The last couple of weeks have been some of the hottest of the summer here in NE Indiana with accompanying 90+% humidity. The combination makes pretty much any outdoor activity a bit of a challenge. The 'tropical' weather is also great for finishing tomatoes and any of the other last minute, summer veggies. As oppressive as the last couple weeks have been we are thankful because we were concerned we wouldn't be getting enough tomatoes to can and stock up the pantry for the winter months. So today I went to the garden early expecting to pick a lot of tomatoes before it got too hot. Thanks to God's providential care, I brought in about 8 gallons of beautiful red tomatoes. Then there was something unexpected. Green beans.
We figured, after the last picking of green beans, that the green beans were done. We were ready, after the last picking, for the green beans to be done. We had plenty canned to eat through the winter and to give to the kids. But here they were: More beans. An unexpected abundance.
As gardeners, and as Christians, there are many tests of our maturity that come along the way. My experience with the garden today reminds me of two: The test of 'not enough' and the test of 'more than enough'.
The test of 'having not enough' is clear. Not having enough, I mean genuinely not having enough ("not enough tomatoes canned" doesn't count), is a heart-wrenching thing and the Bible speaks frequently of the generosity, care and dignity we owe the widow, the orphan, and the poor. De and I were there with the poor a couple of times early in our marriage. God always got us through, usually through the help of our parents. Looking back I can say in those early years we did not appreciate His care anywhere near enough.
The test of 'more than enough' is often harder for us to wrap our heads around. How could having more than we need become a test? It seems a little counter-intuitive. If God has blessed us with more than enough, don't we just thank God for it and get on to next thing?
It is these two questions that Agur son of Jakeh addresses in Proverbs 30 (NIV). As De and I have come to point where we rarely worry about 'not enough' this passage has come to mean more and more to me.
7“Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die: 8Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. 9Otherwise, I may have too much and disown† you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.†
I think our question of 'more than enough' centers on God's question to us: "What will you do with the abundance with which I have blessed you?" This question is, of course, not just about the green beans we didn't expect to harvest. Many of us, if we were to be completely honest, would have to admit we are drowning in 'more than enough'. We are warned against simply "building bigger barns" so we can take it easy (Mt. 12:16-21). We are expected to do more. Not just for us: For Him. God expects us to be conduits and not accumulators. If we wish to continue to receive blessings we must know ahead of time who we plan to bless with what He gives.
The Apostle Paul closes Eph. 3 with the following passage:
20Now to him who is able† to do immeasurably more than all we ask† or imagine, according to his power† that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.†
"...immeasurable more than all we ask for imagine...." Christians, let's all think today about what we will do with our promise to live for Jesus, when He keeps His promise of what He will do for us. When He does it's going to be "More than Enough"
All scriptures used come from the Kindle version of the NIV Bible. Various Authors (2010-05-05). Zondervan NIV Study Bible: Updated Edition (Kindle Locations 90618-90622). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.