for me to live from a place of scarcity, believing that if I don’t manipulate and manage everything, I won’t get a slice of the pie, as if God’s goodness and resources were ever finite.
It’s very easy to focus on my limitations—not enough time, talent, or treasure—and lose sight of the One who transcends limitations.
It’s very easy to believe it’s all on me.
Living from God’s abundance
Dallas Willard once said “We have to learn to act counting on the power of God to act with us.” *
Counting on God’s power starts with turning to Him in prayer. When we pray, we lay every situation down at his feet, surrendering every little worry, every anxiety we may carry, and we invite Jesus into our daily lives to act on behalf of His kingdom and our efforts.
What have you been called to do in this season? Raising littles? Homeschooling? Going back to school? Glorifying God in your workplace? Caring for an aging parent?
How often do you wake up in the morning thinking: “I don’t think I can do this?” Or, like me, do you greet the day with a list of things you’re anxious about, things over which you have no control?
Romans 8:32 (NIV) says:
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
We worship a generous and abundant God. Reflecting upon this verse, pastor and author Alan Fadling writes:
“Paul believed that as members of God’s kingdom we have immeasurable resources to engage in his loving and good purposes for the world. It’s not a generosity meant to merely fill my cup alone, it is a generosity that will overflow my life, leaving me full yet blessing anyone crossing my path.” **
I love that imagery of God filling my cup all the way up to the brim, and then not stopping there. God keeps pouring into my cup so that the overflow blesses the people around me. We’re not meant to run on empty. We are meant to draw from God’s abundance and lean on His power to provide the good and needed things that will allow us to serve His kingdom well.
How do we draw from God’s abundance? The best way I know is to remain connected to God in prayer. I’m reminded of Ephesians 3:16-17 (NLT):
“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.”
We grow our roots in God’s love. We trust Christ’s presence with us. We rely on the inner strength we have thanks to the Holy Spirit. And above all, we seek God and His kingdom first to equip and empower us from His abundance to do daily what He has called us to do.
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*From Renovated: God, Dallas Willard, and the Church That Transforms, by Jim Wilder page 101
**From An Unhurried Leader by Alan Fadling, page 126
(Feature image from Pixistock)