…My grace is sufficient for you…2 Corinthians 12:9
I read an article once about a family that had a special tradition. Each time someone got something new, they had to give something away to make room for it. To tell you the truth, I thought that sounded a little crazy at first. As the days passed, I continued to think about that family, I realized that they understood the concept of “enough”.
We live in a world that has us programmed for bigger, better, faster, easier and over the top. It seems like those concepts apply to everything from the size of our living room TV to the speed of our technology. It’s no wonder we as a society have lost track of the concept of “enough” and have become a restless people. We worry about investments, savings accounts, college funds and retirement plans. The pressure of getting, keeping and managing all of our “stuff” is stressful! I’d like to suggest that we all “back up the truck” and think for a minute about enough.
In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul was trying to explain that God and His loving grace is sufficient, or enough. When we make our list of what we need or what we want, how often do we remember to take inventory of God’s graces and blessings? Do we need 15 pairs of shoes, 20 outfits and a bigger TV, or do we have enough? Could it be that what we really need is to spend more time building a relationship with the Father and trusting in His goodness, compassion and grace? Do you suppose a bigger chunk of our day spent connecting with God will make us more successful and comfortable than money and things?
God loves us and wants us to be happy but He doesn’t want us to lose track of the important things in life. He is the designer of generosity and He wants to bless us with good things, but He encourages us to trust in Him and realize that He is enough…the rest will fall into place as long as we have Him.
A seed to plant: Make a list of the things you have “enough” of, then find ten things you have more than enough of and share them with those who don’t have enough.
Blessings on your day!
Do all things without grumbling or complaining Philippians 2:14
Some things just go together like peanut butter and jelly or salt and pepper and we often see things in pairs that simply make sense. In relationships they say opposites attract and that seems sensible and pretty easy to defend but what about those things that just don’t seem to go together at all but yet sometimes intersect? Last week we had two nights of softball and snow or softball and 30 pounds of clothes and blankets to protect ourselves from the wind and the freezing rain. It was the perfect example of two things that don’t belong together at all but spring in Michigan seems to toss that combination together pretty regularly. As I bundled up for the third such outing in a week I began to wonder how I could make the yucky combination more fun. After just a little thought it came to me and made me smile.
When the weather is nasty and the devoted parents huddle together to stay warm and cheer on their daughters there is a sense of bonding that can only come from laughing at each other for doing such ridiculous things to support our kids. It dawned on me that there were groups of parents watching baseball and track huddled and shivering just like us and it made me giggle. It’s nuts but it made me realize how much we love our kids. I wouldn’t sit on cold aluminum bleachers and shiver for anybody else but my kids and why do we do it? Because we love them and we want to support them whether they are on the field or in the dugout. As I sat there wondering if the kids we support appreciate it I realized that didn’t even really matter.
I’m sure Jesus has done things that were way more uncomfortable for me than sitting out in the cold watching a ball game and I’m not sure I always show him my appreciation. I guess the truth of the matter is Jesus’ love and my behaviors aren’t always a compatible combination. I don’t always respond with enthusiasm or dedication and I certainly don’t give him all the attention and priority he deserves. I suppose supporting those we love even when it’s uncomfortable is an opportunity to serve him and grow in holiness. I hope I will be able to remember that the next time I have a chance to put someone else’s needs and comfort ahead of mine.
I wonder what my life would be like if I made the combination of gratefulness and holiness more important than comfort and convenience? I’m going to work really hard to try out some great new combinations and maybe if I do it right, I will come out of it all walking a little closer to the Jesus I love.
A Seed To Plant: Pick one negative thing this week you can complete without complaint or concern for your personal comfort or convenience…see where it leads your heart.
His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever He tells you.” John 2:5
Would everyone who ever had a mother look into their eyes and say, “Just do it… because I said so!”, please stand up. If you are a reader who follows directions, you’re probably now reading this post standing up! Somewhere early in mamma school the women in my mother’s generation learned how to say that phrase with such authority and strength it was simply a conversation stopper! When my mom launched that phrase from her lips it was a done deal…mamma said do it…case closed! Lucky for me, my mother passed on the talent. As I fast forward lots of years I have said those same words to my own children at the end of a debate I had to come out the winner of. It’s like the motherhood trump card…do it because I said so!
Why is it so powerful…why does it work…why do we say it? I think the first thing that makes it so powerful is that it’s biblical…if Mary, the mother of Jesus could use the line successfully all mother (and fathers) should be encouraged to use it too! I think it works because it’s simple and I think we say it because we love our children and we know what’s best for them. Mary’s words had a deeper meaning; they were an invitation to the servers to be a part of something amazing that was about to happen. Mamma Mary knew great things were about to begin with her son…she knew best that night so she used those powerful words and the servants at that wedding did what they were instructed because Jesus’ mother “said so!”
Those words from John’s Gospel have a strong tie to our lives even today. We are the servers…we are those called to be Christ’s hands and feet on earth. We are called to live and spread the Gospel message so Mary’s words are as relevant to us today as they were to the servers in Cana the night Jesus performed his first miracle. Our mothers told us to “do what they said” because they knew there was more to the situation than we could see. Mary knew that too. Mary knows that still. Whenever we hear the words in this Gospel message, we should be reminded to “do whatever He tells us”. That really is our job…to do whatever He tells us. He has every last detail about our life sealed in His heart why wouldn’t we listen and obey? We are a stubborn people. Lucky for us, Mary reminds us through this verse to do whatever Jesus tells us, and even luckier for us, because of God’s great love and wisdom, we are invited back again and again to try to do it the right way…the way He tells us.
A Seed To Plant: Before you go to bed tonight, recall a situation where you didn’t “Do whatever He said”. Think about the outcome of that situation and prayerfully sleep on it. Tomorrow morning pick one tricky or difficult area in your life and specifically ask God to help “do whatever He tells you”.
Blessings on your day!
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