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God's Gracious Abundance

By Pastor Casey Higgins

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." Malachi 3:10
As we contemplate the goodness of God and his blessings to us at this time of year, I am reminded of a story that a friend shared with me about an experience that happened to him in Alaska.
    Ralph was operating a small fishing boat with two of his sons plus another young man, off the coast of Alaska. They were just starting out their fishing business and were in need of a good haul of fish. This particular day they strung out the three nets, each of them 300 feet in length and were pleased when they started filling with fish. As the day progressed and the fishing proved good, other boats soon came and were fishing around them. Meanwhile a wind came up and the waves began to rise in size. First just two foot swells, then three feet and finally growing to four or more feet in height, they broke across the bow of the boat in increasing size and intensity.
    Ralph took a quick assessment of the situation. The boat was settling deeper in the water as the holds filled with the catch of fish. Meanwhile the waves increasing in height were threatening to flood the ship and cause it to flounder or sink. They were bringing in the first of three nets and there wasn't enough room in the holds for the rest of the fish in the nets. If they continued to take on more weight in fish with the heightened waves, their outcome would be fatal. He radioed his fellow fishing boats to see if any of them could take the nets and the remaining fish into their boats, but they were all reaching their safe capacity as well. He might cut the line to the nets and leave them, but that would mean a big loss in equipment.
    He went back onto the deck where the fellows were working and made a proposition with them. They could donate the proceeds of the rest of the catch to God in exchange for his protection and care in this emergency. They all agreed. Then they continued to bring in the nets and take on the fish. The holds were full so they started dumping the fish unto the deck. Soon the men were wallowing in fish nearly waist deep.
    Meanwhile the boat kept settling deeper in the water. But the wind died down and the waves settled, so that in direct relation to the settling of the boat, the ocean calmed till there was scarcely a wave. Then, with all the nets and fish aboard, Ralph carefully guided to boat to the waiting cannery vessel.
When the man who operated the lift for unloading the fishing boats saw their boat and the load of fish in it, he stated that he'd never seen a boat loaded so full before. Indeed, in Ralph's 12,000-pound boat were about 17,000 pounds of fish.
    And the first thing Ralph did was to give a check to a local church camp that was in need of funds for their program.
    When we ask God for his blessings, he never gives to us in small amounts. His grace is abundant and lovingly free. Which is why He invites us to give back to Him and to watch how He keeps returning His blessings and favors to us.