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The Purpose of Excess

Honestly, I don’t know why I have more food than I can or should eat. I don’t know why my house is big and comfortable. I don’t know why I have the means to pile up way more stuff than is moral. I don’t deserve it more than anyone else.

How do I make sense of the fact that I met people in Kenya who live in houses made of mud and animal poop? How does my daughter reconcile the fact that her family has food and clothes and house coming out of our ears when some of her second grade classmates don’t enjoy that sufficiency? My only hope to help her understand such inequity is to teach her the opportunity it affords us to attempt to balance the scales by living generously. In no way do I feel like we should feel guilty for our blessings. But I definitely think we should feel responsible for them. We should be grateful in a way that leads us to share generously.

The Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 15, “Give generously to [your needy brother] and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.”

Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians, “you will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion…”

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