If you haven’t noticed, there’s less elbow room in our services than there used to be. The extraordinary growth our community has experienced in the last 2-3 years is truly a great blessing. In this we see the kindness of the Lord in gathering together faithful saints for the hard work of reformation. But as with any blessing, if it is met with ingratitude or is received without evangelical faith, it will swiftly turn into a curse.
The quickest route to turning this blessing into a curse is to give way to the murmuring of envy. Envy can use the silliest & smallest things for kindling, and left alone can turn into an inferno. For example, getting outbid by a fellow brother in a bidding war over one of the ten houses for sale in Moscow; hearing that their kids got accepted to Logos, and yours didn’t; a fellow saint’s business succeeds, while your business struggles to stay out of the red; or your friends have all gotten married, while you remain single.
More humans, striving to live in community with each other, creates more potential for the bitter waters of envy to grow fetid. Living waters become bitter waters when we dam the stream with our grievances, envies, rivalries, bitternesses, and even our gripes about not finding parking.
The river of revival flows wherever the Lord pleases to guide its course. The ungodly response to this is to try to manage the revival, and object to how God is freely dispersing His grace to the saints. Your response to the outpouring of God’s kindness is to simply hold fast to the Gospel. Without deserving any of it, God, through Christ, has forgiven all your sins and shown you eternal kindness. Which puts the fact that someone sat in your row in the right perspective.
God has filled our hands with weighty blessings. Our community enjoys a peace not of our own making. Fruitful marriages, hundreds of knee-high saints, and daily bread in abundance. The Lord has bestowed gifts and graces upon each member of this body, and continues to bring more folks to fortify the work here in Moscow. And yet all of it can be inverted from a blessing to a curse if we covet our neighbor, let envy gnaw away at us, complain about the weather, the neighborhood, the successes of our brother, the circumstances we face, even the real estate market. May we not murmur like Israel did, complaining about their circumstances not days after being delivered by the mighty hand and outstretched arm of the Lord. If God is pleased to grant us contentment, we will continue to enjoy the undeserved blessings which He delights to pour out upon His children. True growth in godliness, whether individually or corporately, is to hear the sweet words of God’s forgiveness, and letting those words be enough.