“…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48
My cup is absolutely spilling over. I’m sitting here on a Friday morning on my couch drinking a special select blend of Starbucks coffee that a good friend sent me (Thanks Shirley!) that I ground up just two days ago and brewed in a French press this morning. Fortunately, it isn’t my coffee that’s spilling over. No, all of that is being enjoyed the way it should be. What IS spilling over is my recognition of all of the good that is happening in my life that I have to be thankful for.
I’ve witnessed God’s plan, devised long before I drew my first breath, unfolding in a wonderful way over the past two years. In the words of Steven Curtis Chapman, it has been a very “glorious unfolding.” Yes, for those familiar with my story, it has had A LOT to do with The Hands & Feet Project (you can read more about that here), but, I’ve noticed other ways that His plan has been spilling out before me, too.
God has been doing amazing things with my family. We’ve been settling into a new church over the past year and seeing the positive effect that this new environment and community has had on my wife and kids has been nothing short of a privilege to witness. Without knowing my wife and kids, you wouldn’t have any point of reference to notice the dramatic change that I’ve seen in them, but, trust me when I say that my faith in the notion that God knows what He’s doing, and that He will do amazing things if we just get ourselves out of the way and let Him work, has been affirmed and emboldened many times over in the past two years.
So, what now? Now, I will continue to seek His purpose for my family and I. A friend recently introduced me to the word sovereign. It is a word that I may have heard before, but, had no idea what it meant and I had certainly not ever used it. Just in case you, the reader, don’t know what it means, I’ll give you an in-my-own-words definition of sovereign: God is good and everything He does, as a result, is also good whether we understand it or not.
I recognize at this point in my life that there is nothing in my house, my garage, my shed, or my bank account that can offer me any security. Sure, I could work my tail off to fill each of those with things that I think will make me feel more secure, but, the fact is, there is nothing that I can do to protect myself or better myself as a person.
There will always be external circumstances that can compromise, if not completely destroy, what I think I have. So, instead of building up my stores, focusing on the substance of life is my goal. In Randy Alcorn‘s book, THE TREASURE PRINCIPAL, he emphasizes the biblical principle that whatever possessions we gather here on earth are subject to forces and circumstances beyond our control:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.”
Alcorn makes the point that while the material things that we collect and gather over the course of our lifetime are finite, treasure that we build up in heaven by living out God’s will in our daily lives, is eternal. Whatever we think is good here is temporary and fleeting in comparison to God’s infinite purpose.
Yet, this is not a matter of working hard to serve others here so that I can benefit down the road. No, from my perspective, there is great satisfaction that can come from serving others here and now and, hopefully, giving them a chance to see the hope that lives in me. It is out of gratitude for the blessings and purpose that God has given me that I seek to help and serve where I am called to do so.
If I were $10,000 in debt and you handed me a check for $20,000 to cover that amount and give my bank account a little breathing room to boot, I would, without a doubt, feel compelled to, at the very least, shake your hand and say thank you! But, I am even more compelled to let His will work in me and to serve in the manner that He has called me, since He has taken my life, void of vision and deeply in debt to all of these things in the world that I thought were worth my time and, instead, has filled my days with a real and tangible purpose and awareness that He can do things with and through me that will have far-reaching positive consequences for his kingdom beyond what I can possibly comprehend!
I truly believe that it is our responsibility as believers to look for where the need is greatest and, then, to look for ways that we can address that need. That is precisely what Christ did and what I will continue to do going forward. His grace has and will continue to be sufficient in my life and I will gladly move forward, one step at a time, without as big of a concern for a final destination, but, instead, with every breath, a prayer of thanks and a request for guidance to know where to land each new footfall on the path that He has prepared for me.
I came across a blog post this morning by Randy Alcorn called “Surrendering To God’s Wisdom,” and it proved to be quite a worthwhile read. In it Alcorn highlights the dynamic between Job’s limited understanding and God’s infinite providence. Time and time again, God has proven that He can take my messes and reshape them into His victories. As I was noting to a friend today during a lunch conversation, I am starting to notice a pattern in my life: challenges, trials, and circumstances that weigh heavily on me, making me uncomfortable, if not completely disorienting me, keep turning out to be the fertile ground out of which His providence proves true. He knows what he’s doing! It’s really not that complicated, but, too often, I tend to over-analyze each and every circumstance in my life, letting trials and challenges pull me under a rising wave of fear and depression. Because I place too much emphasis on my own need to know what’s going on and to understand all of the variables, I miss the chance to trust God. I miss the chance to live without fear. I place the limited confines of my own brain next to the limitless expanse of the mind of God and then, like an idiot, get flustered and scared when I can’t make sense of the narrow view that I might have of His big picture. The fact is that, whatever I think he is, HE IS INFINITE.