Have you ever been to a surprise party? Or better yet, have you ever been the recipient of one? They’re a combination of shock and joy. Stick around, there’s a surprise in store that you don’t want to miss.
There’s going to be a surprise party! And you’re invited. Naturally, before the party starts there’s going to be lots of preparation; but even THAT is going to be more fun than you’d expect. Yup, there’s going to be a surprise party! And you’re invited – because the party is for you.
Here’s the first surprise – Even though the party is for you, you get to participate in the preparation. And you STILL won’t have a clue when the party is going to start. I know that’s hard to comprehend, but it’s true. So here’s the thing you want to keep in mind – get ready for the party, be ready for the party. In fact, STAY ready for the party. I know this is sounding very confusing. I’m being deliberately cagey; but after all, we ARE talking about a surprise party, right?
Here’s the second surprise, although you may have guessed it – GOD is the one who is throwing this party, and He’s planning all the details. He’s orchestrating everything, and He’s footing the bill.
Today’s verse will set the stage for His preparations. It says NOW TO HIM WHO IS ABLE TO DO EXCEEDINGLY ABUNDANTLY ABOVE ALL THAT WE ASK OR THINK ACCORDING TO THE POWER THAT WORKS IN US
If you’re a regular here then you’re aware that I’ve just spent a dozen days helping folks that were victims of Hurricane Ian, a massive Category 4 hurricane that slammed into southwest Florida and caused massive damage. So let’s pretend for a minute that you lived right in the worst hit spot of Fort Myers. Imagine that you’re standing beside what was once your house next to a car that was flooded, flipped and crushed almost beyond recognition. As close as you can figure there’s $500,000 worth of damage and no insurance. A hopeless mess.
Then I show up and introduce you to someone who pulls out his checkbook and writes you a check for a million dollars. Surprise!! He says, “This is all for you, to cover all the damages and provide for future needs. You don’t have to do anything but reach out and take it, and it’s yours.” As you take the money in amazement you discover that he’s not done. The man says, “There’s plenty more where that came from. Let’s stay in touch. Just let me know what you need and I’ll cover it.” Super Surprise!! You’d be grateful beyond measure. All the mess of the storm would be seen in a very different light. That which appeared to be horrible has been turned around completely. Why you might even look over at your house and laugh!
What you WOULDN’T do is brag about the power and skill and brains you had to reach out and take the check. Of course not! You received grace – pure and simple. You got an incredible gift that you didn’t deserve and it was provided only on the basis of someone else’s generosity. Your present position is a hundred percent due to your benefactor and zero percent due to you.
Then he lets you know that he’s STILL not done and says, “Do you have any friends or family that were impacted by the storm? As I said, I’ve got plenty and I’m here to give it to folks who need help.” Triple Surprise !!! Can you imagine NOT wanting to tell your brother and sister who live one street over or your best friends who live a couple houses down from yours? You’ve just been given a gift so amazing — and you’ve got the chance to share it with others. How could you NOT tell them?? What about the neighbor who moved in across the street last week? You don’t even know their name, but there they stand looking at the pile of rubble that used to be all they owned. Wouldn’t you shout out, “Hey, there’s someone here I want you to meet!” as you walked the man with the checkbook across the street? Is there ANYONE in the mess of the hurricane you would not tell?
And if your neighbor said, “This isn’t a good time to talk, I’ve got a big mess on my hands to deal with,” would you just walk away? Or would you insist and say, “No, no, no – THIS is someone you need to meet NOW!” You’d insist, because you know what your neighbor doesn’t. You know that HE’S NOT DONE! Surprise !!!
You see, God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. I’m not talking about a God who meets all our DEMANDS or our every DESIRE. The gospel is not the key to ultimate prosperity, luxury private jets and vacation homes. The gospel is Jesus Christ working out the plan that He has for your life. It is Him directing you into good works He prepared in advance for you to walk in, and providing everything you need along the way to do them. God will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. The blessings He brings are not yours to hoard, they are yours to give!
The greatness of His power toward us who believe, the working of His great might, is immeasurable.
But all of this giving and living is just the preparation. One day the Lord will tap you on the shoulder and say, “SURPRISE! It’s time to come home.” And THAT’S when the real party begins – because He’s STILL not done.