We are now four days into the New Year and I’m feeling a bit lethargic. The sun is shining today which will help. I may be experiencing cabin fever. It’s too cold to entice me to venture out and the roads are still covered with the latest snow. It would be so easy to complain about the weather, yet each time I either complain about the weather or consider complaining, I am reminded of the Israelites complaining in the wilderness and that usually changes my mind. God has appointed the seasons and I am reminded of the abundance of my blessings, no matter what the weather is.
While watching the news last night a reporter was speaking with two homeless men. Both were young, probably in their twenties. There are shelters available for night, yet so far they were choosing not to take advantage of them. Even for the ones who do visit the shelters at night it is my understanding that there are still very few places for them to stay in the day to be out of the weather.
I’ll be honest; I can’t imagine living on the streets. I understand that in some cases people are on the streets because of their lifestyle, others are there because of economics. As I listened to the story and thought of my own blessings, I remembered the following verses.
Phil 4:12-13 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
My times of having plenty have far outweighed my times of being in need.
The following article is from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Book and it gives me great pause for reflection and thanksgiving. I pray that in my abundance that I will not be filled with pride and that my abundance will not bring on “wantonness of spirit”, but a ready willingness to help others.
There are many who know “how to be abased” who have not learned “how to abound.” When they are set upon the top of a pinnacle their heads grow dizzy, and they are ready to fall. The Christian far oftener disgraces his profession in prosperity than in adversity. It is a dangerous thing to be prosperous. The crucible of adversity is a less severe trial to the Christian than the fining-pot of prosperity. Oh, what leanness of soul and neglect of spiritual things have been brought on through the very mercies and bounties of God! Yet this is not a matter of necessity, for the apostle tells us that he knew how to abound. When he had much he knew how to use it. Abundant grace enabled him to bear abundant prosperity. When he had a full sail he was loaded with much ballast, and so floated safely. It needs more than human skill to carry the brimming cup of mortal joy with a steady hand, yet Paul had learned that skill, for he declares, “In all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry.” It is a divine lesson to know how to be full, for the Israelites were full once, but while the flesh was yet in their mouth, the wrath of God came upon them. Many have asked for mercies that they might satisfy their own hearts’ lust. Fullness of bread has often made fullness of blood, and that has brought on wantonness of spirit. When we have much of God’s providential mercies, it often happens that we have but little of God’s grace, and little gratitude for the bounties we have received. We are full and we forget God: satisfied with earth, we are content to do without heaven. Rest assured it is harder to know how to be full than it is to know how to be hungry—so desperate is the tendency of human nature to pride and forgetfulness of God. Take care that you ask in your prayers that God would teach you “how to be full.”
“Let not the gifts Thy love bestows
Estrange our hearts from Thee.”