Are you a reservoir of fear or a river of freedom and giving?

Posted on January 24, 2011. Filed under: Personal Growth and Freedom | Tags: , |

“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.'”

But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?

This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

Luke 12:18-21 New International Version

You know I have read this parable many, many times over the years and with each reflection came away with an understanding that one’s motives should be focused on the Lord and storing treasures in heaven versus on the material things of this world and accumulating what I will call perishable wealth.

Yet understanding and knowing are two different things in that I just realized yesterday morning that while I grasped the concept of what Jesus was saying, the kind of knowing resonation that brings about personal transformation had until then eluded me.

Let me explain that this post actually started taking shape on Saturday when, during my daily devotional I read a commentary which stated “right actions are not a result of one’s environment but of right thinking.”

This hit home because it helped to reaffirm what I have always known that while the circumstances of life can and do change (often times dramatically), our response should be based on the knowledge that God is a Sovereign God.  Specifically, by focusing on Him and yielding to Him through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, our actions will be governed by the peace that is the result of His Sovereignty and not the ever shifting fortunes of an at times beautiful, yet fallen world.  Recognizing God’s Sovereignty is the right thinking to which I am referring.

What is really amazing about the manner in which God communicates with His children, is that I took the above reflective insight into church the following morning where, in a powerful oratory about finances, the preacher talked about our responsibilities in terms of being good administrators.  It was as if lights went off!

In essence, on Saturday God had pointed out how important right thinking is, and on Sunday He then highlighted where my thinking had to change in terms of being a good administrator and servant of the Lord.

For those who are perhaps reading this blog for the first time, you may not know about my background and why this is for me a major epiphany.

You see, in 2001 I had sold my software company to a larger publicly traded enterprise for $12 million (mostly shares and debentures).  Prior to that time my regular monthly paycheck was between $45,000 and $75,000 per month.  Yet despite this abundance, my administration of the blessings God had bestowed upon me was very much like the man from Jesus’ parable.  I had a reservoir mindset in which the more I received the tighter I held onto things.

Don’t get me wrong, I was generous in terms of making charitable donations – although I am not sure that it reached the 10% level of my income.  However, instead of placing my faith in God’s Sovereignty and truly recognizing that all blessings originate with Him, I put my faith in my barns of grain.  Wrong thinking!

As is the case with all things that are perishable, the dot com boom as it was called turned to a bust and in trying to keep my company going (i.e. keep filling my barns full of grain), despite the rapidly declining  revenues from a market that was imploding, I ultimately lost everything.  And when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING!

Without going into the intervening years that have led to the many blessings that have come to me with the growing success of my present enterprise, our God truly is a forgiving and loving Father, I hit a crossroads in that almost imperceptibly the old reservoir mindset began emerging as I found myself once again “ambitiously” pursuing grain-filled barns.

I wasn’t falling into these old patterns of wrong thinking because I was dense (although some may suggest that I had in the past played one too many games of football without a helmet), nor was I trying to be purposefully disobedient to God.  It is just that it was the only way I knew how to think.

The difference this time is that God had instilled in me the desire to keep Him as the focal point of my life.  Because of this the Saturday awakening followed by the Sunday morning epiphany provided me with the ability to view things in another light.   Talk about the renewing of your mind!

As a result, and even though on Monday (Satan doesn’t waste time in terms of testing our resolve), circumstances tempted me to go off course because after all, old ways of thinking do not necessarily and entirely disappear at once, the recognition that my real and true eternal treasure is my relationship with God, resulted in the right kind of thinking that subsequently led to my taking the right actions.

These actions, which instead of  being driven by an attitude of need leading to reservoir thinking (re accumulate and hold), were influenced by an abundance mindset that was based on the loving faithfulness of a God who according to scripture such as Matthew 6:25, knows my real needs and will provide for them according to His riches in heaven.

It was precisely at that moment that the dam of fear broke open and the perishable reservoir of perceived earthly riches flowed as a tidal river of confidence, freedom and giving.

It is also at moments like these that I truly appreciate the greatness of the Lord and His love for me and for all of His children.

I can hardly wait for the next lesson!

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