Friday, December 7, 2012

It is not the much, but the joy which is the focus!

MORE:  greater quantity, measure, amount, degree or number.  We all struggle with a desire for "more" in some sense of the word.  More love in our relationships, more hope in our future, more money in our account, more square footage in our home - the list could go on.  Suffice it to say, we often find it hard to be "content" with the hear and now - we are always looking for what lies in the future, aren't we?  I came across a little quote I'd like to share:  "All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on." (Havelock Ellis - British Psychologist)  You know what always wanting more does to us?  It burdens us down with "more"!  We have to let go of something to embrace something more.  Nothing "more" can be added where there is no room.  We make "room" by letting go, taking on the new, and saying good-bye to the old.  If we don't, they might just see us on some reality segment of the "Hoarders"!

Why is everyone hungry for more? “More, more,” they say.  “More, more.”
I have God’s more-than-enough, more joy in one ordinary day than they get in all their shopping sprees.  At day’s end I’m ready for sound sleep, for you, God, have put my life back together.  (Psalm 4:6-8 MSG)

The holiday shopping season has many in a tizzy these days.  The malls are crammed full.  Local strip mall parking lots are overflowing with impatience seen plainly on each driver's face.  The fast food places are overtaken by shoppers exhausted by the day's efforts, just wanting a little nourishment to continue on the quest.  Why?  Someone is on a quest for "more".  I think we almost teach our children at a very young age to continually be on this quest by having them do stuff like making their lists of "wants and wishes" for Santa.  How much "stuff" do they put on the list which they really don't need?  They ask for a new scooter to replace the old one which is working just fine.  They want roller-skates when they already have bikes, scooters, electric cars, and skateboards.  How many forms of "wheels" do we actually need?  

David put it aptly - I have God's more-than-enough, more joy in one ordinary day than they get in all their shopping sprees!  Now, before you label me as "Scrooge", let me assure you, my children and grandchildren will get their gifts this holiday season!  But...I am focusing on not making the "wrapped gifts" the focus!  My greatest hope is for them to remember the purpose of our celebration - Christ.  Without Christ, we'd never celebrate the season!  In giving my "gifts" this holiday season, I want to create an atmosphere which focuses on the greatest gift ever given - a life for many lives.  My hope - for many to join me in this "quest" of sharing more than just "gifts", but to share life.

Albert Einstein once said, "Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile."  I think he hit the nail on the head - life, when laid down for another, is what makes living worth all the effort, hardship, and trial.  There is much to distract us in our journey through this life, but if we maintain our "focus" on the one truly important thing (Christ), we will be less likely to be pulled in the direction of those distractions.  Look at what David says - he enjoys what God has done in and through him.  It is this "more-than-enough" God who brings him the delight at each day's end.  Don't miss it - God is "more-than-enough".  He is our "all-becoming" one.  Whatever we need - he is all-sufficient to meet the need.  Do we need relationships to be restored?  He is more-than-enough to breakdown the walls of bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness.   Do we need direction for future decisions?  He is the all-knowing one, so why do we rely upon what we can figure out in our own limited minds?

This season, let's not get caught up in the "much" of giving, but the "joy" of giving.  I think Mother Teresa said it well, "It is not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving."  Aren't you glad Jesus did not get caught up in the "much" of giving, but considered the "love" he had for each of us most important.  His gift - the death he bore on the cross - exemplifies the "love he put into giving".  This "extreme" love opened the way for each of us to have access to the one true God - covering over our unholy condition with the holiness of his.  I think this is what David had "tapped into" in his walk with God.  He realized the only enjoyment in life comes when God puts our life back together.  God is good at putting pieces back together, but sometimes there are pieces which no longer "fit".  Those are the pieces we need to let go of - uncluttering our lives of their influence.  In turn, he makes us whole - giving us strength for the journey.  

My prayer for you this holiday season - a life worthwhile.  Pursue the greatest gift FIRST - the gift of the "more-than-enough" God of the universe.  Who knows, if we get Christ first in Christmas, maybe the "wrapped gifts" won't matter all that much!  Just sayin!

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