Monday, January 26, 2015

Abundancia

image used under GNU Documentation License,
photo by Infrogmation of New Orleans
Our title is the Spanish word for abundance.  In Italian, it's abbondanza. Yesterday's 9am service got me thinking about that. And we'll share the video on Saturday.  This was only a sentence or two, but God got my attention with it.

There are ministries that would have us believe that abundance means we gain earthly things through Christ.  And there's something wrong with our personal relationship with God if we don't have lots of things.  I disagree.  Not that there's anything wrong with being blessed with riches, if that's what God wants to do.  But that's not necessarily how God wants to move.


Our illustration shows a pile of possessions in front of a New Orleans home, after hurricane Katrina. Is it significant that we see a pile of things only after a fire, someone thrown out of a home, or a natural disaster?  It makes you think, doesn't it?

So, what does Jesus say about abundance?

Matthew 12:34 (KJV)  O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

Matthew 13:12 (KJV)  For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

Matthew 25:29 (KJV)  For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

Every one of those speaks of spiritual abundance, good or bad.  There's nothing in those passages that suggests that "name it and claim it" has even an ounce of validity.

Luke 6:45 (KJV)  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

That repeats Matthew.  But look at two more passages.

Luke 12:15 (KJV)  And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

Ah.  That does talk about earthly wealth.  It shouldn't make us covetous and it's not the desired goal. Note, too, that Jesus doesn't say we need to get rid of wealth.  But He does follow this verse with the parable of the rich landowner who spends his time filling his barns, only to die with much of his wealth untouched.  The point is not whether wealth is good or bad, but what we prioritize.

How about:

Matthew 16:26 (KJV)  For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

or

Matthew 19:20-22 (KJV)  The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?  Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.  But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

Two more instances of Jesus forcing us to look at our priorities.  Even with the rich young man, it's clear that Jesus was less interested in what he would give up than whether he was willing to.

If we miss that point, there's this passage:

Luke 21:1-4 (KJV)  And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.  And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

It's not the wealth gained, nor the wealth given, but the heart behind it.  And nowhere does Jesus say we're to focus on accumulating wealth or "blessings".  Indeed we're unworthy of anything, except what Jesus makes us worthy of.  So, our focus must be on Him, not what we think He can give us.  A "what have You done for me, lately, Jesus?" attitude tarnishes the relationship.  We've let Jesus speak for Himself, here.  So:

What are we basing our relationship with God on, today?  And isn't it amazing and wonderful when He gives us more to make through this world and help others?  But isn't being eternally secure in Him sufficient?

1 comment:

  1. It saddens me to see how the abundance churches and congregations have proliferated here in Latin America. They are a huge business and people donate a lot of money hoping to get more abundance back. Usually the pastors are the people who end up with the material abundance and the members with broken lives and hopes.

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