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Christ is Enough
by Karen Burkhart
I’ve long enjoyed the process of reflecting on the closing year, evaluating where I’ve spent my time, talent, and treasures, and considering how, going forward, I might better live out Christ's Great Commission. Often, the Lord inspires me with ideas and plans that get my heart pumping and feet moving. This year, I confess, inspiration seems in short supply and my blood and my body are feeling a little sluggish. Staring down at me is the third year of raising teens in a pandemic, a potential health issue, aging parents, a mid-term election season, and a son about to leave home to pursue his dream to become a Fighter Pilot--just to name a few of the big worry-players. Maybe you can relate.
Today’s Bible reading is a good reminder to my spirit, and hopefully to yours as well, that God is faithful to take care of his creation—all of it—from the beast of the fields to the birds of the sky, to the dirt of the field, and to the apple of his eye. I hear in this passage echoes of the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount ringing out:
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:25-34
Today's Scripture also inspires me with the truth that God not only provides bread to sustain our physical bodies but also wine to make us glad and oil to make our faces shine. Gladness of heart is an obvious emotional benefit, but I had to reflect on the benefit of a shiny face, because in my experience, it only leads to blemishes. Apparently though, in ancient times, facial oil was used to preserve one's youthfulness and attractiveness to others. It would seem, then, that today's Scripture speaks not only to God's care and provision for us physically, but emotionally, and even relationally. This is a comfort to me. He doesn't want me to just clock-in each morning, He wants me to enjoy the life and relationships He's given. I think it goes even deeper though.
Divinely inspired references to bread, wine, and oil, point to God's unmistakable care and provision for us spiritually through Himself. You see, Jesus said, "I am the Bread of Life," and throughout Scripture, the Holy Spirit is symbolized as both Wine and Oil. Like bread to our bodies, Jesus sustains our lives. Like wine to our emotions, Jesus makes us glad (though He does not need to be "consumed" in moderation!). Like oil to our faces, Jesus makes us attractive to others as we bear fruit and reflect His life and glory. Living in this realm allows us to move past enjoying life, to really thriving, regardless of circumstances.
Let's live inspired and encouraged today knowing God has given us EVERYTHING we need to live the life He’s called us to live! Our blood and body may be feeling a little sluggish but we can draw on the presence and power of Jesus Christ today and every day. He is enough.
Lord, when I feel overwhelmed and ill-equipped, help me to remember that You have provided for me everything I need to live the life for which you created me. Forgive me for times I've relied on my own resources and failed to draw from Your life and power that is in me by Your Spirit. Inspire my thoughts and passions today so that they align with Your call to go and make disciples, whether that takes me across the hall, street, or wireless network. Amen.