No. 130. Thanksgiving that there is always more than enough with God.

Colours of the Rainbow > Thanksgiving > No. 130. Thanksgiving that there is always more than enough with God.

Yesterday we were thinking about how Jesus used the symbolism of water to describe the life of God that He puts within us, and it struck me how often Jesus talked in terms of overflow, of extravagance and abundance. There was the reference to “a spring of water welling up to eternal life”. John 4:10-13. Then the “streams of living water will flow from within him”. John 7:37. These references mirror the picture Ezekiel saw, of the River flowing from the Temple, getting ever deeper until you would have to swim in it. ‘It was a river no man could cross’. Ezekiel 47:5.

It wasn’t just Jesus words that spoke of the extravagance of God, but His miracles too. Think of all the wine that was created out of water at the wedding in Cana, John 2:6. There are six stone jars with a capacity of twenty to thirty gallons each. Jesus said they were all to be filled to the brim with water. I make that a possible 180 gallons of wine! Then there was all the bread gathered after the five thousand and the four thousand were fed, Matthew 14:20 and 15:37. And let’s not forget the haul of fish which occurred on the fishing trip. It was so huge that it began to break the nets and sink the boats, Luke 5:5. There was also the post resurrection repeat of this, when the disciples caught 153 large fish, John 21:6.

The sheer extravagance of these miracles is staggering. Jesus in each case provided over and above what was needed, and He also performed these miracles when in fact He didn’t really have to. The wedding party could have survived without the extra wine, the crowds could have been sent home, albeit very tired and hungry, and the fishermen could have come ashore empty handed, especially on the second of those fishing miracles, because Jesus already had breakfast sorted, and He had other work for them to do anyway.

These were physical miracles, but I believe, through them, the Lord is revealing His heart to us, and therefore we can apply what we see of His heart to our spiritual lives too. Paul puts it like this, ‘And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work’, 2 Corinthians 9:8. There’s an awful lot of ‘All’s’ in that last sentence, and I think Paul could write that with confidence because he had been to the third heaven, 2 Corinthians 12:2, where he had seen God’s heart, just overflowing with goodness and glory and blessing towards His people here on earth.

He knew what an extravagant and generous God we have, and so He wrote to the believers in Ephesus, ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ’. Ephesians 1:3. And what about the end of his momentous prayer ‘Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus’. Ephesians 3:20.

So we conclude that our extravagant God has vast stores of grace for us, that there is never a shortage of love and goodness and favour for us from God’s point of view. The question is how do we access, and live in the good of, all that He wants to shower upon us? Sometimes, may be often, we can feel that we are running on near empty or we can feel like we are struggling to benefit from God’s amazingly generous heart towards us. If there is no shortage of supply then how do we receive that grace, in all its varied forms, from the Lord? This is an important question to answer because sometimes, I believe, we can pray for the Lords help, and wait for it to come, and when not a great deal changes we can be disappointed and conclude that the Lord hasn’t answered our prayer.

I think there are two keys, and the first is to do whatever Jesus, by His Spirit, tells us to do. In each of the examples mentioned above, the miracles happened as people acted on what the Lord was telling them to do. The servants had to take the water, and serve it to the master of the banquet, the disciples had to hand out the bread and fish, and the fishermen had to put their nets down into the water one more time, but on the other side of the boat. None of those actions made any sense, but as Mary told the servants at the wedding, “Do whatever he tells you.” and as Peter said to Jesus, “because you say so, I will let down the nets”. The abundant provision from the Lord comes as we move in obedience to Him, and not on how it looks to us naturally, or how our feelings are doing or what our five senses are telling us.

That brings us to the second key, and not surprisingly it is thanksgiving. We don’t need to ask the Lord for what He has already granted us in Christ, that is to say, ‘Every spiritual blessing’. We need in the right way to reckon on that supply and thank Him even before we ‘feel’ it has arrived. As I thank the Lord for the wisdom I need, the grace, the patience, the strength etc etc. I start that ‘spring of water’, the Holy Spirit in my spirit, welling up within me. I reckon on it being as God said it would be, ‘all grace abounding towards me in all things, so that I will have all that I need to abound in every good work.’

Thanksgiving becomes the expression of our trust in our super generous Heavenly Father, and it will help us to grow in faith until we are able, like David, to say with confidence in each situation that we face us, “Because you Lord are my shepherd, I shall not be in want”, or as it has been paraphrased ‘I will lack nothing’ Psalm 23:1.


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