There’s a relationship between how we act when we have an abundance of something and how we behave when it is scarce.
When we have abundance, we think nothing of giving away because we know that we’ll never lack. The opposite is true when a commodity is scarce.
My dad is a cranberry grower and each year we have an abundance of cranberries to give away in November. We happily share bags and bags and more bags of fresh cranberries because we know that we have so much.
I was watching my 2 year old toddler the other day and we gave him five m&m’s. He gobbled them up and then asked for more. I gave him a few more, then asked if I could have one. He looked at me, smiled big because he knew I was kidding, and quickly gobbled them up because he only had five and he knew I was holding the whole bag. He knew I didn’t need anything from him–I had an abundance.
You guys, when it comes to spiritual things, we are holding the whole bag. In Christ, we have all that we need. But only when we focus on the abundance that is ours and set our minds on things above are we able and willing to give to others.
Conversely, if we haven’t been in connection with God, or question His love for us, when we believe He’s overlooked us or short-changed us, or that He can’t be trusted—-when we believe the lie that His resources are scarce and we are lacking, we will become self-serving, grasping Christians.
Our ability and willingness to do good to others is in direct proportion to our relationship with and our knowledge of Christ –however abundant or scarce.
If we are constantly receiving and focusing on the goodness, grace, forgiveness, encouragement, and love that is “lavishly” given to us from God, we’ll be more apt to freely and joyfully pass that along to others.
If we believe that God’s love for us is sparse, our love for others will be in proportion to that belief. We’ll hoard for ourselves. We’ll look to other to supply our needs and give, give, give to us and we’ll be angry when they don’t.
The woman who is a grudge holder, doesn’t realize that she’s been forgiven much and won’t forgive others. She holds on with clenched fists to her rights and nurses the wrongs from others. The woman who knows the God that forgives her abundantly will be free to walk in obedience and give out forgiveness. She lives “hands open.”
The woman who believes that God can’t be trusted to meet her needs becomes a control freak and goes into self-preservation mode. The woman who believes that God can be trusted to meet her needs generously gives and doesn’t worry about supply. God will provide for her, so she’ll happily give to others whatever they need–resources, honor, recognition, time, encouragement. Hoarding for herself doesn’t come into play because she believes she’ll never lack. “The Lord is my Shepherd, He’ll take care of every one of my needs.”
We will love more, serve more, forgive more, be kinder, more generous, more patient, more forbearing when we realize how much God has given to us in these very areas…and how much He is still giving to us…and how He’ll always provide these things to us.
I once had a Christian woman tell me off and basically say that because of a series of events, our relationship was over. The end. Final. I realize that she was just angry and spouting, but I honestly felt such pity for this woman because she was showing by her words that she’d never experienced the love, forgiveness, or grace of God in her life in a way that changed her. She was still in “famine” mode when it came to the love of God, and she was dealing with others in a scarcity mindset.
Maybe you don’t realize all that you have in Christ today. I’d encourage you to read Ephesians 1 today if you are in this boat.
God tells us that His riches are not handed out stingily, but LAVISHLY. In Christ you are
- blessed (1:3)
- chosen (1:3)
- adopted into God’s family as a son/heir (1:5)
- redeemed by the precious blood of Christ (1:7)
- forgiven of all my sin (1:7)
- lavishly given God’s grace (1:8)
- sealed and secure through the Holy Spirit (1:13, 14)
“To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;” Eph. 1:6-8
Now, God’s abundant love transforms our relationships with all people and frees us to give them good whether they reciprocate or not. We don’t need payment from them–God’s holding all that we need. He’s never stingy. This frees us up to go and do likewise!
What about you? Do you notice a correlation between knowing God’s love for you and your ability to love others with no strings attached? Are you able to honor others without worrying about recognition in return? Share your thoughts in the comments.