Shopping at the secondhand store Bearly Used in Keller, I found a treasure: three pretty plates that say Harvest, Plenty, and Abundance. I snatched them up for my fall tablescape (fancy word there, huh?). They look pretty good, if I do say so myself.
Thankfulness must have been on my mind, because after decorating, the mood struck me to jot down a “thankful for” list in my journal. Some fantastic blessings have come on me this year, praise the Lord! As I wrote, the Holy Spirit nudged me, saying, “But wait, there was more!”
Every single answered prayer had a bonus, something I had not prayed for that was graciously granted to me by God.
“Thank you that the children I love so much were adopted by a loving, Christian family…and that they’re going to come visit me later this year!
“Thank you that my husband found a job he really likes…and that he got a raise after just a few months…and that he’s also umpiring on weekends for extra cash…and that he’s getting unsolicited orders for his handmade holsters.
“Thank you that I’ve found a church home where my style of worship is encouraged…and that it’s only a few miles away…and that they allow my writers’ group to meet there.
“And oh yeah, thank you for my new writers’ group…and that I reunited with friends I’ve not seen in years. What a joy!”
The list goes on and on and on, and I’m adding to it all the time. The bible is TRUTH. Ephesians 3:20, “God is able to do exceedingly more than we as – or even think!”
I don’t deserve salvation, and I know that well. I also don’t deserve all these blessings and their bonuses. So, why me? Why does the Creator of the Universe show favor to the wholly insignificant Shauna Duty? That question led me to some studying.
In Mosaic Law, firstborn heirs received a double portion, which means they got twice as much as their male siblings. Sorry ladies, we were property. Christ is the firstborn heir of all creation (Colossians 1:15). And Romans 8:17, one of my favorites, tells us that we are co-heirs with Christ.
Therefore, in and with Christ, we are not only heirs of heaven, but also heirs of all creation. ALL creation. We think of creation as nature, but creation is everything we know, everything made by God. We are co-heirs with Christ over all things made by God. That blows my mind.
“Now if [your name here] is God’s child, [your name here] is also an heir of God and a co-heir with Christ, if she shares in his sufferings so that she also shares in his glory.”
In Psalms, David writes again and again that God gives abundantly. David had ups and downs. He knew God’s discipline well, but he also knew God’s grace and generosity. Scripture says David, despite his faults, was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 12:22,23). Even though we sin and then sin again, when we return to Christ in repentance, as the Prodigal Son returned to his father (Luke 15:22-24), God forgives and blesses us abundantly with our inheritance. Amazing grace, right?
God’s faithfulness inspires us to be faithful in giving. When we give gifts back to God and give to others through tithes and offerings, we will be additionally blessed. Luke 6:38 says, “A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured out into your lap.” Malachi 3:10 says the windows of heaven will open on us until we have no more need. Another version says the blessing will overflow. His faithfulness to we, the favored, knows no bounds.
Not the False Prosperity Gospel
I don’t believe that Christians will get everything we want on this earth, nor should we. God teaches me great lessons through trials. Just as disciplining a child makes him a better person, discipline on Christians makes us more like Christ. Trials, therefore, are a blessing.
First Timothy 6:17 says, “God richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” The physical treasures on this planet are nice, but not of any eternal value.
However, sharing the physical gifts God entrusts to me brings me joy and is a way to share Christ’s love, so there is eternal value in giving. It’s yet another way that God blesses ME. He will take care of the needy, regardless of what I give. Jesus said there will always be people in need (Matt. 26:11). While sharing earthly wealth is honorable and commendable, the blessing is more for the giver than the recipient. That blessing is a treasure stored in heaven (Matt.6:19-20) and – bonus – it comes with gaining an understanding of how God’s economy works.
Christians should know that we will constantly fight the once-and-for-all war against evil, because on earth Satan currently claims territory (Eph. 2:2). Jesus told us there will be trouble during this life. There WILL BE. He also said he has already overcome the world (John 16:33).
God is a great, generous, and loving Father – literally the best. The trials I endure are for my good, to give me gifts of eternal value. The earthly and spiritual gifts I’m given are reason for my deep, authentic gratefulness and joy. I know that my answered prayers and bonus blessings are good things, coming down from the Father of Heavenly Lights (James 1:17).
And I am abundantly thankful.