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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Abundance (06/08/06)

TITLE: Bumper Crop
By Michelle Vander Wal


Abundance is a wonderful concept but having too much of a good thing can backfire. Farmers know that a bumper crop is great but only if you are one of a few who has it. If everyone who grows soy beans, for instance, has a great year with a bumper crop it actually lowers the overall price of beans. There are more beans so prices have to be more competitive and the farmer ends up with a lower value per bushel. Now hopefully he has enough extra bushels to offset the lower price and comes out the same as other years. As you can imagine, abundance has repercussions in our lives that affect the value of other things.

Abundance in life, whether material goods, family or even spiritual blessings is a good thing, up to a point. What happens when we have a consistent bumper crop of anything? The overall value of the item or person or experience becomes less because it has become taken for granted. Now, many of us would say, “I don’t take my family, or my job or my faith life for granted,” in an injured voice. I think we do. Only when seen against the backdrop or circumstance of lack do we realize the true value of abundance.

When you have a great marriage, with a spouse who cares about you and fulfills their wedding vows, you feel lucky. On your anniversary you may even express this feeling of blessing to them and to God. On many days though, I bet, the routine of life does not leave much room for this awareness of abundance and it is taken for granted. Little things rankle, words can be less than encouraging and moments of connection go by with no notice. That is, until you come up against the knowledge of infidelity, drug addiction or financial ruin that tears apart the marriage of a friend or family member. The tears and cries on the other end of the telephone can bring into rapid focus just how good you may have it. This is when abundance shines and you thank God daily for his blessing in this area.

Abundance needs to be balanced by knowledge of poverty. The greatest type of poverty is expressed in Matthew 5 where Jesus tells the people, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for they shall inherit the kingdom of heaven.” Generally speaking poverty of spirit does not seem very desirable. We crave abundance, abundance of life, health, wealth and spirit. We want a nice house, a good job, well adjusted children, a close, loving relationship with God. What can happen to our abundance after a while is a sense of entitlement. Many societal commentators look at the teenagers of suburban North America and blame this sense of entitlement for their lack of focus, for drug abuse and a high pregnancy rate. We want to give our children everything and in doing so create a glut of abundance that blinds them to the value of poverty, to delayed gratification, to working for what you want. We need to reclaim the value of poverty of spirit.

What does it mean to be poor in spirit? To approach the throne of grace knowing that all that you have, are and do is a gift from God. It sounds easy and quite simple, like counting your blessings, but it’s actually hard to live this way. We feel entitled to our job, after all, we work hard. We feel entitled to a rich spiritual life; we attend church every week, read the Bible daily and pray. We feel entitled to a happy family environment because we spend quality time together and share our faith openly. Being poor in spirit means that when tough stuff hits we acknowledge our abundance, everything we feel we’ve earned, worked for or deserve is all from the hand of God. Job said, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed is the name of the Lord.” Job understood the point Jesus is making in Matthew 5. The poor in spirit know the nature of true abundance and so when they come to God, they come with nothing. That is why they inherit the kingdom of heaven; they depend completely on God’s grace and so receive their treasure from him. Like a bumper crop of soy beans, abundance can be less fulfilling than you think. Remember, it is our poverty God wants, not our wealth.

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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This article has been read 650 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Virginia Gorg06/16/06
This is a good message and you have captured the abundance well. Nicely done :)
George Parler 06/18/06
Lot's of food for thought. Nice job.
Deborah Porter 06/20/06
Hi there. Sorry to contact you this way, but I need to "talk" to you fairly urgently about your entry in the "Life" Challenge. Could you send me a Private Message as soon as possible? With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)
Trina Courtenay06/22/06
Overall this was great. Afterall you did place second. Words worth remembering.

One thing I noticed you did not reference your bible quotes and this should be done.

Keep writing and I'll see you next quarter but most likely not in beginners. Way to go!

Sherry Wendling06/22/06
Congratulations, Michelle! Well-deserved recognition for your penetrating investigation of the moral implications of abundance.

Your solid writing skills will take you yet higher as you learn to engage the reader with more active verb forms, thus giving the piece a sense of action, forward motion.

Great job! Keep writing!
Marilee Alvey06/22/06
Wow. This certainly deserved an award. There are some wonderful, fresh insights that gave me ah-ha moments. Sometimes I get a bit jaded and, like Solomon, feel that there's nothing new under the sun in writing. You have just proven me wrong. It's so true what you are sayiing about the sense of entitlement. Of course, I saw it immediately in others! Yet, I had to tell myself to guard against that. It is so pervasive, in our culture, that it's just built into us. I will observe myself more closely...at least for a little while....until I forget! You have changed my life, which is exactly the aim we should have. Well done and thank you!