Abundant Supply

2 Corinthians 8: 14

At this present time your abundance being a supply for their want, that their abundance also may become a supply for your want, that there may be equality.

This is God’s idea of provision. My idea used to be that I would hoard all of my provision for my needs and wants and you would stockpile all of your earnings and take care of your needs. Wow! How wrong was that? Dad’s idea is that I take care of you and you take care of me. So, how am I doing? 

Paul had a global perspective on this economic system. He could see how it operated across all the new churches and the whole of the territory. Lack in one area need not end in lack for those inhabitants because other regions were not only experiencing abundance but they also shared their abundance. Therefore, there was no lack.

Of course this is exactly what Jesus taught us about how the Kingdom of God operates. He said that if we wanted to understand the Kingdom then we must understand the parable of the seed (Mark 4: 13). We begin with seeds. Now you know that a seed produces far more fruit than one could ever guess from such a small beginning. That is the point though. We sow a few small seeds into the lives of others and then the harvest into their lives and then to ours turns out to be an entire crop. However, if I keep my seed and you keep your seed, guess what; there will be no harvest for either of us. We end up eating our seed and there is no growth in our portfolios.

Man, this is the simplest of all parables and it is the one by which Jesus said we would understand all parables. None the less, it is one that seems to elude modern Christians. We need to get a revelation. When we all plant our seeds, then there is a bountiful harvest which we all get to participate in. Why do we not use Dad’s economic model? I think we fail because of fear. Yes, there are perhaps some people who are just stingy but I believe the bigger reason is that people are just afraid. They think they won’t reap even if they sow. Therefore, they hang on to their little seed with a tight fist. Maybe they think that others won’t do their part, so that the sowing will be all one sided. My answer to that is that at the very least if we do our part we will be in obedience. Secondly, perhaps, just maybe, Dad will come through for us. He is the one who makes seed grow. He is the master of the harvest. Verse 15 says, “He who gathered little had no lack.” God’s system works. That is why both Paul and Jesus taught it. I don’t think either of them was trying to lead us astray.

Here is the bottom line – everything in God’s Kingdom functions through the operation of seed. Until we grasp this most basic of concepts we are going to struggle. Eventually we have to understand that Dad is in the business of providing but that He does so through multiplying seed. When you truly get a hold of that idea, you will begin to see how to operate all of the machinery in the Kingdom of God. Unfortunately the converse is true too. You will never operate in Kingdom principles if you don’t grasp the first law.

Inherited Blessing

1 Peter 3: 9

… not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.

Well, if you read yesterday’s Word of the Day you might have thought the Apostle Peter was going through a period of insanity when he wrote verse 8. Look at today’s verse, though. Now, I am convinced that Peter was suffering under some sort of mental illness. Of course we respond with insult when insulted and of course we fight when assaulted. What is Peter thinking? He wants us to give a blessing when we are assailed by evil or insulted? What? This guy has been listening to Jesus too much!

Well, of course, there is no such thing as listening to Jesus too much. There is only too little. When the Roman cohort went to the garden to arrest Jesus, one of Jesus’ followers drew his sword and removed the ear of the servant of the high priest (Matthew 26: 51). Guess who that sword wielding follower was. If you guessed Peter, you would be right. He was not a man who, by his own nature, returned a blessing for a threat. None the less, in his letter that is exactly what he implores us to do. What changed?

Peter was a man of great passion. He was not given to pensiveness, subtlety or passivity and yet his lesson to us is to refrain from acts of vengeance and agression. What was it that he learned that caused such a drastic change in him? While true, it is perhaps a bit simplistic to simply answer that he learned Jesus.

I believe that which marked Peter as a changed man is that he learned the Kingdom of God and that he came to have a deep understanding and revelation of the Parable of the Seed. This parable is, in fact, the model of the Kingdom of God. As you sow, so shall you reap. Sometimes I think the crop is even larger and more tasty when the seed sown is in response to adversity. Jesus said, “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?  Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others?  Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” (Matthew 5: 46 – 47).

Do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. I say to you, love your enemies , and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5: 39, 44). This teaching did not sink into Peter’s spirit the first time he heard it. Perhaps it didn’t become a revelation even the twelfth time he heard it. However, by the time he wrote his first letter to the church, he had come to appreciate the power and truth in Jesus’ words. Peter experienced living in grace and learned to extend grace. He came to know the authority that resides in Jesus’ commands. We can live through Peter’s experience and follow his advice or we can continue to wade through life until by some miracle we experience the same epiphany. It seems it would be much easier for us to simply take Jesus and Peter at their word. Each of them point us in the direction of life and blessing. They want what is best for us. Peter summed it up well, this advice is given to us so that we “might inherit a blessing.”