It’s easy to become a hoarder. We all like to feel well insulated. To plan for the uncertainties and potential chaos ahead.
We lived in Louisiana when Katrina hit. Although we lived far enough away from the storm to stay safe, the entire state experienced heartache as Katrina victims flooded our towns, churches, and made-shift shelters. Seeing such devastation led to a lot of “what-iffing” and soon locals stripped our stores bare. Why? Everyone stocked their pantries with water and staples in case another storm hit.
It's wise to prepare for the future, but does God want us to stock pile? Does He want us focused on ourselves? Consider the ancient Israelites, during their time wandering through the desert. They didn't know where they'd sleep each night nor what lay ahead. And what normally happens when we face the unknown? We spiral in fear. We gather and save our resources.
Apparently, that was how some of the Israelites responded. God promised to provide for their needs, but a few of them grew anxious. What if God forgot a day, or changed His mind? So they gathered more manna than they needed, only it didn’t do any good. In fact, their food storage rotted, creating quite a stench!
One day my sister shared a modern-day manna story. After the an economic downturn, stock market crash, upheaval in other countries, sky-rocketing gas prices and political unrest in America, she and her husband decided to prepare for the “what-ifs”. They stocked their basement shelves with numerous food items, including vacuum sealed potatoes. A few months later, a nasty stench emanated from their basement. At first they thought perhaps their sewage system had backed up.
Yep, it was that bad.
But nope, it wasn’t sewage. Their “manna” had rotted. After searching their basement, they found their bag of potatoes, ballooned by the gases formed during decomposition. To my sister, this was a vivid reminder not to hoard and stock pile but instead, to trust in God.
Think back over the account of the New Testament church described in Acts. Though these men and women lived during a terrifying time, they didn't stockpile in fear. Instead, their love for and trust in Jesus compelled them to generosity. Insteawd of focusing on their fears and the chaos around them, they centered their thoughts and energy on God's eternal mission. They wanted to see His church expand and His love proclaimed.
God doesn’t want us to self-preserve. He wants us to lay it all--all of us--on the alter, daily.
Are you doing that? If not, what area of your life do you need to release?
Mark 8:34-35 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. (NIV)
What might God be asking you to do this week?
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