Enough Or Abundance?

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I wasn’t anticipating the sight that greeted me as I entered the room.  It was the second morning of camp and I had gone in to wake a group of 10 year old girls, expecting to find them still sleeping, but instead I discovered them all huddled together on one bed, gathered round a girl who was reading from the Bible.  She had bought it the previous day from the camp bookstall and had been so excited to finally have a Bible of her own.  Ever since she got it she had hardly stopped reading it, but I wasn’t expecting a Bible study to be in full flow at 7.30 in the morning!  As I made my way into the room, one of the girls exclaimed, “The story of Elijah and the widow is exactly the same as Jesus feeding the 5000!”

I was sorry to have to break up the discussion to tell them it was time to get showered and dressed.  I loved their enthusiasm and the way they were engaging with the Bible.  None of these girls came from Christian families, and it was exciting to see what God was doing and how they were exploring the Bible and making connections for themselves.

As I thought back to the statement I had overheard as I entered though, it struck me that while the stories are certainly very similar, they are not exactly the same.  In both cases, food is miraculously provided, but there is one significant difference, because where one speaks of enough, the other shouts of abundance.

For Elijah and the widow the jars of flour and oil never emptied.  Each day they used some and yet, still, a little remained .  They never had full containers, or even a week’s supply; they never had food to spare, but they always had just enough for the next meal.

Certainly there are still times when God provides in this way- giving us just enough strength for the moment, just enough light for the next step.  Often these are the times when we learn to trust.

But maybe there are also times when we need to set our sights higher, because when Jesus feeds the 5000 it is different.  Not only is there enough to fully satisfy the crowd, but there are also twelve basketfuls of leftovers- an abundance of food!

There is a similar feature in other New Testament stories:

  • Peter, James and John have been working all night but have caught no fish.  Jesus tells them to go out again, throwing their nets over the other side of the boat, and suddenly they have more fish than they know what to do with!  Not just an ordinary catch, or even a good catch, but an abundant catch of fish, so great that the nets are breaking!
  • The wine runs out at a wedding party so Jesus provides- not just a small amount to keep them going, but six large jars full- probably about 500-600 litres- of the best wine they have ever tasted!
  • A Samaritan woman comes to the well, looking for physical water to sustain her temporarily, but instead she meets with Jesus and receives an abundance of living water: “Those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again.  It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving the eternal life.”  (John 4:14)

Jesus didn’t come to give us “just enough” but to give us an abundance.  Because we are united with him we have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms.”  (Ephesians 1:3 NLT).  Because we belong to him, his grace is poured out on us.”  (Ephesians 1:6 NLT)  “He has showered his kindness on us along with all wisdom and understanding.”  (Ephesians 1:8 NLT)  In him we are more than conquerors.”  (Romans 8:37 NIV)  “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.”  (2 Peter 1:3)

It challenges me to trust in God’s abundant provision:  to remember, when I don’t feel enough, that his power in me is more than enough, and to step out in faith, believing that.

It challenges me to pray bigger prayers, to remember the one I’m praying to and have faith for bigger things.

It also challenges me about my response.  Do I seek to give God “just enough” or do I respond abundantly, willingly giving my all, even when I feel that what I have to offer is inadequate?

Because the girls were right- the stories of the widow and the boy are very much alike, and there is another important similarity: they gave their all.  It didn’t seem like much, but their willingness to give what they had and to place it in the hands of God allowed them to take part in the miracle and witness his provision, and it challenges me to do the same.

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”  (Ephesians 3:20 NLT)

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Holly Barrett     purposefulfaith.com              cc-linkup-button

 

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43 thoughts on “Enough Or Abundance?

  1. Leslie, what beautiful insights on both the similarities and the differences between the Old Testament story of Elijah and the widow and the feeding of the 5,000 and other New Testament teachings. Ephesians 3:20 perfectly sums up the truth you presented – oh how I need to trust Jesus more in this area, especially in my prayer life.

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  2. I love the camp story. That alone was a wonderful visual of the goodness of God. But then you taught us through God’s word that enough becomes abundance when we choose life with Him. That is exactly what I needed this morning as I pray big prayers of my own. Blessings my friend!

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  3. Love this: Do I seek to give God “just enough” or do I respond abundantly, willingly giving my all, even when I feel that what I have to offer is inadequate? – I used to find myself soaking in His word, but when life gets crazy I need to remember HE is good and trust that He isn’t lacking in giving to me even on the days when I can’t seem to get it together. Amen!

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  4. Hi Lesley! I really appreciate the way you turned this around to look at your own life, and it challenges me too. God is so generous, am I generous back to him? Or do I just give him the scraps of my time?
    I would be so excited to see those little girls having a ‘bible study’ in the morning. It really is a sign to me that anyone can be open and ready to accept the Word at any time. So beautiful!
    Happy Valentine’s Day to you 🙂
    Ceil

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  5. What a heart-refreshing sight that must have been to see those girls huddled up around the Bible, Lesley. It warms my heart to picture it. I love your thoughts and Bible examples and verses on the abundance God gives us. His love and grace are so boundless, aren’t they? I need, too, to remember and believe in my heart that when I feel not enough, His power in me is more than enough! Thank you for these encouraging truths! Love and hugs!

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    1. Thanks, Valerie. Yes, working with kids is great. I love their enthusiasm and their insights. It is reassuring to remember how much God cares for us and that he gives us all we need.

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  6. Lesley, I love how you shared that you’ve been challenged in your response to God – seeing Him enough or abundantly. As my word for this year is “seek,” that most certainly speaks to me and my desire to pursue God more.

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  7. Oo, I can picture the 10 year old little girls circled in bed , reading their Bible. Makes me smile. 🙂 — Such truth here, Lesley. I pray I’m able to give my all. He is so worthy, and He multiplies what we give–whether oil, bread – grace or love – He sees. — Thank you for sharing these words of wisdom with #ChasingCommunity, Lesley. xoxo

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    1. I agree, it can be easy to write about things without necessarily putting them into practice as much as we’d like ourselves. I want to get better at praying big prayers too.

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