Proverbs 30:7-9 -- "Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, Who is the Lord?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.
"Can I have some more mashed potatoes?" asks a child at the dinner table.
"You haven't finished what is on your plate," replies his parent.
"But I know I am going to want more; they're so good," the child says.
"When you've eaten what's on your plate, then you can have more," the parent replies.
The scenario repeats itself several times. Later that night, the child complains of a belly ache.
"I wish I hadn't eaten all those mashed potatoes," he says wistfully.
"Sometimes more isn't better. A belly ache is a hard way to learn that lesson," says the wise parent, who also had to learn that lesson as a child.
Tis the season of more. Kids are excited to be getting more toys for Christmas, even though most of them have a stockpile in their room that would rival a toy store warehouse. It's the time of year when we eat more food, especially Christmas cookies and treats. We spend more money -- usually more than we actually have to spend. We try to outdo what we did the year before, with better presents and better decorations and better parties. In the process, we add more stress to our lives by trying to make everything perfect and make everyone happy.
Ephesians 3:20-21 -- Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
More isn't necessarily a bad thing. In this scripture from Ephesians, Paul tells us that God is able to do much more than we ask or even think. We often see this fulfilled in our prayer life, when we pray for something and God not only answers that prayer, but does so in a big way that goes beyond what we were looking for. However, sometimes we are like the little boy who wanted more mashed potatoes. We keep asking for more of something we really can't handle, and the wise Father allows us to learn that lesson.
1 Timothy 6:6-9 -- But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
Before we ask the Lord for more of anything, we need to assess our current condition. If you are asking for more, then it means that you now have what you're asking for in a certain quantity or state of being. You have to have "some" before you can have "more". You can apply these questions to things of this world, like money, or to spiritual things, like wisdom and gifts and callings. Think of them as the Principles of More.
- Why do I want more? Is it just for the sake of having more because more is better? Do I want more or need more?
- How will I put the "more" to use?
- Have I shown gratitude for what I currently have, or do I just complain that it isn't enough?
- Am I being a good steward and using what I currently have wisely and to the greatest extent possible?
- Am I wanting more to build myself up or because I can do more for others?
- How much more will be enough? Am I trying to satisfy myself that it is enough or am I trying to keep up with the expectations of those around me?
If you took a poll on the street and asked people what they wanted more of in their lives, the top answers would probably be time and money. We've all experienced that Catch 22 of having the time but not the money or having the money and not the time. Maybe it's not that we need more time but we need to examine how we are using the time we have. As our lives change, our priorities often shift and we forget to shift with them. The same goes for money. In Philippians 4:12, the Apostle Paul says: "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." Paul knew that his happiness didn't hinge on how much money he had in the bank, but instead it was anchored in his relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus was the only thing he needed more of in his life. John the Baptist said that he must decrease so that Jesus could increase. In order for Jesus to increase in our lives, we must allow our self our fleshly, worldly, more, more, more self to decrease.
Luke 6:37-38 "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 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."
Another Principle of More is that you give what you need. Do you need love in your life? Then give love. Do you need a friend? Then be a friend and be friendly. Do you need kindness and understanding or mercy? Then give those things. Jesus told His disciples, "Freely you have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8). He also tells the parable in Matthew 18 of the servant who was forgiven a large debt by his compassionate master. Instead of paying that kind act forward, the servant has one of his fellow servants thrown in prison for not paying him back for a small amount he owed. When the master learns what the servant is done, he has him thrown in jail to pay back his debt in full. The parable ends with the warning that this is how our Heavenly Father will treat us if we are not able to forgive our brother. If you need forgiveness, you need to be forgiving.
Matthew 25:29 -- For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.
When we have more of something, it comes with more responsibility. When we were growing up, our parents gave us more freedom to make our own choices, but it meant that we had to make good choices or we would lose some of that freedom. In the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, the master gave his servants a certain amount of money, according to their abilities. Sometimes we think people get more than us and it isn't fair. Whatever you have, it has been given to you by God according to your ability to handle it. If you want more then you have to be like the two servants who put the money to good use and made it increase. The master rewarded them by giving them even more, because they had been faithful with a few things. The third servant took the money and hid it away. He didn't do anything with what he had. Not only did he lose out on the opportunity for more, but he also had what little he had taken away from him and he was sent out from the master's presence.
Our Praise & Worship Team sings a song called "More" (written by Mary Alessi). The lyrics say "we ask for more of your power and more of your glory" and "more of your Spirit and more of your presence like we've never known before, all we ask You, Lord, is for more." These are good things to ask more of from God, and we know that He will give us the desires of our heart. When we ask for more, we need to be sure we are ready for it. If we want more of God's presence, then we are going to have to give Him more of our time and attention. You don't invite someone to visit you in your home and then ignore them. If we want more of His power, what are we going to do with it? Freely you have received; freely give. That's not just a principle of more it's the power of more.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a happy, blessed new year!
Dana S. Hoffman
Great article that gives you so much food for thought as you read it. Good job Susan.