Having Enough; April 17, 2018

Haggai 1:5-6 Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

There are always two factors in abundance: income and outgo. If you have a lot coming in but even more going out, you’re in the red regardless of how much is coming in. We see this often in sports figures and entertainers who seem to be living the high life until their popularity wanes, and then suddenly they’re broke, and often deeply in debt. On the other hand, there are others who don’t have much income but who always seem to have enough to help someone out in a pinch. Just as there are the two conditions, there are two things that govern which direction a person goes. The first is, of course, common sense. That can go out the window with sudden income, such as winning a lottery or even coming into an inheritance. It is often amazing how uncommon “common sense” is! Just a day or so ago I read of someone who won a big lottery and was wise enough to start off by hiring a financial adviser. The second, and actually more important, thing that governs our financial situation is spiritual: where are our priorities? That’s what the Lord is dealing with here. Much of our lives are actually not under our control. We don’t control the weather, for example, and that has a massive impact on an agricultural economy, such as in Haggai’s day. We need to listen to what Jesus said in Matthew 6:33. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” If our priorities are lined up with God, He takes care of everything, finances included. That’s not at all to say we’re to throw common sense out the window; prioritizing God is the most sensible thing anyone could do. However, it is to say that we aren’t to go by the world’s idea of common sense. If God says to meet someone else’ need, for example, then do it, even of it depletes your own supply. If we worry about ourselves and ignore God, we will find ourselves in exactly the situation described in this verse.

This has certainly been my experience. We have never had much income, as the world looks at it, but our needs have always been met. I haven’t needed to pay any income tax for many years, either to Japan or America, simply because my income didn’t exceed the standard deductions. However, our lives are financially comfortable. Part of that is that we don’t use money for what might be called vices, but a big factor is that things just seem to last longer. I have clothing I’ve been wearing for over 20 years, and it still looks good! I compare that to some people who have more coming in than I do and yet who never seem to have enough, and my heart aches for them. I am not to brag, but I shouldn’t hesitate to testify to God’s goodness, and speak the truth in love. I’m also not to take God’s grace toward me lightly or for granted, but actively seek His kingdom and His righteousness in all my decisions, no matter how insignificant they might seem. God is my supply, not the government or my employer or even my abilities, and I must never forget that.

Father, thank You indeed for Your abundance. Help me be the steward You want me to be, so that everything You place in my hands – or my bank account – may be used as You intend, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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