Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Ministering Out of the Overflow of God's Abundance

Our God is a God of abundance. More than enough. His paths drip abundance. David said, “My cup runs over” (Psalm 23:5). Running over. Overflow.

Someone has said that Egypt was a land of “not enough,” the wilderness was a land of “just enough,” but the Promised Land was a land of “more than enough.” It was a land flowing (overflowing) with milk and honey.

Another psalm writer gave this musical notation: “Both the singers and the players on instruments say, ‘All my springs are in you.’” (Psalm 87:7). The “you” refers either to the Lord Himself, of else to His holy city, Zion. Either way, it refers to abundance that comes from God. For what is a spring if not an overflow?

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Overflow.

Paul understood the overflow of God as the abundance of His grace. “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8). This is the abundance of God so that we may also have abundance.

This is not just spiritual abundance, as if the spiritual could be separated from the natural. This is spiritual abundance that flows forth into the natural. In fact, in the context of 2 Corinthians 9, this verse moves from the general truth of God’s abundance in our lives to the particular abundance of God in our finances — a.k.a. money.

Yes, God’s abundance is as much about our money as about anything else in our lives. God wants to bless us with an abundance of it — more than enough — so that we can overflow with financial blessing into the lives of others. He wants to give us more than enough so we can have abundance for every good work.

This has always been God’s way. In the covenant document of Israel, the Book of Deuteronomy, God says, “And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth that He may establish His covenant” (Deuteronomy 8:17). The power to get wealth comes from God so that He may establish His covenant on the earth. It is a covenant of blessing.

Psalm 112 talks about the blessing on the righteous, those who fear the LORD and delight greatly in His commandments. “Wealth and riches will be in his house” (v. 3). Why? Because he is “gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. A good man deals graciously and lends” (vv. 4-5). God blesses the righteous with wealth so that they can overflow with blessing toward others.

Some Christians have a very stingy spirit. “I don’t need much, just enough to get by,” they say, imagining themselves to be very pious and humble. But in fact, they are grudging and miserly. They are withholding the blessing with which God wants them to bless others. They are stopping the abundance of God in their lives. They have no overflow, consequently they have no flow either. They become stagnant pools — a blessing to no one.

In the season of Thanksgiving, ought we not to give thanks for the bounty of the Lord by letting it flow through us to others? Ought we not to sow bountifully, so that we may reap bountifully, so that we may sow even more bountifully, and thus multiply blessing to many. We will not come up short if we do. Rather, we will experience the current of God’s compassion, the flow of His love into the lives of others. We will be ministering to others out of the overflow of His passion and power at work in us. Its all good.