Abundance is usually considered a good thing. In fact, we often pray for it, long for it, and give thanks when we receive it. Abundance is a blessing in our minds.
So in my foggy headed 5:45 am reading of today’s scripture for my Advent study, when I came across the line “I shall say to myself, ‘Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry,” my first response was a sigh of relief and a wholehearted YES. Then the next line came.
But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?
And I felt like a bigger fool than even the rich fool in the gospel.
Oh how I long for stability, certainty, security. I wouldn’t mind being a recipient of all the seemingly good things this world has to offer. But Jesus is not of this world. Jesus came to turn the world and all it holds dear upside down. More often than not, if we are moving towards Jesus, we are turning away from the things the world says we should value.
So then I asked myself—abundance of what? Abundance of possessions? of money? of things? Or an abundance of the immaterial and eternal—love, joy, faith?
I find myself apologizing for our home. The old carpet, the curling linoleum, the countertops with the finished rubbed off and covered in stains that won’t come out. We scrub and clean and despite our best efforts, years of carelessness from former tenants leaves things shabby. But why am I asking forgiveness for my home as if it were a character flaw? Lack of granite countertops and wood floors doesn’t define who I am as a person. Our old car shouldn’t elicit shame from me or contempt from others.
Life does not consist in the abundance of possessions. My life right now has an abundance of wet baby kisses. An abundance of giggles as my husband plays with our daughter. An abundance of family reaching out to help. And abundantly long days spent at home with my daughter, a sacrifice we make because our definition of abundance is bigger than the amount printed on a pay check, more important than the clothes we wear.
The rich fool builds bigger barns to save more, hoard and hide away, desperately seeking peace and security. But all of those efforts are fear driven. There is no security in the things of this world, only in Jesus. Real abundance comes from His grace.
We all know what it means to be rich by the world’s standards. But what does it mean to be rich by God’s standards?
I realized that I spend a good part of every day dwelling in fear and worry. Shadowy nameless worries about money and supporting our family and how we will ever be able to grow our family in the future. How will we have all the children God sends, that we truly want? How will we provide for them? How will we manage not to be a burden in our old age? These are some of my biggest fears. They are very real to me. They darken my thoughts each day.
I resolved that today I would not allow worries about money or the future to enter my thoughts. Instead I will focus on being rich in what matters to God and on the many blessings He has bestowed upon us. He always provides, always saves us. And once I make it through today, I’ll try my best to do it again tomorrow. One day at a time, filled with God’s abundant love.
If you are interested in participating in Waiting in His Word, an Advent lectio divina scriptural study designed by Nell, Nancy, and Laura, see the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1695487650680941/