Working With a Surplus
Ever wonder how to get more than enough? I’m talking about a surplus in the blessings department. When you can proclaim boldly like the psalmist David, “my cup runs over” (Psalm 23). Well, in my experience in prayer and faith, it happens when my focus shifts off myself and on to the needs of the needy; when I emphasize results which favor the deprived rather than myself.
In God’s economy, the best way to reach my limit and beyond is to fashion my life as one who distributes to others what they need, and less about seeking what I want. In other words, service to God’s kingdom will deliver an overflow. That’s why Jesus said,
Matthew 6:31-33 (NLT): “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
It’s Not About Me
Don’t get nervous; this is not a solicitation, it’s more of a realization of where I place my faith. As a Christian, I have spent way too much time sharing with God my laundry list of the things I want, and too little time strategizing with Him on how to make a difference in the life of another.
Proverbs 11:25 A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
When the industrialist and American billionaire John D. Rockefeller was asked, “How much money is enough?” he responded, “a little more.” Here was the world’s richest man of all time, and his goal for “a little more” would never be satisfied, because there is always a little more to be had. He was a man known to shun his family and treat employees badly in his pursuit to get “a little more.”
With this mindset, he would never achieve a surplus because there was always a void Between what he had and what he wanted. But when we place our focus on filling the needs of others, God sees to it we will not only have enough for ourselves in all things, but a surplus to care for the marginalized.
Seek the Kingdom
So where does a surplus begin? Well, the dictionary defines the term: something that remains above what is used or needed. So, when we look at Mr. Rockefeller’s life-long goal of getting “a little more” we see he would never attain what he needed. But we can attain more than the estimated adjusted wealth of $340 billion of this oil tycoon . How?
When we strive for the things God sets as a priority, we amass things which are greater than all the riches the world has to offer. The key here is our priority. If God’s business takes precedence over our own, meaning obedience, ministry to others, and loving others as much as we love ourselves, then God ensures we have what we need and more.
A good test to see if I am working more toward God’s kingdom and less toward my own is to evaluate where I spend my energy. God has given each of us a measure of time, talent and resources to live our life on this planet. If I focus these on goods and services which are exhaustible, then I will be chasing the same thing Rockefeller sought his entire life – “a little more.”
Container or Conduit?
My life will ultimately be judged on what I mean to others. Rockefeller’s achievements were placed in a big container which could never be filled. When I read about this man, I get the sense he was never satisfied in his lifetime; attaining more was always at the forefront of his life and having more than anyone else was his goal. I believe he died a miserable man.
Christians are not built to be a container, but rather a conduit. When seeing our life as a service to others, God uses this attitude to pass provision through us to the needs of others. A conduit is always working and never empty, always full like a cup which is running over.
This “cup running over” can come in the form of various resources God gives us. To some its money, to others it’s time or talents. My focus should be on what God has decided for me, and to daily combine my efforts with His power. I should work in the overflow of His giving as I give to those He sends me to support for His cause.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way, they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.