Friday, August 19, 2016

Year C, Proper 17, Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16, The Grace of Sufficiency

It's not that I desire to cultivate a love of money within myself, but I wouldn't mind having the opportunity to develop a deeper friendship. . .

"Maybe we don't want to be rich, but we'd all like to give it a try!"

And then there is this simple fact:  There is a huge difference between that which is desired and that which is needed.  One of the difficult lessons I have learned over the course of my life is to accept as a gift of grace, that which is sufficient, even as I must let go of that which seems so desirable.

Since I went on disability back in 2013, life has been a series of adjustments.  The disability payments were but a fraction of my full salary while working.  Our living arrangements have been both a bane and a blessing.  On the one hand, after having lived in a parsonage for most of my life, my wife and I were given the opportunity to buy our own home, which we did based on the income we had while I was working.  And then in a few short months, my health deteriorated to the point I needed to resign my call and go on disability, resulting in a substantial loss of income.  And then, subsequently, I ended up losing my disability benefits after a couple of years which resulted in my reentering the work force at a wage that was further reduced from the disability benefits.  Having a home to live in was great, but whether we could continue to pay for that home with an ever decreasing income level was another matter.

What never ceases to amaze me, is that throughout it all, there has been 'enough'.  Not a single bill went unpaid, and in fact, major financial hurdles (such as surgeries) we able to cover with cash, not credit.  For that to happen, adjustments had to be made, that is true.  And there may well be other adjustments as we go down the road.  But the life lesson in all this has been that by God's grace we have received that which is sufficient to meet our needs, though not always as much as we would have desired.  The challenge is to receive with gratitude the 'sufficient' gifts of God's grace, while not plunging into resentments over the want of that which we desire.

"I will never leave or forsake you. .  .  The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.  What can anyone do to me."  "Be content with what you have."

The truth is that we have an insatiable appetite for more.  And yet, in a mysterious way, happiness is often found in less.  

Figure that one out and you will have gained a greater understanding and appreciation for the grace of sufficiency.  

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