“A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched.” (ESV)
I’ve been depriving myself of things. Think of them as mini-fasts. They’re little chunks of time when I go without something. Usually it’s food, but it could be other things too, like spending extra money.
It’s not because I’m incredibly holy. In fact, it’s kind of hard to explain. So let me tell you a story to show you my rationale.
In the late 1700’s smallpox loomed over Europe. It was terrible. 80% of the children who got it died. Eighty percent!
But a doctor named Edward Jenner had a “crazy” idea. He had heard some English folk tales which spoke of milkmaids who didn’t catch smallpox if they had already been ill with cowpox—a weaker version of a similar sickness carried by cows.
So here’s what Jenner did. He exposed healthy people to cowpox boils… intentionally! And do you know what happened? Those people got sick from cowpox… but they DIDN’T catch smallpox. Lives were saved.
So Jenner invented a new word: vaccine, based on vacca, the Latin word for cow. The rest is history.
To me, one of the things we learn from Jenner’s story is that you sometimes have to engage in short-term pain for long-term gain.
That’s what mini-fasts are all about. When you intentionally go without something good (like food) even for a day, you remember how good food is! You also practice self-control, learn to depend on God for your strength, and stop taking all the amazing things in your life for granted.
Look around you. Your life probably has more abundance than you know what to do with.
If you are looking for the next best step in your spiritual growth, and if you want to draw closer to the Author of all goodness and learn to lean on him a little more, why not vaccinate yourself against a culture of More?
Sometimes you have to engage in short-term pain for some long-term gain.
By Matthew Ruttan