Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 011 Abundance
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast.
Episode #011 – Abundance
Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me to grow in Jesus together. I am blessed and thrilled to be back with you today to discuss more ways to live with eternal perspective.
Forced changes in our nation over the last several weeks have shaped a new definition of abundance in the minds of most Americans. If you ponder the definition of the word, you most likely think of “a very large quantity of something” or “plentifulness of good things,” or “prosperity.”
Throughout our years of marriage, my husband and I have shared times of ease and of difficulty. Getting married right out of high school with only $1,000 in savings was hard. Within the first year we had a baby and new expenses, medical bills, plus my health took a hit. After suffering for a few years with health issues, I had to have a hysterectomy at the age of 22. By then, we had two children and a lot more medical bills and expenses.
I look back at those early years with wonder at how we survived. Before we knew God was caring for us, He was. My in-laws were there to help in many ways, and they prayed for us daily. Gradually, my health improved, and I began babysitting at home until our children were a little older and then I had to go to work outside of the home. We were working very hard to get out of debt. I remember paying about $100 total a month (which was a lot), breaking payments into $5 per medical specialist we owed just to keep them from calling collections on us. It was all we could afford.
The Lord definitely provided miracles for us multiple times where we had no idea what we would do. Then, in later years, after our first two children were young adults, and we were in the last months of our first adoption from China, we needed $9,000.00 for the remaining expenses and travel money we needed to bring our infant daughter home.
We prayed together daily through our “paper pregnancy” and this was one of the many requests we lifted to the Lord. After praying specifically about this need for about two weeks, my husband was called into his boss’s office at work and received a bonus check. After taxes and tithing, the amount was exactly $9,000.00.
Matthew 6:11 says, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
On our second adoption, I was no longer working outside of the home as I left my job the week before we left for China the first time. We had sucked through savings when we had to pay for the unexpected funeral of our oldest daughter and then my husband was laid off his job for almost two years. We honestly had no idea how we would pay for another adoption. The cost had risen substantially from ten years earlier, yet we knew with a certainty that God was calling us to obey and adopt. It was clear that God had a plan and we needed to bring home our last child. We knew it was our obligation to be clear on His calling and then step out in obedience. We were absolutely certain that God would provide everything we needed because of what He tells us in His word and faithfulness to us in the past.
During this time, God blessed us with many loving friends and family members who donated small amounts that added up to help enormously. He also prompted two special friends to give large amounts that surprised and blessed our hearts immensely. We were recipients of several small grants from various organizations and a matching grant that complimented the giving of friends and family I mentioned earlier. Yet, just one week before our travel date, we were still in need of $3000.00. As I sat in a meeting with hospice discussing arrangements for my mother with Alzheimer’s, who had suddenly taken a turn for the worse, I received a call from one last organization. They wanted to let me know that they had a last-minute grant for us in the amount of $3,000.00.
Matthew 6:33-34 says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
We stepped out in abundant obedience and let God manage the abundant details.
Through the years, God has proven to me that I have taken times of abundance for granted. The more we made financially, sometimes I expected more. It doesn’t matter whether I felt like we were doing things with our money that God would approve of or not. What was critical is that I began to feel entitled to what I had. Life insurance is a great example of what I mean.
Earlier I mentioned my husband’s job loss. It was when the economy took a dip about ten years ago and was the only income source our family had. My husband and I had made a pact that I would remain a stay-home mother as we raised our second family. It was extremely important to us to honor that promise we made to God and each other. Due to his job loss, we had to purchase COBRA (Continuation Coverage Assistance), which was extremely expensive. In addition, my insurance eligibility was suddenly questioned. It took months of work, a doctor visit with different blood tests, and petitioning from a rheumatologist and me before the insurance company decided they would insure me. I knew God heard our urgent prayers. I remembered each time I had complained about insurance premiums and co-pays being so expensive in the past and appreciated the blessing of just being covered now, despite it costing much more money. God had changed my heart while still providing care.
Deuteronomy 8:2 says, “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands.”
Everything we experience in life, whether we are ignoring the Lord or following Him intentionally, can be used to deepen our faith and understanding of Him and to allow us to draw nearer to Him so He will draw nearer to us. I consider that ultimate abundance.
The majority of us in the United States live abundant lives. Especially in comparison to much of the world. Because of that, even if we live with what we consider to be grateful hearts, we may not live with an abundant awareness that everything we have is truly a gift provided by God.
Deuteronomy 8:17-18a instruct us, “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth.”
Everything is formed by His hands and comes to us from His hands.
Often, when times are plentiful, we take things for granted without realizing it. We neglect to remember that our prosperity is not to be credited to our own wit, determination, or power. God allows and gives us all that we are and have.
Although His love for us is intense and lasting, He rightfully expects us to manage all that He gives us in ways that will be pleasing to Him and with a remembrance that it is all from and for Him. God gives and takes for seasons and purposes that allow His abundant work to be completed in and around us.
What God allows us to possess must be used for Him. If our lives are full of abundance, He has entrusted those gifts to us for a purpose at this time. The more we receive from His hands, the higher our responsibility to use our time, understanding, and resources becomes.
Often, when our gifts and resources are financial, we find it is easy to become self-reliant and to forget what we have is a gift. It may or may not continue to be entrusted to us. We are to have open hands and an open heart with all we receive from God.
