Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Another Gem From Spurgeon: Know how to abound.

"I know how to abound."—Philippians 4:12.

There are many who know "how to be in need" who have not learned "how to have plenty." When they are set upon the top of a pinnacle their heads grow dizzy, and they are ready to fall. The Christian far often disgraces his profession in prosperity than in adversity. It is a dangerous thing to be prosperous. The crucible of adversity is a less severe trial to the Christian than the fining-pot of prosperity. Oh, what leanness of soul and neglect of spiritual things have been brought on through the very mercies and bounties of God! Yet this is not a matter of necessity, for the apostle tells us that he knew how to abound. When he had much he knew how to use it.

Abundant grace enabled him to bear abundant prosperity. When he had a full sail he was loaded with much ballast, and so floated safely. It needs more than human skill to carry the brimming cup of mortal joy with a steady hand, yet Paul had learned that skill, for he declares, "In all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry." It is a divine lesson to know how to be full, for the Israelites were full once, but while the flesh was yet in their mouth, the wrath of God came upon them.

Many have asked for mercies that they might satisfy their own hearts' lust. Fullness of bread has often made fullness of blood, and that has brought on wantonness of spirit. When we have much of God's providential mercies, it often happens that we have but little of God's grace, and little gratitude for the bounties we have received. We are full and we forget God: satisfied with earth, we are content to do without heaven. Rest assured it is harder to know how to be full than it is to know how to be hungry—so desperate is the tendency of human nature to pride and forgetfulness of God. Take care that you ask in your prayers that God would teach you "how to be full."


寶貝 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

The Jews pray, “Lord, don’t let me be so poor that I don’t bless You because I have so little, and don’t let me be so rich that I forget you because I have so much.”

Psalm 37 declares, “Man in his prosperity forfeits intelligence. He is one with the cattle doomed to slaughter.” (Psalm 49:20 Jerusalem Bible)

When identifying with the poor I have used this verse as the repenting Pharisee, “Thank you, Lord, that I am not like other men, like that tax collector, for instance …”

The truth is, we are all rich if only we could remember God’s presence with us at all times, yet we are all poor in the eyes of the Lord, who hastens to enrich us, our weakness with His strength, our poverty with His abundance.

Sadly, a large part of the Church has gone over to the world and made worldly success, prosperity and security the declared or undeclared goal. No wonder when people go through the process of becoming a “Christian” and have achieved middle class status, they feel they’ve “graduated,” and now church attendance seems as to them as obligatory as alumni reunions.

However, the Church was never intended to operate at a surplus, amassing wealth and property. Instead, the 5,000 men who were fed by only 5 loaves and 2 fish are in fact a type of the Church with regard to how it is to operate in the world.

Without concentrating on trying to be poor and simple (reading poverty into Christ's commandments, as if ‘impoverish each other’ were His word to us rather than ‘love each other’), without enticing each other to be rich and boastful (pretending that their boasting is of the Lord, when clearly it is not), the true life of the follower of Jesus in the Church, and indeed, the true life of the Church as a body, is simply to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added …” (Matthew 6:33 ESV).

“All these things?” Yes, whatever it is you think you want, well, you’ll come to see that you never knew what you really wanted, until seeking the kingdom first, and then seeing what great blessing is in that kingdom, you then came to know that there was nothing more that you ever wanted but that. Now, how many of us who call ourselves “Christians” have that kind of abundant life? And how many of us are chasing after the same fleeing, fleshly majesty in possessions as does the world?