“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.”
“We are rich.” This is a statement I often hear coming from my father-in-law’s mouth, and I love it. Let me clarify before I go too far. My in-laws are not “rich” by the standards of the world. They are rich in the blessings that God has provided for them, and Taylor chooses to see those blessings, even in the little things. I have learned a lot from him in this regard. For example, we’ll be sitting around drinking good coffee and enjoying pleasant conversation, and he’ll make the statement, “We are rich.” And we are. It’s such a blessing to have calm moments with family where we can enjoy the little pleasures in life together, and in that way, we are rich.
I’ve had several of these, “I am rich” moments later. Let me list a few:
-Spending time with other moms from my church, talking about the ways God has provided for our families (and drinking coffee) while our children happily played for TWO HOURS. (Let me tell you, I am RICH. That blessing was only an act of a loving God giving a good gift to these mommies because there were almost ten kids under the age of six playing together, and we didn’t need to intervene once.)
-Sitting in my Bible Study Fellowship group made up of women of various ages, cultural backgrounds, social and economical statuses sharing what God taught us that week through our study of his Word. I am RICH. I desperately long to grow closer to God through his Word and through community, and this is a beautiful, group of women with mixed backgrounds from which I can learn.
-Spending the morning with my sweet family – snuggling in bed, playing together in Fairley’s “fork” (read – fort), giving and receiving lots of hugs, kisses, and cuddles. Then I got to spend time with Jesus, just reading and praying, while I heard my sweet husband in the other room having “coffee” with my sweet girl, reading a Bible story with her and telling her how much Jesus loves her. I am RICH. These are the things I have dreamed of for years. (And mind you, it doesn’t matter that this is all taking place in a little apartment in NYC, which is vastly different than I might have imagined as a child, where in my visions of my future, I would definitely have owned my own home in the suburbs by now, complete with a two-story house and a white picket fence. A little different than the three-floor walk up in Harlem, but I love it all the same because GOD wrote this story for me, and because of his blessings, I am RICH.)
-Having specific prayers answered – This is just evidence that I have a God who loves me and listens to me and wants to show Himself to me. In the middle of a hard time with Fairley, I tried to call Freeman for some parenting support. His phone was off and so I got no answer, and no help, so I thought. In that moment, I realized, I should pray and ask God to tell me what I should do. (Obviously, I should have done that first, but this child of God is still learning…) And just like that, the whole situation changed (in perspective and practicality) in a way that only God could have orchestrated. I am convinced that he just wanted to give me a little reminder that he does listen to and answer the prayers of his children. I am RICH.
-Celebrating new children in my family and in my family of friends. These kids are a blessing from our God, and I’m so glad that I get to know and be a part of the lives of all of them. I am RICH.
-Celebrating Thanksgiving with my sweet family and dear, dear friends. It’s so fun to think of the various ways that God brought us all together, and it was such a joy to enjoy great food, conversation, (and of course coffee) with them. I am also so rich in thinking that in just a few weeks, I get to go home and celebrate Christmas with a whole other side of my family who I love so very much, too. (And I also get to go see some really sweet friends in Austin whom my heart misses so much!!)
-And I am RICH because I have a God who loves me, who sent His son to die for my sins so that he could wipe away my record of wrongdoing and replace it with Jesus’s perfect record of righteousness. I am RICH because when God looks at me, he sees Jesus in all his holiness. I am RICH because I am a co-heir with Christ, inheriting all that God has to offer, which is everything. I am RICH because my eternity is decided, and I get to be with him forever. I am RICH because I am loved perfectly by a God whose love never quits. And I am RICH because he became poor for me so that I could become RICH! (2 Corinthians 8:9)
I have been thinking lately that I am convinced that God, in his sovereignty, had a plan for Americans to celebrate Thanksgiving so closely to when we celebrate the birth of His Son. I think it was His perfect plan to have us first reflect on how much we have been given as we enter this next season, which should be a continuation of that celebration. Our thinking of how much we have been given should spur us on to love and generosity as we focus on God’s greatest gift to us, and how we can share that grace and love with others during the Christmas season. (And hopefully help us guard our hearts against the temptation of extreme selfishness and consumerism that I know many of us, myself included, struggle with during this time.)
As I think about what God is wanting to teach me as I reflect on how rich I am, I can’t get these words of Jesus out of my mind:
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
As I think about how much I have been given, I realize that means that much is going to be demanded from me. God gives generously to us so that we can share generously with others, not so that we can hold on to it for ourselves. His glory is shown when we share with others all that He has given to us. I am praying that God helps me to live this out practically, especially during this upcoming season of Advent, which means “a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas.” What better way to celebrate the best gift ever than to prepare my heart to want to give generously in response to that great gift?!
“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.”