By Doug Inglish
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows (Psalm 23:5, last part, NIV).
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you (Luke 6:28, NIV).
The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with … oil (Joel 2:24, NIV).
… (S)ee if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it (Malachi 3:10, last part, NIV).
We are all familiar with passages that promise blessings beyond what we can imagine. If you look over the ones listed above, or even maybe some others you can think of, it’s very easy to get the impression that, in all cases, those blessings are tangible, material increases. Maybe we don’t need literal threshing floors filled with grain or overflowing vats of oil, but it’s not too great a leap to imagine it as a garage full of cars that are paid for and a retirement plan overflowing with diversified investments.
Well, sometimes blessings come in the form of material or monetary increases. But if that’s the only way you measure the return that comes from being a faithful and generous steward, then you will never see the cup as being full.
You know the old saw, that an optimist sees a glass as half full. What nonsense! A true optimist knows that most of a meal is outside the glass and adjusts his field of vision to see the whole picture.
Likewise, most of the blessings God sends to us are outside the category of material goods. That includes the blessings that flow from being a faithful steward. We read Malachi and see that, if we bring all the tithe to Him, He will open the windows of heaven. The natural assumption is that, if I am giving Him monetary gifts, the windows of heaven are set to pour out monetary blessings. But that’s not what it says!
Which may come as a relief to you, if you have noticed that materially speaking, you have plenty more room to receive despite being a faithful steward. At least, that’s my experience. Can you honestly say that you really can’t use any more money, you have too much already? No? Well then, the only way to explain this promise is that the blessings of being a faithful steward are mostly not monetary.
Sit back and think honestly for a moment about what really matters in your life. It could be a ministry that you enjoy, a fulfilling career, getting an education, or a hobby that brings you peace and relaxation. I hope that what really matters includes family at friends, preferably at the top of the list.
Are you blessed by any of these? Do some of them fill you to overflowing? Are they even so important to you that you trade in some of those precious, and even scarce, monetary blessings in order to receive more of the things that make life meaningful? Of course you do, because unless you are the kind of miser who would rather have the cold hard cash than a warm house in winter, money is only there to purchase what we really need or want.
And some of what we need or want can’t be purchased. It can only come to us from the hand of God. Faithful stewards rejoice not only when they keep ahead of the bills, but also when good health, the peace that passes understanding, the assurance of eternal life, good relations with loved ones, and so many other things are being pressed down, shaken together, and running over in their lives. And they rejoice because they know that these, more than monetary things, are what flow from the windows of heaven when they are faithful.
The glass may only be half full, but there’s more to the meal than fits in a glass. Count your blessings and rejoice over them.
—Doug Inglish is RMC vice president for administration. Photo by Unsplash.