Living in Abundance

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Today’s Reading: Luke Chapter 17

Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, But on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all—so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. Luke 17:28-30

 Hello, it’s another Monday! I seriously love writing to you on Monday’s. I imagine you at home with your morning coffee and toast or at the office getting your week started in the Word. As I was preparing to write to you this week I sort of had things all lined up, but then this morning I had a bit of a game changer. I went out for a run and randomly selected an episode of a podcast I’ve been listening to. The topic was generally related to living an abundant life with less. What I heard changed my view on today’s scripture and I want to share that with you!

So, Luke chapter 17 highlighted by Jesus telling us about forgiveness and faith. In the first few verses we hear about forgiveness of sin. Jesus talks to us about being accountable for our own sin and also the sin of others. The next part is about Jesus healing ten men with leprosy. Jesus sent the ten lepers to a priest before they were healed and they all responded in faith and agreed to go. Jesus healed them on the way because they demonstrated faith. Only one of the ten men came to thank Jesus and only he had the opportunity to learn that it was his faith that led to healing. Then Jesus teaches about the coming of the Kingdom of God. He warns us against the false security of materialism. This is where it got real for me! Jesus is warning us that we will have to separate ourselves from the attachments of this world in order to be ready for Christ’s return. He mentions eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting and building. He’s essentially saying that it doesn’t matter if we are living in the days of Lot or the days of a-whole-lot, our human sinful nature draws us to these selfish values. My NIV study bible breaks it down like this:

Those who live for themselves display these common attitudes:

  • Materialism-I want it and work hard to get it. All that I see is real. Unseen things are merely ideas and dreams.
  • Individualism-I work hard for me, and you work hard for you. I may make it; and you may not. That’s your problem, not mine.
  • Skepticism-Anything I’m not convinced about can’t be important. Everything important to know I can figure out.

(NIV Study Bible, Zondervan)

How hard was that to read? I see a little bit of myself in all three of those descriptions. When I considered those three attitudes, what I found to be at the center of it all is power and privilege. When I think about the challenge of materialism, I think about money. Money gives us the power to either provide for ourselves or provide for others. Jesus tells us that when he returns, it will happen suddenly and that we must abandon our attachments to the world if we want to live eternally with Him. As I listened to my podcast this morning I was challenged to consider money and possessions as a circumstance. Regardless of our current circumstance, our thoughts and feelings about money are what impact our life more than the actual circumstance. In other words, if our thoughts and feelings are directed toward living a Christ centered life than we will truly experience abundance. When we are so focused on eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting and building we are unable to truly have gratitude for the abundance we are experiencing right this minute. No matter what level of wealth and accumulation of things we achieve, our brain looks ahead to the next bit that we can have. What if we stopped and just sat quietly in the blessing and richness that Jesus has provided for us right now. What if we reflected back to a time when we imagined what it would feel like to be a first time home owner, have a newborn baby, or land that dream job. When we imagined achieving those successes or acquiring that new thing, we imagined a feeling of contentment. Jesus is encouraging us today to let go of materialism, individualism and skepticism in order to prepare ourselves for his return. He is asking us to stay engaged in relationship with Him. At the end of my podcast today the narrator asked this question:

“What is the very most happy and most peaceful you can allow yourself to feel with less?”

Isn’t that a startling question? What is the very most happy and peaceful we can allow ourselvesbe with less money, less stuff, less screen time, just less things but more Jesus. Keeping our commitment to Christ means we’ll be ready when he returns. I hope you’ll take time to think about what I the most peaceful and happy you can allow yourself feel in the love and connection to Jesus Christ. Have a great week!