By Not Known
Blessed Lunar New Year to all! For Chinese communities around the world, this holiday marks the start of spring, and a significant time of celebration and family reunions. Much of the food and practices associated with this holiday is tied to the concept of abundance. For example, the eating together of a fish whole, with the word “fish” sounding like the word for abundance, hence the proverb 年年有余 (nian nian you yu), meaning “may your years overflow with surplus.”
The Bible teaches us about blessings and abundance as well. The Abrahamic covenant begins, “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.” (Gen. 12:2) Jesus also gave us this promise, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (Jn. 10:10, NAS “abundantly”) Sometime in recent decades, however, the idea of blessings and abundance have begun to leave a bad taste in our mouths, or has become a sensitive or taboo topic, due by and large to the rise of the prosperity gospel, which emphasizes physical health and material wealth that can be made available to believers as long as they have enough faith and contribute significantly to God’s kingdom through giving and service. Granted the abuses and excesses that have ensued into huge scandals even here in Singapore, it is no wonder that we do not talk or teach about this subject more often. We begin to swing in a kneejerk fashion to the other extreme, we need to be humble, “poor in spirit,” live simply and don’t flaunt, boast of or pursue wealth and prosperity. The fact is, the Bible does talk about abundance and blessings, and we need God’s wisdom on how to approach the subject and apply God’s word into our daily lives. Solomon and several characters in the Bible were blessed with material wealth, and many used their wealth for godly pursuits and activities. We can indeed bless others and God’s work with what He blesses us with, and be assured that God will bless us in return (although not always in the form of material wealth). “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Lk. 6:38)
God’s word also teaches us that our lives do not consist only in the abundance of our possessions (Lk. 12:15). Abundance is also mentioned in relation to fruitfulness in our lives. What kind of fruit are we called to bear as disciples of Christ? Two examples are being moulded in our character into Christlikeness (fruit of the Spirit, Gal. 5:22-23) and winning lost souls for Christ (firstfruits of salvation, 2 Thes. 2:13). The same passage that Paul shares about giving cheerfully ends this way, “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 Cor. 9:8)
May this year be a year of blessings and abundance for you and your family as you seek and serve the Lord faithfully and fruitfully!
“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 throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Eph. 3:20-21)