I've been writing a lot about money, blessings, and God's provision lately- mainly because I've been so moved by God's provision in my own life this past year! But as I've read over some of my posts, I realize I've only been telling half the story. I don't mean I've been telling half truths about things that have happened to me or others, but that I've only been emphasizing half the beauty of it all.
1) God provides for us.
2) We learn that He's our Provider and no other.
3) We gain confidence in Him and His goodness toward us, and lose anxiety about the future.
4) We grow more in love with His goodness and less in love with things.
5) We grow more generous because we no longer have any reason to hoard things- no fear about "not having enough" and no idolatry for the things themselves.
6) We become instruments of God's goodness in the lives of others.
God blessed our landlords financially and they built a house with a guest apartment. However, they love God more than they love their stuff. In fact, they value the generous heart of God even more than having privacy in their own home! They chose to invite two complete strangers to live on their property- to let another family enjoy their real-estate, their backyard, outdoor grill, pool, and living space completely free- just as a gift! That is the generous heart of God toward them overflowing into the lives of others.
So what I'm saying is I don't think it's God's intention to give us "good gifts" of provision etc. for us to hoard them or brag about them. I don't think the goal is for us to become chubby, bratty kids with piles of toys all around us. I think the goal is to be so moved by His character and changed by His generosity that we lose any reason to hoard. Here is how He's changing me:
"Consider the lilies of the field and how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow gone, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?"
As I grow in confidence in the capability of God and the character of God in His provision for me, I grow so satisfied in God that I can lose sight of the things themselves! I can rejoice in His blessings but not hold them with a closed fist. I can give more than the bare minimum. I can give with joy and without fear. I can give more than is "required" or expected. I can give more than makes worldly sense!
Think about what you're most afraid of losing or not having enough of. For me, it's usually food (repercussions of being one of six children). Meditate on God's generosity toward you and His promise to provide what you need and practice giving some of that thing away. I'm serious! Having to host dinners for people has been a major lesson for me in trusting God for enough food. If you think you barely make enough money to live on, meditate on God's absolute sufficiency in your life and practice giving away more than you want to. Maybe you are most afraid of not having "enough" of your spouse's/boyfriend's/friend's/parent's time. Meditate on God's love for you and His promise to give you exactly what you need, and then release that person to be shared with others!
As I'm practicing these things (and maybe having less for dinner occasionally), I'm finding freedom.