October 21, Saturday

The AMI QT Devotionals from October 16-22 are provided by Pastor Shan Gian, who serves as the Fenway site pastor of Symphony Church in Boston. Shan, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania and Gordon Conwell Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Jenny; and they are the proud parents of their first baby Tyler.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Countering the Disease of More”

Genesis 14:17-20

After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) 19 And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Hall of Fame basketball coach Pat Riley talked about what he called “the disease of more.” He proposed that “success is often the first step towards disaster,” because once people ( a sports team especially) have experienced success, they start thinking selfishly and catching the disease of more—wanting more money, more playing time, more benefits, more recognition, etc. This is why sports dynasties are hard to come by because teams can so easily be infected by the disease of more and start clamoring for more.

If we think about how much success and wealth we have in our society, it’s pretty clear that we suffer from a severe case of the disease of more. Everyone is striving for more income, more social status, more affirmation, more recognition, etc. If we can be honest with ourselves, we can probably see disease of more in our own hearts. Especially when we experience success and achievement, we are rarely content but only have a craving for more.

Abram was a prime patient for the disease of more in Genesis 14. He had just achieved great victory, handily defeating his overwhelming numerous enemies with great courage and tact. At this point, he should have been basking in the glow of such great success. But thankfully, Abram did not succumb to the disease of more. Instead, he encountered this mysterious man named Melchizedek, a priest of God, who we meet only this one time in the Bible. Regardless of who he is, Melchizedek came to Abram in the afterglow of his victories, blessed him, and told him that God himself—the possessor or creator of heaven and earth—is the one who had delivered him, bringing him victory. We’re not told of any conversation between Abram and Melchizedek, but what we do see is that Abram proceeded to give Melchizedek a tenth of everything.

Abram didn’t fall prey to the disease of more because he knew where his success came from. He knew that neither his victory over the kings nor his wealth was because of himself, but it was all from God Most High. Abram knew he was blessed by the grace of God. Because of this, he doesn’t succumb to the disease of more, but instead, he willingly gave away a tenth of everything as a tithe.

How can we cure the disease of more within ourselves? By acknowledging the true source of success and victory. When we experience success and victory, we are tempted to credit ourselves, but instead, we must fight to know the truth and credit God alone. For people who are infected with the disease of more, the idea of tithing is preposterous, but for those who know where their success comes from, giving away a tenth of everything is easy, because they know it’s not theirs to keep anyways. Let us seek healing from the disease of more and give God the credit and the glory!

Prayer: Jesus, I thank You for all that You have given me, and I pray that I will not give credit to myself, but always give You the glory. You are the giver of every good and perfect gift, and You deserve all of the credit and glory. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Acts 12-13

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