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Abundance (Nate)

November 22, 2008

A while back, our friend Emily Wiggins recommended a podcast about adoption and orphans (check it out here:
Crown on Orphans). A couple of things stuck out to me that I’d like to reproduce here, and then I’d like to share some of my thoughts and reactions.

In the podcast, Crown Ministries mention that “It is God who allows us to make money and earn a living, God who teaches us to manage it wisely, and it is God who expects us to use those resources to fulfill his purposes- and caring for orphans and widows is a huge part of God’s heart.”

I agree completely that God has given us abundant resources in the form of his creation (water, plants, dirt, sun, air) and that, combined with our reasoning abilities and physical abilities, give us lots of options for how to “make” money and live. I also agree that God had in mind some specific uses for the stuff he’s given us other than just entertaining ourselves. For instance, maybe my ability to make more than enough for me to live on is part of God’s design. In Jesus’ day, a man could provide for his whole family by using just a donkey and his own hard labor. Aren’t we now able to provide so much more since we have tons of machines doing the hard stuff for us? Of course. So what are we doing with the excess? If we were truly using our resources wisely and in the way God intended, we should be using our abundance to help widows and orphans, as God commands us to do. Stated another way, our ability to sustain life is abundant and should be shared with those orphans and widows because it is a huge part of God’s heart.

In the podcast, they also mention some depressing statistics about the 130 million orphans in the world, many of whom are economic orphans. It flattens me that some families give up a kid they brought into the world because they feel like they can’t provide for the child. But the podcast also points out the hope mentioned in Psalm 68 as well. Just in case you’re so depressed by the statistics that you’re incapacitated and can’t bring yourself to do a quick search at www.biblegateway.com, here’s the part I’m talking about:

Psalm 68

5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.

6 God sets the lonely in families, [b]
he leads forth the prisoners with singing;
but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

9 You gave abundant showers, O God;
you refreshed your weary inheritance.

10 Your people settled in it,
and from your bounty, O God, you provided for the poor.

If ever I feel overwhelmed that there are just too many orphans to take care of, or that widows are just a part of society, I should come back to this passage. God does these things! He’s a father to orphans and a husband for widows. He’s an adoption specialist!

Which makes me wonder, if God is looking out for the orphans and widows, that means I can go about making my wallet fat and eating as much protein as I can while driving an SUV right?

Well I guess that’s true if I don’t want to be a part of God’s purposes on earth or care about the things he does, which is basically not being a follower, or disciple of him. But that sounds pretty futile to me and probably is the most depressing thing I can think of.

Maybe I need to consider how God goes about doing these things. The podcast quotes Rick Warren saying that the Church is the world’s biggest distribution network and the thing we’re supposed to move is compassion. God pours out his love on us (one of the ways is in providing for our physical needs), and, in turn, we are to pour out his love to the rest of the world.

Which brings me full circle. I have an abundance. I have excess. I am capable of providing for more than just my family. And if I’m not, I’m being disobedient and not being a good manager of the resources God has given me.

James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

–Nate

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