Written by cycleguy on June 10th, 2013

I’m back from vacation (came back the 9th), but I had anticipated a little catching up to do.  So I scheduled a post  here to save me from having to get right back into blogging.  I also have scheduled a guest post for you as a carry-over from last week’s special guests. Kari is one of the newest blogs I found (thanks to Melanie Wilson).  She highlighted one of Kari’s posts; I followed the link; and have been following every since.  Kari’s information is at the end of her post.  Here’s Kari:

If all the people in the world were lined up according to material wealth, most Americans (probably everyone reading this blog), would be in the top 10%. (See where you rank!)

Almost 80% of Earth’s population lives on less than $10 a day while almost half the world – over 3 billion people – live on less than $2.50 a day.

When I consider how many people live in poverty and how easily I spend $2.50 or $10 without thinking, I realize the impact of material abundance on my life.

Along with my own habits, my culture seems to scream self-attained abundance too. We should have what we want, when we want it. Many times, I have found myself filling desires I didn’t know I had until I saw them on television or at the store.

Ecclesiastes 5:10-12 describes the impact of material abundance well.

“He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them; so what profit have the owners except to see them with their eyes? The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eats little or much; but the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep.”

Sleep decreases as we worry about maintaining or increasing abundance. Focus on what matters decreases as we live with too much to do and not enough time to do it. Dissatisfaction increases with love of material abundance.

Matthew 6 provides a proper view of abundance, telling us not to worry about what we’ll eat, drink or wear (v 31), and to instead first seek God and His righteousness (v 33). Between those verses we discover why: God already knows what we need (even if we don’t). Focusing on Him means we not only receive what we need, but we also find truly satisfying abundance as well.

So what does abundance from God – abundance that truly satisfies – look like?

God wants us to live in abundance, but it’s not the abundance described in magazines and commercials. In fact, so much of what we think of when we describe abundance involves that which God tells us not to concern ourselves with at all.

Our own efforts to create abundance only result in worry, lack of sleep, and insatiable desires, leaving us loving that which leads to destruction (Psalm 52:7). Abundance from God not only meets our needs and makes us better, it “abundantly exceeds” anything we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

DISCUSSION: How do God’s intentions for abundance affect you?

Kari Scare is a freelance writer from Michigan. Her passions include reading books, magazines and blogs, pursuing a healthy lifestyle through exercise and diet, spending time with her two boys and her husband, and of course, writing. While these passions play a large part in defining who she is, they are guided and directed by her faith in Christ. Everything she does revolves around His will for her life. 

Kari blogs at Struggle to Victory, and her focus lies with showing that victory of any size or significance requires some amount of struggle. By being deliberate, intentional and curious, by pursuing simplicity and balance, and by striving to age gracefully, struggle will lead to victory.


28 Comments so far ↓

  1. Betty Draper says:

    Let me be the first to say, Amen my sister. Excellent post. We have worked in two countries where they make less than $2.50 a day. All the missionaries are RICH in comparison to the people they work with, us included.
    “God wants us to live in abundance, but it’s not the abundance described in magazines and commercials.” Never had I read a truer statement. Convicting post.

  2. Great post, Kari!
    It was an eye-opening and convicting trip when I travelled on an overseas missions trip. It made me realize how affluent we are here, and how it ends up ruling us at times.
    I try to enjoy those things as good gifts from God, but it’s quite tough to avoid falling in love with material wealth. But I think the key is to be generous. Generosity leads to us falling out of love with money – and falling more in love with things of eternity.

    • Kari Scare says:

      Yeah, it really can if we aren’t deliberate about that not happening. We do need to enjoy God’s blessings, and one of the best ways to do so is to be generous. But we have to cultivate that generosity. It’s not always automatic and natural.

  3. It convicts me. I work hard to meet my family’s needs and they have more than most people in the world.

  4. Daniel says:

    I am afraid that I have a foot in both worlds. I think that I have reasonably simple needs and tastes, but I want to provide a nice life for my daughter and to share with her what I have. I also want to make sure that I can help pay for her college tuition. I also work to give what I am capable of giving. Each year my level of giving has increased as I step out further and further in faith. I have seen first hand what can happen when you give with love and generosity.

    Yet I do not think that we can be blind or naive when facing the realities of the world we live in and our faith. We have responsibilities both to our God and to our families and we neglect either responsibility to our great peril.

    • Kari Scare says:

      I’m with you on this Daniel. I feel torn so much of the time. I want my kids to be provided for, but I want them to see that “things” are not important. Increasing in giving truly does cultivate our generosity, and it’s something we grow in as our faith grows. We certainly cannot neglect responsibilities, and God doesn’t want us to either. As we learn to trust Him more and more, He helps us keep those responsibilities appropriately prioritized. I would be so selfish without Him!

