You (Plural) Are Not Lacking

“You Are Not Lacking.” That was the title of the sermon I planned to preach on Sunday, January 19. But before I got to it, on Friday, January 17, the daughter-in-law of some beloved church members went on a walk near the church in the afternoon and never came home. The world has been looking frantically for Leanne Hecht Bearden ever since, and it suddenly seemed ludicrous to preach, “You are not lacking,” when a whole person we care about is missing.

The Apostle Paul was the one who said it first, not me. “You are not lacking any spiritual gift while you wait” (1 Corinthians 1:7) is the way he put it, and I wrestled with how any part of that statement could possibly be true for the people who experience emptiness and loss.

For instance, as a single person I deeply feel that I lack a family. I have love on reserve for a spouse and kids, and sometimes I feel this untapped resource like a physical burden. Occasionally when I am alone, I say out loud “I love you” to the air because the words are in me though they’ve nowhere to land and like a compulsion I bless the empty space.

I am a heavy user of mantras and my latest one is, “I do not have x, but I do have y.” I feel darkened by what is missing, so I pull in close what’s been found. I hold my cat: “I don’t have a partner, but I have you,” I say and squeeze his little body into mine. I gaze in wonder at my beautiful church: “I don’t have a family, but I have this.” I sit in my cozy home: “I don’t have much money, but I have a peaceful haven.” I take a walk in the park: “I don’t have answer to life’s dilemmas, but I have this,” I say, admiring the grass and hugging the sky.

The reality is that I do lack. So I acknowledge it. And my friends in pain lack—lack answers, lack peace of mind, lack the loved ones who’ve left, lack jobs, lack health. But somehow, we swim in abundance. I notice the Apostle Paul wrote that you plural do not lack, and I think perhaps this is key. As I preached on January 19, “when I am lacking faith, you hold out faith on my behalf. When you are lacking mercy, I will dish it out for you.” Read or listen to the sermon Here.

We lack answers. We lack Leanne. We lack. We lack. But by coming together, we discover abundance.

Now sometimes the person we most want to help us or hold us or heal us doesn’t show up, doesn’t come through. The people we most need disappoint. The ones we were counting on betray us or leave us or neglect us.

But other people do show up. Not perfectly. Not always on cue. But they do show. Together we create abundance. Together we have all the spiritual gifts. Together we make family and together we make church.

Abundance doesn’t mean you always get what you want. Abundance means there is enough for everybody and you won’t be turned away when the Grace gets doled out. Abundance means help is on its way, and you do not have to face this alone, and even in the darkest, emptiest hour, there are mercies. Abundance means you have something to give back. Abundance means death and evil never get the final say. Abundance means even when you wander the valley of shadows, goodness and mercy will trail you. Abundance means family; and let me just say, Honey, there’s a chair at the table with your name on it. Abundance means when you’re famished, either the skies will bring you manna, or you’ll open the front door to a casserole, but either way, there will be daily bread. Abundance means that though you cannot see past this day, today you will make it and tomorrow will have its own sustenance.

Abundance means this ripped up world is still sacred ground and now and again you will get to see that this is so. Abundance means love is like the coming of seasons and it will always spring forth in resurrection no matter how harsh the winter. Abundance means there is room for us all. Abundance means you get to choose life. Abundance means I have a pocket-sized piece of paradise I am being asked to share and so do you and together our tidbits will be like a pearl of great price. Abundance means you (we) are not lacking any spiritual gift as you (we) wait.

Kyndall Rae Rothaus is pastor of Covenant Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas. She graduated with her Master of Divinity from George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor, and while in seminary she served as a resident chaplain at Brooks Residential College. She has also served as a pastoral associate at DaySpring Baptist Church in Waco and an interim pastor at First United Church in West, Texas. She blogs Here and her sermons can be read or listened to Here.

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Comments

  1. Susana (from Sun Poets) says:

    Thanks, Kyndall. I needed to read those words. I feel abundant.

  2. I just wanted to say this is one of my favorite things you have written. I am deeply sorry for some of the things that inspired it though. In any case, thank you for speaking words of comfort and honesty into peoples’ lives.