I learn from desert wanderers that manna hoarded rots.
God’s economy teaches that when we have extra,
it eventually spoils.
So whether sitting in tubs in the garage or in bank accounts
or in refrigerators or in time spent in front of screens,
too much of a good thing unshared eventually becomes a bad thing.
Love hoarded in hearts goes bad as well. Especially in hearts.
I think there is reason for the extra of this world
and that reason leads to the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
To be poor in spirit means to dig deep from our own wells
and come up with dry sand.
that we know
that we know that
our only option in life
is to seek a daily refilling from the well of Living Water.
And when we acknowledge our impoverished spirits before him
He welcomes us into the land of extra. Manna given daily.
To the land of abundance where we share in the overflow of His Spirit.
Because we know that every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights.
God’s way in this world says there is no shame in admitting being needy
when it leads us to his feet, to his upside down kingdom.
It’s a miracle really, this abundance out of poverty.
So we wake early one bitterly cold Kansas morning
in the first week of Advent designated for hope
and gather as manna some extra time from extra sleep and
pull toward us the warmth of overflow to share
with a few fellow travelers unable that day to gather on their own.
To place extra into shopping carts and give away the manna of
a smile and a hug and an invitation to community.
To draw near to some whose deep hunger in stomachs
is equal companion to deep hunger in souls.
To place extra love around the shoulders of a stranger who woke
with not a lot of extra inside a pantry or maybe a heart.
To willingly receive stories of pain and loss and
pour out the extra, the manna promise of Advent’s hope.
To laugh over the size of extra potatoes and share recipes,
understanding that it’ll take more than butter and salt to fix things right.
To walk beside a friend and feel the bond of Christ
in the midst of our shared need of Him.
Being poor in spirit means looking squarely in the face of our own poverty
as we come facedown before the Only One who can fill our need
and to be filled up to overflowing through the never ending supply of Jehovah-Jireh.
Then to receive brothers and sisters and strangers into our hearts extra.
It’s the only way to keep our lives from becoming rancid.
Being poor in spirit means living used up lives,
fragrant in the funnel shaped actions of love.
Extra extra in hearts and closets should make us uncomfortable
and our noses crinkle with its odor of waste.
To prevent the manna from rotting we get rid of the extra through
kindnesses that flow through, not from us.
This I know.
Our carts become overflowing when we acknowledge our neediness before him.
The pouring out of the extra overflowing presence of God
that floods our souls and fills our needs and spews forth delightfully into others
who know not the hope to which we cling…this is what the kingdom of heaven looks like.
We experience it only because we trust the promise
that when we pour out what we’ve been given,
there will always be enough for tomorrow’s needs.
We live in the land of extra.
And speaking of extra, I recently heard about The Giving Pledge on a 60 minutes podcast. Fascinating. Following the lead of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet, billionaires commit the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. Check it out.