Poverty Mentality

As a child it wasn’t often we went to a house where a generous morning or afternoon tea spread was put on, but when there was we were usually told – just one thing (maybe two on an extremely special occasion). I would stand there in fits of indecisiveness wanting to make the perfect decision – desperate to have one of everything, haunted by the idea I might choose something dry and miss out on the truly gooey and delicious.

rocky road

(You can tell I am fully committed to the gooey slice and provision of baking in my adult life!)

I realise I carry this sense of only being allowed one good thing into my theology sometimes. It’s like I have a poverty mentality when it comes to all the goodness and promises of God.

I can believe that, in the death and resurrection of Jesus I have been given the most wonderful, earth-shattering, universe-changing gift. I know I am wholly redeemed, completely forgiven, totally accepted. Yet, suddenly when it comes to believing that the story will work out, the tears and disappointments will bear fruit, the missing out and longings will in some way be redeemed – I’m back to the girl at the morning tea.

I think I’m not allowed more, so I don’t ask. I stop asking, I give up seeking, I no longer lift my hand to knock.

I think that my day-to-day needs don’t matter.

I’ve finished the dialogue because, when the answer didn’t come instantly my way, I think there is no answer to be had. I have forgotten about the fruit born in patience, the character developed in persistence and the overarching deep-down-in-my-bones knowledge that the One who promised is faithful.

I read this by Nicky Gumbel the other day –

If God provided the ultimate sacrifice to meet your greatest need, will he not also provide for all your other needs?

(Jan 10th, Bible in one year app, from alpha international).

Isn’t it crazy to think of someone ready to go on a life-giving rescue mission to bring life to another would then turn around and not care how that life turned out?

That someone would put on a lavish celebration feast for someone then leave them to poverty and starvation afterwards?

plateJesus puts it this way:

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Luke 12

Maybe our needs aren’t always met the way we hoped they’d be but that doesn’t mean God doesn’t care or that we shouldn’t continue to believe for and ask for the ‘daily bread’ required in our lives.

We are invited to a table lavishly spread and to a generous host who can do, provide, and meet with us in ways beyond what we can imagine. We are also called to partner with that generosity as we live out our stories.

Live bold and prayerful dear ones, and may we all know we are offered more than one piece of all the goodness God has to offer.

xxx

** this is not a reflection on gaining prosperity, success and wealth as we might measure it culturally – it’s a reflection about trusting God to meet our needs, to care about our needs and to continue his goodness and generosity towards us all of our lives. **

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BTL – Trust

This week’s reading was about Abraham offering Isaac – such a powerful and somewhat perplexing (to me) reading. How did Isaac respond to being offered as a sacrifice – how did it effect his relationship with his Father?

Was his trust like Abraham’s? Was his peace with him?

In a later reading for this week there is a challenge to offer ourselves to righteousness. It feels kind of the same thing – this reckless trust.

Do we trust God enough to lay it all on the line?

Or is it easier to apply natural wisdom to situations and to hold a little back. I could so easily have ‘spiritually talked myself’ out of Abraham’s sacrifice. Come now, I can’t have heard this right – Isaac is the son of God’s promise. He wouldn’t want this thing done. For goodness sake he even promised to make Ishmael into a nation and he was just Hagar’s son. There’s no way he could approve of this. I heard wrong, it wasn’t God’s word to me – I was confused, maybe it was evil?... and so on.

In hindsight we know.

In the present we trust.

Reckless trust – that has been my phrase this year.

Trust that takes us to a new country, to a new church, into new endeavours….. maybe it seems easy or stupid or something else.

But some days all we have is trust.

The kind of trust a person exercises when they leap from a plane with only a backpack and silk fabric to stop them dying…. only more so.

Yet I am daily faced with this trust – trusting him to sort out the best for me as I walk with determination in his steps. Trust that he will not let me be overcome by my own sin –

he has rescued and he rescues still

and he will provide what I need

but sometimes I have to head up the hill with only wood and a knife and my most beloved thing/s –  and I need to know that those things – my comfort, my thoughts, my reputation, my finances, a relationship ….. whatever they are sometimes need to be entirely surrendered as lost before I see another way.

and the only way to really give those things up is when I want God’s way more than my own

and the only thing that gives me the strength to do it is reckless trust

and I am flinging myself up that hill with my heart heaving with trepidation but I repeat

God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering

and sometimes I believe it and other times I just go on trust because my heart falters – step, repeat, step, repeat – trust, trust, trust.