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Enough already…


I would like to think that I’m a “glass is half full” kind of guy…someone who is consistently able to see and celebrate the gifts and resources that we already have at our disposal for whatever task is in front of us. But…truth be told…I’m just as likely to perceive the glass as half empty.  Way more often than I care to admit, I find myself agonizing over how little we seem to have or how underequipped we are.  I don’t think this is always a bad thing; it’s a good idea to be realistic about what you possess. But the problem: it can be a pretty short leap from there to a kind of paralysis which stifles both creativity and courage.

Two things in the past several days have challenged me on this.  The first was a wonderful sermon (and follow-up presentation) by the Rev. John Edgar at our recent synod assembly.  His work with the Church for All People in Columbus, Ohio, is a wonderful testimony to what can be achieved by simply starting with the gifts God has already given.  The second was a re-reading of 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 in preparation for last night’s Bible study here at Grace.  I was struck not only by Paul’s ability to set-up his argument with the Corinthians, but by his theology of abundance.  He gives thanks for God’s grace that has enriched the Corinthians so that they are “not lacking in any spiritual gift.”  How interesting.  Paul doesn’t start by enumerating their deficiencies (and they are many); he begins by praising God for all that the Corinthians already possess.

It may seem like a little thing…or that we are only arguing semantics.  But I’m beginning to understand that the distinction between “half full” and “half empty” is not little at all.  The unquenchable yearning for what we don’t already have is, in fact, a huge problem in our culture as well as in the church, if for no other reason than that it sets us up for the easy psychological move to victimhood…lamenting our unfulfilled desires, denied rights and burgeoning entitlements.  Recognizing and giving thanks for what we already have, however, opens our eyes to opportunities, and empowers us to work with those gifts for the betterment of the world around us in whatever way we can.

Like a lot of mainline Christian congregations, the one I serve has been through some challenging times the past several years…and we’re not out of the woods yet. Disagreements on social issues and a lousy economy have put a real strain on us. But never along this hard road have we been abandoned by God. Never are we without the resources we need to make a difference for Christ in our communities. In every way, we have been enriched in Christ Jesus (to paraphrase Paul). The challenge is simply to see and then employ what we have…and to recognize that it is enough already.


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