Mark 10:23 says, “Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, ‘How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
When we already possess everything we could want and have the means to purchase anything we desire, it can be difficult to recognize our abundant need for a Savior. It is also easy to convince ourselves that the gifts and abundance we have are for our pleasure. Yet, when God has entrusted a resource to us, He expects us to use it for others to glorify His name and bring others to Him.
1 Peter 4:10-11a says, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”
How loving God is to endow us with gifts and talents! He could have allowed none of us to enjoy abilities that bring joy and pleasure. That He enables us to serve Him with them is further evidence that His love for us is extravagant and of course, abundant.
Have you noticed that when you use what God has gifted you for selfish purposes just how little pleasure is felt? When we exercise generosity and serve others with what we have received, fullness of joy and gratitude flood in and propel us to give more.
I have a friend who lives in South Carolina. During the last four years that I have known her, I have witnessed her embody giving with a beautiful spirit of grace. When our youngest celebrated our first birthday home with us, this friend ordered her a beautiful cake that was shipped to us. This past Christmas I received a late Christmas gift in the mail. It was a beautiful Christian Planner that I now use for work in this ministry. Who do you think it was from? Yes, it was also sent from this same South Carolina friend. She always looks for ways to give and enables others to feel seen and honored. I have been immensely blessed in being a recipient of her personalized care and generosity. She has found a way to show the principle of giving with a whole heart that has caused me, and I am sure many others, to feel abundantly loved.
Joy and contentment are eternal. When we allow God to fill us with the ability to live and give joyfully with what He provides and strive to honor Him with it, we will also have the abundant peace that accompanies joy and contentment.
Philippians 4:11b-13 says, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Is it easy to live with abundant contentment? No, not easy, but possible. To embody continuous contentment, we must make a choice to rely on the Holy Spirit alive in us to teach the behavior needed to ignore circumstances, or emotions, and build our resistance to complaining or searching for more.
The Greek word for contentment is also translated as “satisfied, adequate, competent, or sufficient” in the New Testament.
God’s will is for us to be abundantly satisfied despite circumstances.
Galatians 5:22-25 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us walk in step with the Spirit.”
Living with abundance is not just about money or contentment mindsets. Jesus gives us the ability to fully live with abundant hearts, thoughts, peace, gratitude, joy, hope, love, kindness, gentleness, patience, self-control, and contentment. Because of Him, our minds and emotions can be free to live with the abundance He intends for us.
Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.”
When we strive to live closely with Jesus, He opens our eyes and minds, as well as our heart, to see and firmly believe that an abundant life is built on what we claim through and because of Him.
Colossians 3:1-2 says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
I think something extremely important in the verses I mentioned from Colossians is found in what comes next in verse 3, which says, “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”
Surrendering to Him each and every moment is crucial if we desire an abundant life.
We cannot recognize and we will not claim all He intends for us if we are not becoming more like Him daily.
I want my will to be bent and shaped to His.
Less of me and more of Jesus is the chant I keep reminding myself daily.
I have recognized that Jesus is the key to fulfilling the abundant desires God placed in me when I was a thought in His heart.
Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”
My abundance has been found in following Him with a willing heart and obedient steps.
Psalm 36:8 says, “They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.”
Through living with an abundant and obedient heart, we are able to allow others to see and taste what God has done and claim Him for themselves. God does not love any of us more than the other. He desires abundance through Him for every single one of us.
When we look at what abundant means in the Greek translation, we see, “exceedingly, very highly, beyond measure, a quantity so abundant as to be considerably more than one would expect or anticipate.”
What does that mean for followers of Jesus? He promises us a life that is much greater than we could ever imagine.
How can that be? Think of all of the intelligent and highly creative minds this world has ever held. Not a single one of us can conceptualize what God has in store.
1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “But as it is written, eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Wealth, power, and privilege are not priorities in the eyes of Jesus. The King of Kings left His throne to come to this broken world for us. The usual way this world thinks is opposite of the way God’s mind or kingdom operates.
Obviously, some Christians have been blessed with wealth and power for a purpose, however, many of us are faithfully seeking what He calls us to count as abundant. Each breath we take, our loved ones, our health, the ability to have an occupation, and so much more that we have been given, are all abundant blessings.
Simply knowing Jesus as our personal Savior is the most abundant provision and miracle we have been offered. God calls us to seek spiritual abundance with Him as the focus rather than rely on or chase after worldly abundance. If He looks after the sparrow, and cares for its every need, if He clothes the fields, how much more will He provide for us?
We must be faithful to fix our minds and hearts on Jesus; God will abundantly care for the rest.
1 Corinthians 13:12 says, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
As we continue to desire to be more Christ-like, and be stretched and grown through our walk with Him, we have an ever-present hope and promise. When we stand before Jesus one day, we will finally experience the grace and joy of a faithful life that has proven to be amply fulfilled by His passionate, abundant love for us.
My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, God does provide abundantly. He knows the details of our lives and desires good for us. He also expects abundance from us in return.
He desires abundant trust and demands abundant obedience.
He longs for us to desire Him with abundant passion.
He seeks our abundant gratitude for His loving grace.
He wants us to be abundantly content with all He has given and taken away.
He wants us to surrender willingly and abundantly to Him.
Thank you so much for listening to the Live With Eternal Perspective podcast. God has impressed so much on my heart to share. Living with an eternal perspective affects absolutely everything in my life. I am thrilled to delve into different areas with you. Since everything affects our eternity, we have a lot to discuss! I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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Thank you again for sharing part of your day with me. Until next time, keep looking Upward and finding new ways to live with an Eternal Perspective.