If you carefully obey the commands I am giving you today and love the Lord your God and serve him with your whole being, then he will send rain on your land at the right time, in the fall and spring, and you will be able to gather your grain, new wine, and oil. He will put grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will have plenty to eat. Deuteronomy 11:13-15
How much is “plenty”?
We define plenty in different terms. Our definitions typically differ across different times in our lives.
Consider what you thought was plenty when you were a young child. Teenager? Young adult? Midlife? Retirement age?
Our definitions might even differ whether we’re talking about ourselves or someone else.
Is “plenty” for someone living in an isolated African village the same as someone living in an upscale neighborhood in an American city?
God gives us what we need. In fact, he promises those who are obedient to his commands, loving and serving him with everything they have, “plenty.” However, we’re often not satisfied with the plenty God has for us.
How have you been dissatisfied with your plenty?
How have you assumed your provision was affected by your obedience (or disobedience)?
God is not a gumball machine. We don’t put in our obedience and get out what we want. God gives us what we need. One time, you might get a single purple gumball, another time you might get no gumball, yet another time you might get multiple, multi-flavored gumballs. You will never be able to make sense of what God gives you in response to what you give him. It all makes sense to God but the connections weaving his instruction, our obedience, his mercy, our humility, his discipline, our faith, and his provision together are complicated to say the least.
You cannot compare ourselves to the person next door, across the country, or around the world. You are not called to her life, and she is not called to yours. You cannot live her life – though you can impact it – and she cannot live yours – though she can impact it.
At this time you have plenty. What you have can help others who are in need. Then later, when they have plenty, they can help you when you are in need, and all will be equal. (2 Corinthians 8:14)
By definition, plenty, when used in Scripture, does not simply indicate enough. Plenty indicates an abundance. One Bible dictionary defines it as “adequate to every purpose; full supply.”
When God supplies plenty, we must respond in continued obedience by stewarding what he’s given us. That might mean using the daily provision he’s given us instead of hoarding it in fear he won’t provide again. Like providing manna to the Israelites before they reached the promised land, what God provided each day had to be consumed that day or it would rot. They could not selfishly store and hoard. God wanted to teach his people to rely on him consistently for provision.
At other times, God entrusts us with a harvest that must last one or more seasons. After Joseph interpreted the king’s two dreams, and the king appointed Joseph to manage the land in Egypt, the seven years of good crops came to an end in the land of Egypt. Then the seven years of hunger began, just as Joseph had said. In all the lands people had nothing to eat, but in Egypt there was food. The time of hunger became terrible in all of Egypt, and the people cried to the king for food. He said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you.” The hunger was everywhere in that part of the world. And Joseph opened the storehouses and sold grain to the people of Egypt, because the time of hunger became terrible in Egypt. And all the people in that part of the world came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain because the hunger was terrible everywhere in that part of the world. (Genesis 41:53-57)
Either situation – having enough for one day or enough for seven years (with enough to share as well) – requires discipline. So, we respond in obedience and God gives us our plenty. With that plenty, we must respond in obedience. God gives abundantly, and he wants us to respond abundantly. God is not dependent on us as we are on him, but our relationship is certainly interactive. He wants our involvement.
How will you be actively involved in God’s plan and provision for you today?