The Rolling Stones hit the nail on the head with their hit song, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” If we’re honest with one another, what most often consumes our thoughts and hearts is what we do not have. We’re always in need of something. Simply put, we’re never satisfied.
We have two holidays coming up that stand in stark contrast with one another: Thanksgiving and Christmas. On Thursday, we’re giving thanks for our blessings. On Friday, we’re shoving people out of our way because we absolutely have to get that TV deal for Johnny’s gift this year!
We can’t get no satisfaction. If we could, the advertising industry wouldn’t be the giant that it is. Americans wouldn’t be in the mountain of debt that they are in. According to Discover, the average household carries $16K of credit card debt and $132K of other types of debt.
Why can’t we get no satisfaction? Because we are always focused on what we do not have. We focus on how things could be better. We want that new iPhone, that bigger or newer car. Financial institutions and retailers are great marketers! No interest for a year, 5% cash back, free one-day shipping, rewards a-plenty, spend more – save more.
We’re great at justifying spending ourselves, too. You’ve earned it, you definitely need it. Yours keeps breaking down and is starting to nickel-and-dime you. It’s for your kid’s safety. You’ll get more done if you had it. The excuses go on and on that we give ourselves.
There’s nothing wrong with having nice things, but there is obviously something wrong when we spend what we don’t have to get it. God’s word is true when we’re advised that:
The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.
You work too hard to still be in slavery! You work too hard to make someone else rich! Every swipe of that credit card is like going to the bank and applying for a loan. That $8 lunch is going to end up costing you $16 by the time that you pay it off!
Sometimes we can’t get no satisfaction in life for the same reason. We wish that we were thinner, smarter, prettier, bolder, anything-ier than what we are. The comparison game is a losing one – a chasing after the wind as Solomon put it in Ecclesiastes or just dust in the wind as Kansas put it.
What does God ask of us to achieve greatness? What does God ask of us to meet our legitimate needs?
God doesn’t need you to get something more to be blessed, God desires to bless what you already have!
Jesus gave another contrast to two churches found in Revelation:
8 “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. 9 I know your afflictions and your poverty – yet you are rich!
14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words
of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.
15 I know your deeds, that you are neither
cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are
lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17
You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you
do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
What do you have? What has God entrusted to you? You may not think that you have much by the world’s standards, but to Jesus, you are rich! Sure you may be afflicted or even in poverty, but Jesus says you are rich!
You are blessed and dearly loved. You were worth the King of kings and Lord of lords sacrificing everything!
1 Timothy 6:6
…godliness with contentment is great gain.
God asked Moses, “Whatcha got?” With his staff and cloak, he performed the miraculous to lead God’s people to their freedom and another step closer to the promised land even parting the Red Sea with it.
With a simple cloak, Elijah and Elisha parted the Jordan river. With a little salt, an entire town’s water supply was healed allowing the land to be productive again until Jesus returns. With a little flour, a toxic stew became healthy. With a staff, Elisha raised raised the dead. Even Elisha’s dry bones long after his death brought a dead man to life!
With lifted hands, the Amalekite army was defeated. With a shout, the walls of Jericho came crashing down. With the sound of trumpets and breaking of jars, the Midianites were defeated. With a sling and a stone, Goliath fell. Through a cross used to cause a torturous death, eternal life was earned.
A little mud made from spit healed the eyes of the blind, a fish’s belly carried Jonah back into the center of God’s will, a fish caught by Peter had the coin in it’s mouth needed to pay his and Jesus’ taxes. Thousands are fed with a few loaves of bread and fish with leftovers to spare.
With just a word, demons flee, sickness and diseases are healed, the dead rise, storms are stilled, all of creation comes into existence!
The next time that you say something along the lines of, “If I only had…” stop and think about these things. Ask yourself what God so often asked others in their time of need, “Watcha got?”
One thing is for certain. Whatever you see as lack, when given into the hands of God, is an abundance!
God doesn’t need you to win the lottery, lose 50 pounds, or read through the whole Bible to do the miraculous in and through your life! God does His best work with exactly what you have!
5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
Is God ever surprised by anything? Do you ever encounter a situation, turn to Jesus, and have Him say, “Man, I didn’t see that coming! What are you going to do?” Of course, not!
Jesus knows what He is doing. He already has the solution before you have the problem. He already has the provision before you have the lack. He is faithful and trustworthy! Jesus already has in mind what He is going to do in your situation. Why stress about it and wonder what you are going to do? Why not instead turn to Jesus and place it in His hands?
7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
Marie mentioned a few weeks ago about how God is not divided. He is the same God both Old Testament and New. In fact, many of the miracles that we find in the New Testament performed by Jesus and then through His church are also found in the Old Testament. Here, we find such an example. This is why many people thought that Jesus was Elijah. Recall that Elisha was Elijah’s successor who received double the anointing that Elijah had.
2 Kings 4:42-44
42 A man came from Baal Shalishah (means thrice-great Lord), bringing the man of God twenty loaves of barley bread baked from the first ripe grain, along with some heads of new grain. “Give it to the people to eat,” Elisha said.
43 “How can I set this before a hundred men?” his servant asked.
But Elisha answered, “Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the Lord says: ‘They will eat and have some left over.’” 44 Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord.
Notice in both of these instances, and even in a third found in the gospels, a few interesting things.
1. When there was a need to feed, they already possessed all that they needed.
From a worldly perspective, there was only lack and panic.
From God’s perspective, there was an abundance.
2. When was the food multiplied to meet and exceed the need?
Was it multiplied when it was given to Jesus or Elisha? Nope!
Was it multiplied after thanks was given to God for it? Nope!
It was only multiplied as it was being given away!
It was being multiplied only as it progressively met the need.
There has been an unintentional trend in our messages the past month on this theme. In the fire of God, we are the living sacrifice, the fuel for the fire. Only as we lay down our lives are we set ablaze with the fire of God! Only when the rich young ruler gave his wealth away would he receive riches in Heaven.
We gain by losing. We receive by giving away. Our open-handed generosity, investing where God calls us to, enables the abundance of God to pour out through our lives into the lives of those around us.
The truth is that bad things happen to good people. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. The difference is how we respond to our troubles!
2 Kings 4:1-7
1 The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”
2 Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”
“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”
3 Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. 4 Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”
5 She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. 6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”
But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.
7 She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”
This morning, God is challenging us to repent – to think differently. He’s challenging us not to look at our lack. He’s asking us, “Watcha got?” What you have is more than enough for God to meet and exceed your needs. In His hands, the impossible can be our reality.
Why exceed the need? Well, God does like to show off! For His own name’s sake, He will forgive and bless even in our foolishness. More so, we are blessed to be a blessing. We are filled up to be poured out.
The often unsung heroes in these accounts are the young boy who gave his all, the widow who gave everything she had left, the unnamed man who came to bless Elisha, the man of God. Because they were willing to give, God had something to work with.
Don’t be ashamed of your lack. Don’t look with disdain or bitterness toward your little. Give it up as an offering to God and watch what He can do through it! There is nothing too hard for our God!