We live in a culture of excess. The concept of ‘enough’ is foreign. At the risk of revealing my age, I remember having only three channels on television when I was a kid. If the annual showing of a favorite holiday special or movie was broadcast at an inconvenient time for my family, I had to wait until the next year! There was no rewinding the amazing basketball play because dad stepped out of the room. Skipping unwanted commercials was unfathomable! After all, this was our ‘run-to-the-frig-for-a-snack time,’ and then race back to the couch to see who was the quickest! Even so, those three channels were enough.
Today, we have endless streaming content with rewind capabilities. Those beloved holiday movies are now accessible in any season. If we need a viewing break, we can simply pause live television. As new technology is seemingly revealed daily, the idea of ‘enough’ is still foreign. We continue to want more.
This concept of never having enough creates a ‘deficiency mentality.’ In other words, it doesn’t matter how much we have in our possession, we live with the notion that we are lacking. What we possess is inadequate and if we had more, or if things were different, then our circumstances would also be different thus improving our overall sense of wholeness. We want to be generous and if we had more money, then we could give more to missions restoring our obedience to God. If there were more hours in the day, we could volunteer at the homeless shelter fulfilling our moral obligation. Happiness seems to be on the horizon if only we had more influence which would lead to a more fulfilled life. We find ourselves making the excuse that because we don’t have enough, we cannot do anymore. If we don’t use what we receive, there is no reason for God to afford us more; be that time or money or wherever we feel a shortage.
During the COVID pandemic when food supplies were in danger and we were unable to go out for groceries, I learned more than a few lessons about my deficiency mentality. One of those lessons was using what I already had in my abundantly stocked pantry. For months, I had weekly foregone this stockpile and continued to add more. Embracing the challenge, I began to create and prepare meals that used up this excess. New recipes were created leaving me with a sense of accomplishment. The Lord had made provision long before the crisis arose. This simplistic example reiterates the truth that God provides, yet at times, He will withhold His provision until we use what we already have in our possession.
Even from a Biblical perspective, we have always wanted more. The Bible begins with such a story in the Garden of Eden. Eve wanted more than the garden, so she disobeyed God by eating the fruit thus forfeiting her close communion with God. Ultimately, she wanted more to the detriment of what she already possessed. How many times do we do the same? We ask for more from God before fully utilizing what we already have. The worst part is we genuinely feel deserving and expect God to relent.
When the Israelites were finally released from Egyptian captivity, they found themselves faced with many challenges in the desert. The book of Exodus, chapter 14, tells of their miraculous deliverance by God who parted the Red Sea which allowed them a means of escape. Moses and Miriam lifted up beautiful worship songs to God offering thanksgiving in chapter 15. At the end of that chapter, they encountered water that was bitter requiring Moses to cry out for God’s intervention. The water became sweet and in verse 26, the Lord declared, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.” (NIV) What an amazing promise! Their responsibility: to listen, pay attention, and keep His decrees. If they abided by those three principles, then God would provide them with MORE! He promised to keep them free from all the afflictions they had witnessed while in Egypt.
However, it didn’t take long for the complaining to begin again as Exodus 16 opens with them lamenting and romanticizing their Egyptian life! In verse 3, all they remember is how they, “. . . sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted. . .” Yet, they were enslaved. Suddenly, no one remembered the harsh slave masters or the sun bearing down on them as they worked. They wanted more than the freedom of desert life.
So, God, in His loving kindness and mercy, told Moses in verse 4, “‘I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.’” This time, His provision came with testing. Parameters were set in place. Even so, what transpired was amazing in the fact that verse 18 reveals it didn’t matter how much manna they gathered, it was always enough. The only rule: they couldn’t keep the excess and could only use what was given daily. The temptation to hoard was strong and those who disobeyed, woke up the next morning to find the manna spoiled (vs.20). It was difficult for them to trust there would be a sufficient amount for the next day. Some gathered more manna than they needed to ensure their needs would be met the next. However, God was divinely providing daily by giving them more. The test was in the trusting. Like the Israelites, God refuses to give us more than we need to show us He is all we need. He is enough.
The deficiency mentality of the Israelites is often easy to identify, but how comfortable are we with this same theory? Like Eve, we feel as if God is withholding something, or we identify with the Israelites and their fear of not having enough. Jesus says in Luke 9:23, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (NASB) In order for Jesus to be enough, we must follow His example. Watch this space for part two as we dive deeper into this verse.
In the meantime, here are a few verses to help refocus a deficiency mentality:
Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.”
Colossians 3:2 “Set your minds on things that are above, not on the things that are on earth.”
Galatians 5:16 “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”
4 thoughts on “More-Part 1 of 2”
#Gold #IHearJesusHere You really get a sense of the heart of God reaching out to us to reach out to Him as Source… So beautifully written and expressed…
Thanks for reading, Carl!
Wow! So good!!! You’re echoing my heartbeat. Our every need is met in Christ, therefore we can be content in every circumstance, whether with little or with much, AND rather then long for temporal things and possessions let’s turn those longings into a burning desire and longing for the things of God! I love your words- “If we don’t use what we receive, there is no reason for God to afford us more; be that time or money or wherever we feel a shortage” It makes me think of our spiritual gifts, as well. If we’re not exercising our gifts God is not going to advance us in them.
Thanks for reading, Juliane!