A few weeks ago, the Lord gave me an illustration that I shared it with the youth group. I received such positive feedback from students about how it impacted them that I want to share it with you here. It still impacts me as well.
It was two days before our Poland trip and I had just cashed out all our trip spending money. During my talk that Wednesday night, I chose a volunteer from the audience (it happened to be Rachel Kearney) and I gave her a $100 bill. She–and the rest of the group–was astounded. Then I asked if I could give her another $100. And another, and another. People were flabbergasted and in total awe–some even stood up to get a better view. By the time I was finished, I had handed her 60 – $100 bills for a total of $6,000. Most people in the room had never even seen that much cash in one place. That would pay for a decent car or two years at Kirkwood!
I asked Rachel how she felt at that moment and her words were “Speechless!”
The first analogy is this: God has given us immeasurably more than $6,000. For free. Just because He wanted to. More than $6 million; more than $6 trillion. If we were to quantify all his undeserved blessings (life, health, family, abilities, resources, education, freedom, intelligence, friends, transportation, His Word, fellowship, utilities, technology, communication, etc) we would see that we are truly wealthy beyond measure. And that’s just adding up His undeserved grace. If we factor in His mercy (the bad things we deserve–such as hell–but are spared from), we find that we have far too many blessings to even begin to count.
So what should our reaction be to God’s generosity toward us? Rachel had it right: Speechlessness.
Application #1. When was the last time you were speechless toward God at His generosity?
Back to that Wednesday night. With the huge pile of cash in Rachel’s hand, I then speculated on what her reaction ought to be if the person sitting next to her withheld from her a measly Quarter. We agreed it really shouldn’t make a bit of difference to her. She’s rich beyond words, so why should that pitiful quarter make any difference at all to her.
The second analogy is this. We easily forget how wealthy we are in Christ and therefore we easily obsess over the “Quarter” we think we need to be happy (a relationship, some material thing, an exotic experience, etc.). We ought to live in a constant state of exuberance, yet so often our thinking gets skewed and we believe we need this or that to be happy. We get depressed and anxious over such relatively insignificant things and we lose our joy. How it must break God’s heart when, having just abundantly showered us with innumerable blessings, we get mopey and gloomy over one unnecessary trinket we don’t have.
This truth hit home with me again even today. Early this morning I had lain in bed for two hours, unable to sleep, because I was wishing for something I thought I needed to be happy. Dreaming about how wonderful it would be. Scheming ways to possibly get it. And then I remembered the “Quarter” and thought about how sad God must have been during those two hours while I blocked Him completely out of my mind’s eye because I was dangling that stupid “Quarter” in front of my face. I’m happy to say I apologized and repented and then had an awesome worship time right there in my bed. I put my delight back in God alone and I found Him amazingly satisfying. I don’t need that “Quarter” to be happy.
Application #2. What “Quarter” are you currently obsessing over? Can you let it go and trust God to be your sole source of delight? Good questions to ask, probably every day!