  5. Rick Dawson says:

    If I didn’t already have Kari in my RSS feed and on my blogroll, this would have pushed me to do so – hard. My income is strictly what I get from disability, and that still means I’m wealthier than so many out there. I may be poor by American standards, but so what? Marketers tear their hair out with customers like me – and that is a *good* thing, IMO 🙂

    • Kari Scare says:

      It is amazing to realize that even the poorest in this country are among the richest in the world. That blows my mind. We are truly blessed! Keep making them lose their hair! Thanks for following!

  6. So glad I connected you two! Wonderful post, Kari. It stands apart from the prosperity gospel being preached today. God doesn’t bless us so we can buy, buy, buy. He blesses us so we can glorify Him and serve others. Of course, we are blessed by every aspect of this abundance in return.

  7. Dave says:

    It’s wonderful to be witnessing and being a part of an awakening of sorts, that some of us are beginning to see (or have seen all along) that material abundance doesn’t necessarily equate to, or give evidence of, spiritual abundance and riches.

    The greatest blessings, love, joy, peace of mind, etc., have no material components and are only found in God and Christ Jesus. These are the true riches, indeed!

    • Kari Scare says:

      I’m with you Dave. It is wonderful to see this happening. And, as it happens to and around us, we get to more fully realize the excitement of spiritual abundance and riches that far exceeds anything else we can think or imagine! True riches found in Christ… nothing even comes close to matching that!

  8. the Old Adam says:

    Whether we have a lot…or a little.

    HE is our abundance!

  9. floyd says:

    Excellent post, Kari. I remember from childhood a part of that verse from Ecclesiastes, “Sweet is the sleep of a man that laboureth.” And yet I went about “wearing myself out to get rich.” The material things of this world are called “trappings” for a reason, they come to trap us, to own us, to enslave us… Freedom isn’t trust in mammon, that’s slavery. True freedom is only found in our Savior… I seriously could write a book about this. A good title could be “Chasing the Wind.” Awesome word, Kari. I’m not sure we can ever get enough reminders.

    • Kari Scare says:

      I think you SHOULD write a book on this, and I love the title. Freedom is only found in Jesus, and He wants us to rest often, to focus on what His will is, etc. He has the directives we are to follow, but we get distracted SO easily.

  10. Great post, Kari. We get focused on the wrong abundance so many times and our lives get wrapped up in things that don’t matter. Glad our Father pursues and invites us back over and over. I want His abundance for sure! Thanks.

    • Kari Scare says:

      Me too, Jason. His abundance brings peace and joy and rest. I want those abundantly for sure, and I know they only come through Him. I am learning that even in busyness I can be restful. How cool is that?!

  11. Mark Allman says:

    We should be striving to be rich in loving others; rich in serving others; rich in praying; rich in looking out for the ones that are hurt; rich in following Jesus.

    • Kari Scare says:

      Exactly right, Mark. And oh the abundance of joy that comes from that kind of wealth. Gets me excited!

  12. jeff says:

    A lot of people have trouble with defining wants and needs. Even more trouble with ego and image. Yes, developing countries have little income. Americans had little income when it was developing. In 1850 most Americans didn’t have $2.50 per day. they had what they raised, or cultivated or trapped or shot.
    They were farmers.
    I agree that material abundance is not happiness. But I also know some very wealthy people that also understand that.
    I do disagree with Dave in that “The greatest blessings, love, joy, peace of mind, etc., have no material components and are only found in God and Christ Jesus” This is nonsense. You don’t have to be Christian to know joy, love, and peace of mind. Many non-Christians of many faiths experience these things. Even us Diests.
    But I do very much agree with the general point that stuff doesn’t matter. That’s probably why I drive a 13 yr old pick up, don’t have a cell phone, and have no use for cable TV.

    • Kari Scare says:

      So true that people struggle defining wants and needs. Good point. Maybe people don’t take the time to do so and therefore there isn’t much of a difference for most anymore. Interesting point about developing countries and the comparison to the U.S. as it developed. Hadn’t considered that perspective. And I understand what you’re saying, I think, about non-Christians knowing peace of mind, joy & love. But I also know that any of that I’ve experienced outside of Christ pales in comparison to what I’ve received from Him. Stuff definitely doesn’t matter, and I am learning to lessen its grip on me. Thank you for bringing your unique perspective to the discussion.

  13. cycleguy says:

    I LOVE this blog of Kari’s and went to her website and read several more!! She speaks to me in so many ways and presents the truth with confidence. So much wisdom for someone so young. Sally