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Wednesday, February 4, 2004

A Life of Simplicity

The point is this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8
The basic truth that Paul is saying in this passage is that God gives us more than what we need. Therefore, we will ALWAYS have enough of everything AND may provide in abundance for every good work (emphasis mine).
As children of God, we have the right to claim this promise. God never, ever abandons his children. I know - because I have experienced being without a job for 13 and a half months and through it all, God provided for four mouths to feed PLUS some more to give for good works.
Although this happened to me, it was not all that fun and smooth. There were times of difficulties and despair, but through it all, the Lord came through. We ALWAYS had enough for everything not just the necessities, but we were able to enjoy simple luxuries. (Note, I say simple luxuries not extravagant luxuries).
This is why the Lord said in the Old Testament that no one is to come to him empty handed. The reason is that this will be an insult to the Lord. If we come to him without anything, we are saying that he is not giving us enough - when in fact, he said that he is able to provide us with EVERY blessing IN ABUNDANCE.
Say it again - God is ABLE to provide me with EVERY blessing in ABUNDANCE. Key words are: able, every blessing and abundance.
God is powerful enough to do this. I always say is that our Heavenly Father is rich. And and he is! He gives us not just some, but every blessing he has. And what is more is that he gives in ABUNDANCE. God is superabundant - more than abundant.
Why is God giving us an abundance? Is it to satisfy our cravings for luxury? Is it for us to buy the latest electronic gadget or car? It is so that we can have enough of everything AND provide in abundance for every good work. The things we have, we are expected to give to every good work.
Years ago, I talked to a priest who told me that as a priest, they have vows of celibacy, poverty and obedience. He also told me, as a lay person, you have to live in chastity, simplicity and humility.
We are not called to live in poverty. We are called to live in simplicity.
A life of simplicity does not mean living a miser's life, skimping on everything. Neither is it to flaunt our wealth to cause envy in others. It is using our resources responsibly. But it is a life that is according to our means and station in life. Some businessmen have to maintain nice cars and houses because their business requires it. Some people need to buy the latest in electronic gadgets because it is needed in their work. We can sometimes give ourselves and our families some simple luxuries - because the Lord also wants that. But to live in luxury if we cannot afford it, then that is not according to the will of the Lord.
May we then be able to live our lives according to our means - so that we can always have enough of everything and provide in abundance for every good work.

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