We've been home all evening. I enjoy being home. I give thanks often for this wonderful place where we live. I often say that this house is bigger than what we need but, on the other hand, I believe God provided it to us. I just want it to be used for good.
As I talk about my life I think about the many people who might get jealous of all that we have. Not only do I have a nice home (on which we are paying a mortgage), we also have employment, paychecks, each other (Toni and I), a loving family, supportive friends, worthwhile things to do, two cars that run well, many tools for work (including this computer), money in the bank, some pension money (though not as much as we probably "should" have for our old age), health insurance coverage (that we're paying a LOT for each month), and so many, many more things. And we do not have any debts (besides the mortgage).
Many years ago, when Toni and I had just gotten married, I remember when Toni's sister's father-in-law came up the stairs to the second-floor duplex we were renting. I have a mental picture of him (John Abel) looking at our little kitchen and saying this:
"God's provision is His estimate of our need."I remember him saying that and I remember thinking to myself, yes, it's true. This apartment is what we need right now. Not more, not less. And ever since then God has continued to provide. We've never been "without." We've always had enough--and more. I can't express how thankful I am for this life. Wow.
I'm thinking about these things tonight in connection with a message that is planned for this coming Sunday at Crossroads. The "network" of churches and pastors that I work with selected "The Ten Commandments" as the theme to be addressed in messages over the next few weeks--beginning with the last commandment ("You all not covet your neighbor's...") and working our way up to the first ("You shall have no other gods...").
In many ways the Holy Spirit has worked in me to make me content with what I have. It's not very often that I honestly desire to have what someone else has, whether it's their house or their spouse or anything that belongs to them. I say "honestly desire" because God has also given me wisdom--wisdom to know that not everything (or everyone) that 'looks good' to me at any given moment would truly BE good if I were to actually have it. Surface desires and superficial fantasies don't go deep for me because I know, as the old proverb says, "All that glitters is not gold." Knowing that truth doesn't always keep desire away, but it does keep me from acting stupid in terms of grabbing what isn't mine. Thanks God, for that!.
I believe that God has indeed written this command on my heart. When I find myself slipping into deeper desire for what God has not given me, I go to prayer and to God's Word, where I learn both the beauty of contentment and the dangers of covetousness. And I am so thankful for the promises of God, that one day all desire will be focused where it should be, on Him and on what He chooses to give. In the Kingdom of God (in heaven) all desire will be perfectly in tune with God's will. Now I see that truth and experience it in part, but then it shall be complete.
Pray with me please that all God's people will be set free from covetousness so that we can use all our lives to praise and love our Lord--and to bless those who have far less. And pray that we will see clearly about how this message can be shared in a helpful way this coming Sunday, Feb. 23, at Crossroads. If you have insights that would be helpful, please share in whatever way works for you.