Abundant Living: Replacing diets with abundance

by | Nov 24, 2019

I really don’t like diets. You would be amazed at how many diets I have been on. And most of my experiences proved successful. On the other hand, I’ve quit doing a lot of things that I knew were not good for me — lots of times. It’s time for another diet, but I believe God has a better idea in mind.

How about you? Have you ever tried losing weight, or eating healthier, by cutting out some of your favorite foods — the foods that you were having too much of? The problem that most of us have is that if we try giving up chocolate, then that’s all we can think about. Try to give up ice cream, and we suddenly notice that our favorite brands are on sale. Maybe next week.

As we come to the end of our current worship series, Food as medicine, we transition to our next worship series that begins December 8. Our current series has explored the importance of what we put into our bodies, why awareness is crucial, and practices from scripture that help us to be healthier.

It is essential not to confuse food as medicine with dieting since they are opposites. For food to be medicine is must be taken in and processed by our bodies. Dieting is the opposite. Dieting is more about not eating certain foods. Food as medicine focuses on abundance, while dieting focuses on scarcity. Food as medicine is about enjoying creation. Dieting is about avoiding creation.

Confused? To clarify my claims, I need to first talk about scarcity. When we talk about our neighborhood, it is hard not to think about scarcity. We seem to be lacking in so many things. It’s like we are on a grueling diet. There are not enough jobs, not enough safety, not enough money. You get the point. We all get the point.

Scarcity is what we feel when we are dieting, and we long for something we don’t have. A quick trip to the store can take care of our scarcity if we have enough money. A 2nd trip to refill our plate just to make sure that we leave a bit over-full. Why not two pieces of chicken rather than one? Why not three? Dieting replaces this sense of “I can have more,” with “no you can’t”. This is scarcity.

Abundance requires a lifestyle change that results in a new way of seeing the world

Abundance. Now we’re talking. Abundance knows that even if we don’t make that 2nd trip to the buffet, and if we take only one piece of chicken, we can get more the next time we are hungry. We don’t have to store it up just in case.

Abundance requires a lifestyle change that results in a new way of seeing the world. And our next worship series will focus on how this change is possible. And, beginning with the New Year, we are all invited to experience dramatic, lifestyle, transformation, during our first worship series of 2020. Stay tuned for more information.

I am the vine, and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit.
John 15:5

I need to be very clear on one fact of body biology that comes with how we were created. When we consume more calories than we utilize, our bodies store the unused calories for later. And some of this excess energy is stored in organs that negatively affect how well our bodies function. In other words, our health is adversely affected. A worship series or a new program cannot change this.

But if like me, you struggle with taking in more calories than your body needs, then you may be ready for a change. There is good news. We can all change. This is the power of the gospel, and the good news is for all of us. Life does not have to be steeped in scarcity. Our God is a God of abundance.

Perhaps you are one of those “lucky people,” well those of us who struggle with carrying too much weight, think that you are lucky. Maybe your struggle isn’t about consuming more calories than your body can burn. But are you the perfect example of good health? Likely not.

Food as medicine considers our spiritual well-being as well as our physical bodies. Holistic health affects the mind, body, and spirit. To be healthy is to be integrated and connected. This, my friends, is the language of abundance. This is what it means to live abundantly.

Living abundantly is not about multiple trips to the buffet, eating more chocolate than we should, or filling our plates until they overflow. To live abundantly is to be connected with Christ in such an intimate way that He is our constant companion. Jesus used the metaphor of a grapevine in explaining the importance of our connection to Him. When we are connected, we produce abundant fruit. This is the essence of abundant living.

And when we live abundantly, we no longer worry about, and seldom think about, getting our fair share, or more than we need. We focus more on how we can be fruitful in a world that is trapped by scarcity. We see the potential for beauty where others see only the results of violence. We live abundantly rather than in scarcity.

Speaking of opportunities for abundant living, auditions are underway for the musical Dusty 2.0. This delightful retelling of the story of Christmas through the eyes of Mary’s donkey will leave you laughing while reminding you that God is love. Put Christmas Eve at Asbury on your calendar. We start at 6 pm.

Here at Asbury, we worship each Sunday at 10:30 am, and I believe that God is calling you to join us. Come and participate in worship, not as a spectator, but as someone who belongs to God. I lead a short Bible study in the Asbury Café at 9:30 am. You can find more information about us on our website at FlintAsbury.org.

Pastor Tommy

A Community in Love with God, Each Other, and our Neighbors.