When was the last time you had someone lavish things on you? You know, just do something big for you with no apparent motive or thought but that they love you and appreciate you. If it’s like me you may be saying….never, or close to it. We just don’t treat each other that way do we. I had a guy years ago come up to me and say, “I really appreciate you and the way God is using you and I was going to do something awesome for you, but I got worried I might make you conceited, so I didn’t do it.” I smiled and said, “thanks….” Just in the same way I didn’t know how to take that statement, I don’t know how to see where God was in all that. Generosity is not something we are naturally going to have in our pychy. It’s a God given quality that few experience. But it is a quality of God. In Ephesians Paul said a prayer for the church at Ephesus and in Chapter 3:14-21 he voices that beautiful prayer by asking God to supply from His glorious riches all that is involved in loving them. In other words, he was praying that they would see just how much God loves them. Not just a little love. The whole thing. His prayer was that they would fill up with God’s love, and God’s power, and God’s strength. The love he was talking about would surpass anything they could think of or experience. He knew when they experienced it, the overwhelming gift would impact them tremendously. Does it mean God did stuff for them? I believe it does. I believe God supplied needs to their inner being by giving them great power and strength to handle anything that came their way. I believe God also supplied physical needs that visibly showed them that God is not only at work in things we can’t see, but in things we can see. I also believe God answered Paul’s prayer by doing immeasurably more than they were expecting. It’s that “unexpected” part of God’s love I want to emphasize today. In Ephesians 3:20 it says, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever!” In case you didn’t get it. That resource pool is huge. God has More Than More. In other words, more cannot accurately define just how much God has. And the amazing thing is, He wants to give to us. He started giving it to us when he sacrificed His Son Jesus Christ for our sins and He continues to give and give as we live this physical life. Paul knew that part of God and wanted the church people at Ephesus, who he loved tremendously, to pick up on it and experience it. I believe they did and I also believe we should understand the concept of MORE. The dictionary defines the word more as “an additional quantity, amount, or number.” Immeasurably in the dictionary is defined as “limitless.” Are you starting to get the picture? He gives to us out of a limitless pool of resources and He is always giving MORE……MORE. Yet we live out of believing for less and also giving less. It somehow sounds like we are just getting by. That’s because we are…
I was watching the TV Show Extreme Makeover a few nights ago and after they had picked a family they got together a crew of workers, some suppliers, and shipped the family off to relax while they rebuilt or built a new home for them. The stories are so heartwarming and I marvel at how much MORE they give than the family expects. You know what I mean. They will bring the family back and pay off their debt, send their kids to college for free, and allow them to move into a home that was painstakingly designed for their needs. They expect nothing in return. Where does that generosity come from? In the shape of the human condition can we truly believe this is a MORE concept that erupted from our mind? I don’t think so. I believe it is one of the MORE examples that someone saw in a Christ-filled individual and the concept most definitely caught. In James 1:17 he says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” If it is good. Sorry to trump you Extreme Makeover, but it is from God.
Our family from time to time will have something happen that will pay off a bill, or get a little unexpected gift, or be the recipients of generosity and we will usually celebrate it. A few years ago we had something unexpectedly good happen to cause us to celebrate at Olive Garden. We ate and laughed and praised God for the way we had seen Him work and it was a great day. To cap it off we gave our server an extremely generous tip. He did serve us well, but not as well as the tip we gave him. We gave MORE, EXCEEDINGLY MORE. When I gave him the tip his face lit up and I told him, “That’s from God, through us, to you.” His eyes teared up and he said the most heartfelt thank you I could have ever heard. I didn’t worry about what he might do with the money. Was he going to be responsible with it. Would he buy cigs or alcohol? I just gave it to him and walked off. Anything less would not have been a GIFT!
God has MORE than MORE and His immense pool of blessings is something he gives to each of us with grace and mercy. Our realization of those gifts just further enhances the already growing relationship we have with Him. His all encompassing love is beyond our understanding and His giving heart is off the chart. May our hearts be just as generous in the way we minister to those around us. Want to bless somebody’s day? Do something off the scale for them and then see how it affects them. It’s catching, but it must be caught first.
The pilgrimage continues….. David Warren