This summer much of our country has been short on rain. Virtually every living thing needs water, and without it, shrivel-and-die is right around the corner.
My daughters and I have been attending a Bible study this summer and have learned up-close what drought looks like, not because of anything Scripture taught us but because of a Bible study friend. Marcia is the wife of a farmer who grows corn and soybeans. Several weeks ago, when we asked how her fields were coping, she shook her head and gave a dismal report. So that evening at the end of Bible study, we prayed for rain.
The next week, after months of drought, rain finally came! We all rejoiced with Marcia, asking if her husband thought their crops would make it. “Time will tell,” she said.
The week after that it rained again… and again! Marcia came to our study with a happy report. “The crops are doing better!” she said, and we excitedly thanked God. Our leader initiated a prayer time that evening by saying, “Let’s continue to pray for rain for Marcia, abundant rain!”
But Marcia interrupted. “How about just adequate rain.”
None of us want too much of a good thing… or do we?
History records that John D. Rockefeller was the richest American who ever lived, richer than Bill Gates, Sam Walton, or Warren Buffet in dollars adjusted for today. Guesstimates set his net worth at $663.4 billion.
The wealthy Mr. Rockefeller was asked, “How much money is enough?”
Without hesitating he said, “A little bit more.”
And that’s how most of us think. If some is good, more must be better. Of course Marcia would shake her head at that. Flooded soil can ruin crops just as effectively as dry. All of us understand the principle, but that doesn’t stop us from making wish lists of things we want more of, tangible and intangible, possible and impossible. Most of what’s on our lists are first-rate items, but sometimes a good thing (like nourishing rain) can morph into something bad (like ruined crops).
- Taking on a healthy hobby that ends up robbing time from our loved ones.
- Buying a bigger home that moves us into financial imbalance.
- Indulging in one passion when God had a different one in mind for us.
- Spending more and more time “producing” at work but feeling less and less fulfilled.
So how do we avoid going too far? Scripture gives us a key sentence that can be our check-and-balance system: “Thy will be done.” This should be our recurring prayer, and if God puts his stamp of approval on pursuing more of what’s on our wish lists, then we’re free to do so.
Marcia had the right idea. Pray for what’s adequate, and that will always turn out best.
“I (Paul) ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make… your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do.” (Ephesians 1:17-18)