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Sufficient Can Be Enough

Sufficiency is an amazing concept when really looked at in a Biblical Way.  God is real good about teaching us lessons of happiness and contentment without making it seem like we are settling for mediocre or weak.  Years ago I ran track for one year in High School and then switched to another sport because that sport was on schedule at the same time as track and I excelled more in that sport.  Not knowing too much about track, I was quickly initiated into the track world on our first day.  I was a sophomore at the time and many of the senior runners who had been in track for all four years held a pretty high esteem with us younger athletes and we basically were in awe when around some of them.  Why?  Their names were on the “big board” of the field house for having won conference championships and other awards.  They had also set some of the school records and I was basically working out as a new recruit with the heroes of the track team.  It was very intimidating, but it only spurred me on to try harder when I was around them.  My first day on the team our coach had us run a 600 yard run as a warm up and then sprint that same distance.  When I heard sprint and 600 yards in the same sentence I almost fell out!!  I thought, “600 yard sprint!  He must be crazy”  There was one guy who led out for the whole team to follow and he was a senior who had his name on quite a few of the rewards on the  “big board” so I thought, “He’s the guy to beat.”  My next move will go down in my personal history as an all time best.  For some strange reason my breathing was extremely measured that day and it seemed like I could run any speed and not get winded.  In feeling this newfound vitality I made plans to not only run with this guy, but pass him and win the whole race (remember, it was supposed to be practice)  The first 600 yard run was easy and the leader of the group basically jogged it and we followed suit.  As we rounded the turn into the home stretch I thought I would see just how this guy would react to me taking over as leader.  He reacted like a true competitor and when I started past him speeded up to adjust and proceeded to run away from the whole group, all except for me.  Like I said, I had an extremely good feeling that day and running was easy….and I was fast.  I decided to stay with his pace and we left the pack behind with looks of astonishment from my sophomore teammates.  As we went around the back side of the track I started thinking, “Wow, if I don’t beat him now I will look stupid” and questioned my move, but then it kicked in. “Why not me?”  I thought, “Who’s this guy to have his name on the “big board” and not be able to beat a sophomore on the first day.”  My thinking narrowed down to one strong thought.  WIN!!  As we rounded the last turn before the home stretch I started analyzing how this guy was holding up and noticed no strain or chance of him backing down now.  He was going to defend his honor with great prejudice and no sophomore was going to change that now.  I decided I would make my move just before we finished the last turn and moved to the side to pass.  He glanced at me and just before he was able to respond I quickly passed him, and now I was in the front with 30 yards, 30 long… yards to go.  I moved inside and turned on whatever speed I had left and finished a good 10 yards in front of him.  I ran over to the track coach, thinking he would be jubilant at this new, talented sophomore runner who had just beaten his star.  As I stood there waiting for him to say, “Wow, you did great Warren. You are my new star” or something like that, He just looked at his writing pad and grunted.  I said, “Coach, what did you think about that?”  He said, “Think about what?”  I told him,”I just beat your star runner!”  To which he proceeded to say, “That was sufficient.”  Sufficient? “That was much more than sufficient.” He turned to me and said, “Good job Warren.  You just beat a guy who is recovering from knee surgery.”  You could have knocked me over with a feather, and I limped away, deflated.  My best race against his best guy and I beat him, but he was recovering from knee surgery.  Sufficient suddenly took on a new meaning.  Me running so hard in that race against an injured runner truly was sufficient for beating him, but maybe not sufficient for winning races against non-injured runners.  My coach weighed my accomplishment in accordance with whom I was running against, and I did good, but not earth shattering good.  But it was the truth.  All that effort to beat someone who was about 80% of his ability that day was just sufficient.  But I did run the race, no matter what the details, and I did win!  The win wasn’t as glorious though after he told me of the runners injury and rehab.  I just kept telling myself, “A win is a win.”  And you know, I was right.  Looking back I remember, no one challenged him and no one stayed up with us.  At the end it was me in the front, not him, and my coaches words couldn’t keep me from knowing I gave my best and it was “sufficient.”   In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul wrote, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”   The life we live is like a race, a race where the sufficiency of Christ is premiere in our thinking.  When you feel down and defeated, just remember you are not defeated because of Christ’s sufficiency.  He gives just enough to fill the bill for our weaknesses and in fact, the more weak we are the more His strength shines in each of us.  When we try to run the race of life in our own strength we realize that our sufficiency is not enough and our best laid plans are weak and almost embarrassing.  If we can just get this through our heads and into our hearts it will revolutionize the way we live our lives.  The American Way is where we pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and move on, and that is fine, but not sufficient for weak, fallen sinners like me.  Any great attempts at greatness in my own strength and power fall miserably short of being sufficient to accomplish anything of worth.  But…..when I trust in God’s sufficiency, it is always just enough to supply my need.   What needs to happen?  We need to realize just how weak we are and how much we need God and acknowledge that in our daily walk as we learn to live in His power.  If we decide we want to get out and lead the race, then we need to remember who gives us the power to run and rely on Him and Him alone for the end result. I’m not talking “flippant faith” here.  I’m talking “trusting God.”  Think about the point of God being our power in life and read this illustration. One New Year’s Day, in the Tournament of Roses parade, a beautiful float suddenly sputtered and quit. It was out of gas. The whole parade was held up until someone could get a can of gas. The amusing thing was this float represented the Standard Oil Company. With its vast oil resources, its truck was out of gas. God’s gas never runs out because it is sufficient at every turn.  Have a need for wisdom?  Pray to God and seek His Word and He will give you sufficient wisdom.  Have a need for money?  Turn to God and He will sufficiently give you what you need.  Have a need for physical strength?  Turn to God and He will give you the strength sufficient for your needs.  God’s power is sufficient for everything, not just most things.  Of all people, Christians should be people who are known for trusting God and His sufficiency, not running out of gas when it is needed the most.  Have you run out of gas like the float?  If so, remember God is our Standard Oil Company and His fuel is eternal, so we don’t ever stop.  Crank up your engine again and trust in God supplying your needs ,and see if that engine doesn’t purr like a kitten.  Time to move forward and into a whole new way of thinking for today’s world.  We will not trust ourselves, but only trust God.  The end result will be SUFFICIENT!! The Pilgrimage continues….. David Warren

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