This year—2020—is a good time to talk about vision, pun intended. If we can’t see clearly during this year of chaos, maybe we need to refocus.
Pandemic, hardship, job loss, economic chaos—many feel they have been sideswiped this year. Could all this devastation have purpose?
Life is not always the way it appears.
Last night, at about 1:30 a.m. I fell out of bed. This doesn’t happen to me often, but admittedly I have experienced those times when I catch myself falling in a nightmare or avoiding that sensation on the edge of the bed when a dream becomes reality. It wasn’t anything like that. I was lying in bed and the next moment I was on the floor. I guess I made a thump, because it woke up my wife, and she asked me what happened as I was crawling back in bed. I don’t know. I was sleeping when it happened.
Then a giggling episode ensued. I am not sure what was so hilarious, but at the time something tickled our funny bones. My wife was laughing to tears and could barely catch her breath. Her reaction surprised me so that I began chuckling as well. We laughed and laughed for ten minutes straight. Weird. I know. Seriously, I never planned or prepared for it. It just happened.
So you might be wondering what that has to do with you and why I would share such a silly incident on this website. That’s what I was hoping you would ask, but I have another story before I answer you.
I have actually been waiting to write about this for months, and the time seems right. A friend and I were talking about our missions. He went to Cambodia. I served in Finland. Though very different, these countries have something in common. At least at the time of our missions many years ago, their standards of living were disparate, yet neither equated with the wealth we enjoy in the United States. Our worst day may have been beyond their wildest dreams — and we still enjoy so much wealth here. You don’t see it? That is exactly why I am bringing this up. We have such a bounty in this country that we are somewhat blind to it. I could share many cases, but I will use one example to demonstrate: Tithing. We are promised that if we pay our tithes, we will receive blessings from heaven. Malachi says it this way:
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.
And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.
So many of us read these lines and think “I am going to pay my tithing and see if the Lord keeps His promise by blessing us that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” I do it too, but stop and take a look. In many instances, our homes and yards are castles compared to the rest of the world. Our economy and abundance is nearly beyond comprehension. I was shopping with my wife today: baskets full of goods filled the aisles. Meat, frozen foods, fruits and vegetables, and everything you could imagine packed the chock-full shelves, and pallets lined the floors with more to be stocked shortly. The checkout lines were long and filled with people and heaping baskets and carts of goods. Just look around you — abundance fills our shelves from floor to ceiling! Yet this is just the beginning: family, wholesome activities, schools, universities, paved roads, cities, parks, bounty, and prosperity crowd neighborhoods and fill our lives. With the coronavirus pandemic, we are seeing a change in our freedom to assemble and participate in certain activities, but even then our situation is much better than the typical status of many places throughout the world.
What comes to my mind is the fulfillment of the promise that we have been so blessed for so long that we truly have “not [had] room enough to receive” the abundance provided us. Recognizing and appreciating the bounty that we have been given especially in the midst of hardship is empowering.
Now if you are wondering where your next meal is going to come from or where you are going to live after the eviction from your house or apartment, remember that you are not alone, and we welcome you to our homes and church meetings so that we can help you in the midst of troubles.
I think that is what Jesus Christ meant when He taught the following to share our bounty:
And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
to him that asketh thee, and from him that would of thee turn not thou away.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shaltthy , and hate thine enemy.
But I say unto you,your , them that you, do to them that you, and for them which despitefully use you, and you;
Read the whole chapter. I have provided above only a small excerpt. Jesus Christ spent his life serving all men, especially the poor and needy. He set an example for us so that we could follow Him, bringing joy and fulfillment into our own lives as well.
Many refused to follow Him. Others did not believe Him. Still other persecuted, whipped, and crucified the Son of God. Yet Christ loved them all, suffered for their sins, and gave His life for them, so that they could repent and return to be with Him—us too.
But there were a relatively faithful few that followed Him and tried to further His gospel.
He is waiting for you to show faith in Him so that He can work a miracle in your life, particularly in the midst of this global chaos.
What are you going to do?
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.