Beautiful and Abundant

Life Notes—April 7, 2011

“The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.”  2 Corinthians 9:6, 8 

Recently I read the fascinating book Beautiful and Abundant, by Bryan Welch.  It is a thought-provoking, optimistic and visionary treatise on how we can build a world we want for ourselves and for future generations.  Welch asks us to consider our current and future actions in light of four queries: (1) Is it beautiful? (2) Does it create abundance? (3) Is it fair? (4) Is it contagious?  By considering our lives in light of these queries we begin to take a more introspective and longer-term view of life as it is today, as well as the impact our actions may have on the lives of our children and our children’s children. 

In his letter to the Corinthians Paul discusses “sowing bountifully” in order to “reap bountifully,” and how God provides us with “every blessing in abundance” so that as we realize we have enough of everything we will “share abundantly in every good work.”  Paul’s point is that what we receive from life is directly related to what we give.  A farmer cannot sow a half-acre and reap a hundred acres.  Bryan’s point is similar. 

What we give depends on our attitude about how much of what we already have is enough.  The home Carrie and I bought when our children were young may look excessively large as we stare into the fast-approaching empty nest reality.  As we reflect on what we have vs. how much we need vs. how our excess could enrich others who lack, our resources look different.  And our stewardship of those resources takes a new focus.  We can be blessed by utilizing what we need for ourselves; we can be blessed by utilizing less so there is more for others; and we can be blessed by sharing extravagantly with others.  It is our choice, and blessing is the result. 

For spiritual reflection, Paul’s letters to the Corinthians are instructive.  For a look at sustainable futures, Beautiful and Abundant is a great read.  The latter can be ordered through the Bookshelf at www.motherearthnews.com, or you can visit with the author before or after Life Worship. Bryan is a member of our church and is the bass player extraordinaire in the Life music group. Beauty and abundance is provided by God to those who sow abundantly and thoughtfully distribute the blessings received. 

This Sunday Tom is preaching downtown and Mitch will be west.  Their sermon is “Cultivating Fruitfulness: Extravagant Generosity.”  This will be the fifth in the all-church Lenten series.  Life worship is at 9:40 in Brady Hall, traditional worship in the sanctuary is at 8:30 and 11:00.  Worship at the west campus is at 9:00 and 11:00. 

Come home to church this Sunday.  Discover beauty and abundance in your life.

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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