You Have All That You Need
How to live this year believing you have enough
I’m going to use the next several blogs to propose a most audacious, even outrageous idea. It’s an idea deeply rooted in the Gospel, yet one we have either conveniently forgotten or intentionally pushed to the periphery of our collective life as the body of Christ.
Here it is…we have enough. “Enough of what?” you ask. Well, according to Scripture, we have enough of what we need to live the abundant life God created for us. While it may sound simple, the enormity of this claim is hard to overstate. We live in a culture of perpetual, merciless scarcity. We are fixated on the gap between what we have and what we believe we need. Want proof? Consider our scarcity attitudes in almost every area of life.
- We don’t have enough time in a day or days in a week to meet the demands put on us
- We don’t have enough finances to feel secure
- We don’t have enough faith to follow Jesus as we’d like
- We don’t have enough control over the things that impact us the most
- We don’t have enough courage to speak out or take a stand on important issues
- We don’t have enough resources to accomplish what God seems to be calling us to do
- We don’t have enough experiences to make life fulfilling
- We don’t have enough peace to be a witness in a world in chaos
- We don’t have enough strength to make it through the difficult times we face
- We don’t have enough patience to be with difficult people when they need us
- We don’t have enough love for neighbors and enemies as Jesus commanded
- We don’t have enough trust in God to surrender everything to Him
- We don’t have enough stuff to make us happy
- We don’t have enough hope to keep us going when we can’t see the horizon
The gap grows wider in organizational life. Consider:
- Our church doesn’t have enough finances/staff/volunteers/facilities for us to grow as we’d life
- Our nonprofit doesn’t have enough donors/board members/volunteers/staff to achieve our vision for expansion and widening impact
- Our business doesn’t have enough clients/cash flow/quality staff/facilities to reach our goals and make the money I want to make
- Our national economy doesn’t have enough people spending, consuming and going into deeper debt to keep the it growing
This scarcity lurks in our relationships.
- My marriage doesn’t have enough communication/love/time together…
- My relationship with my kids doesn’t have enough…
- My relationship with my friends doesn’t have enough…
- My relationship with my fellow church members doesn’t have enough…
This is capped off with the gaps in our ultimate relationship. How many of us say we don’t spend enough time in devotions, prayer, quiet time with God? And as a result, we lament that we don’t have enough faith, enough knowledge of Scripture, enough trust in God’s provision or enough confidence in His promises.
Continue the list for yourself. Stop right now and fill in the space, “I live my life believing I don’t have enough _______________.”
In the face of this tidal wave of lack and want, we should be stunned by the claim made in the opening verse of perhaps the most popular chapter in all of Scripture. David starts the 23rd Psalm with these shocking words.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need.”
Audacious! Ridiculous! In the face of all we have just listed, how can David make such a claim? Let’s look more carefully at this amazing verse.
The Hebrew phrase is אֶחְסָֽר׃ לֹ֣א. The root is ‘chaser’, which is defined as “to lack, need, be lacking, decrease.” Throughout Scripture it is used to mean: become empty (1), decreased (2), deprived (1), empty (1), lack or lacking (9), made lower (1), be in need (1), scarcity (1), want (3), withhold (1).
Sound familiar? These are the taglines for our lists of gaps represented above. Preceding this powerful and descriptive term, David inserts a definitive לא, which negates the word immediately following it. The result is breathtaking. David is saying that because the Lord is our shepherd, we shall NOT be decreased, deprived, empty, lack anything, made lower, experience need, know scarcity, have want.
Put positively, because the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall increase, have everything I need, be full, be satisfied, lifted up, have abundance, be provided for, know no scarcity, be content. This leads to my translation of this verse as, “The Lord is my Shepherd, and in Him, I have everything I need.”
If this is true (and it is) it must lead us to four powerful convictions.
1. Having enough requires absolute trust.
I know the Shepherd, and I trust He will provide for all of my needs. Jesus said it this way,
“If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:30-34
2. Having enough reorders our priorities.
I know the Shepherd, and what the Shepherd provides is all I need. That is an interesting and important twist. It says that it is our Shepherd, and NOT US, who defines what we need. If we are willing to let God define our needs, we can trust Him to supply them.
3. Having enough is a present tense reality.
I know the Shepherd, and as a result, my needs today are met. The verse says, “I have everything I need”, not that we ‘hope to have’ or ‘might have’ or ‘plan to have’, but God’s provision is a present reality.
4. Having enough is a declaration of sacred contentment.
I know the Shepherd, and therefore I am content. I have enough! Enough for what?
1) Enough to lay down in peace beside still waters
2) Enough to have my soul restored
3) Enough to walk through the valley of death without fear
4) Enough to trust God’s rod and staff and take guidance and discipline with joy
5) Enough to sit in the presence of my enemies with his anointing and an overflowing cup
6) Enough to live with hope all the days of my life
7) Enough to know whose I am and where my future lies
This Psalm is but one instance of a preponderance of Scripture that calls us to a life of abundance, trust and contentment. What would it mean for you today if you believed, really believed that God has supplied all your need? Let me conclude this initial blog with three suggestions.
1. It would mean we would focus in what we have and not on what we think we lack, and the result would be thanksgiving and praise;
2. It would mean we would seek God’s guidance for how best to steward all that He has given, since we believe it is enough to do the work He called us to do;
3. It would mean we would drive away every fear of tomorrow, having faith that the God who supplied our need today in every area of our life will be faithful to do so again and again as long as He gives us breath and life.
I urge you to start this New Year with this one phrase flowing from your lips, “I have enough.” See if it is not the first step on a journey of freedom and transformation as a joyful, faithful steward.