More is always better, right?

We all seem to want more in our life. More time, more money, more joy, more (fill in the blank here).  For us, getting more usually requires giving up or having less of something.  If you want more time, that might mean working less hours and therefore earning less money.  If you want more money, that might mean working more and having less time with your family.  And if you want more children, well that means less free time and a lot less money.

I too want a lot more in my life.  I always have and I suspect I always will.  It wasn’t until the other day though, that I began to look at things differently.  I woke up around 4:30 one morning and going through my head were thoughts of a message I wanted to share with the staff here at Show Mercy, at our next Thursday morning staff meeting. We had decided that for the month of November would talk about money and how we all can be better stewards of money.  So during the wee hours of the morning I started having thoughts about what exactly I wanted to share with the team.  I couldn’t stop thinking about Matthew 25 when Jesus tells the parable of the loaned money.

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25: 21, 23)

I have always known and understood this verse, but I’ve never really thought about my own life and how it might apply.

Rewind with me to a year ago.  Bethany and I had just gotten married, we were thousands of dollars in debt, and I was doing the corporate job thing.  Skip forward a few months to March and we had worked hard to get ourselves out of debt, the business I was running was on pace to do around $10 million in sales, and as a couple we were making really good money and on pace to be making a lot more. If you asked me at that time how I thought I was doing, I would’ve said I was managing my household and business well.  I was actually quite proud of myself.

Ok, fast forward again to 4:30am with me.  I now live in Uganda, Africa, I’m in a bed covered with a mosquito net to help defend against malaria, I personally don’t earn a salary, and I have worn shorts everyday for the last four months because I don’t do the corporate job thing anymore. How does Matthew 25 apply to my own life?

Then it hit me!  God’s promise had been kept!  He promised that if I was faithful with a few things, He would put me in charge of many things.  Little did I know that to God, the few things in my life were the thousands of dollars in debt we needed to clean up and the $10 million business I was running.  To God, those are the smallest things.  So now you’re probably asking what are the many things that He has put me in charge of? Well, here in Uganda I get to serve people.  We serve people in the community by teaching at schools, visiting elderly, visiting a prison, and providing a weekly meal for the children in our sponsorship program.  I get to serve members of our staff by encouraging and spending time in fellowship with them.  And most importantly, I get to serve my God!  You see, when Jesus tells the parable in Matthew 25, He says nothing about putting us in charge of more money or possessions.  In my case, He has put me in charge of serving Him and His children (“Come and share in your master’s happiness!”).  In Luke 16 Jesus says, “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Luke 16:11)

True riches to God are not the worldly riches that we think of.  It doesn’t mean more money, more property, or more things.  It means He will trust us with the things that will help build His kingdom. He will trust us with his greatest treasure, his people.

I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post that when we want more we usually have to accept less or give up something.  In my case, I didn’t have to give up living in America.  I didn’t have to give up the nice career and the good salary.  He never asked that of me. In order for me to receive more from God, the one thing that I have chosen to accept less of, is me.

“He must become greater. I must become less.” (John 3:30)

I write this not to boast about my own experiences, but as an encouragement.  God has great promises for all of us.  Fortunately for us, His “true riches” that he promises are not worldly riches.  God wants far more for us than ‘stuff’ we can’t take with us when we leave this earth.  You don’t have to give up your job or move to a different country, but I do believe when we want more from God, it begins by accepting less for ourselves.  It’s ok to keep wanting more, because God is so excited to give you more.

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