In early March I attended the Abundance Conference hosted by LifeWay. I worked the hospitality table and loved getting to see a little behind the scenes. The great part was that we had floor seats about 10 rows back! Lisa Harper, Annie Downes, Lysa Terkeurst, Curtis Jones and Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams from She Reads Truth came together to pour truth over us that weekend. I thought I’d highlight what I learned and how I’m processing things over several Mondays.
Annie Downs opened the evening. I’d heard here speak a few weeks prior and I was absolutely thrilled to hear her again. Annie pointed out that “having a full life doesn’t mean you have an abundant life”.
Acts 16:13-15 13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.
Annie pointed out that Lydia had a very full life. She had friends, a job, a house and yet when Paul spoke her heart instantly respond. She was a believer in God, knew she needed Jesus too.
Lydia was then contrasted with Anna in Luke 2:33-39
“33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[e]She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.”
So Anna was a widowed after 7 years and likely had very little possessions. She was elderly and it is said she never left the temple worshipping day and night. When Joseph and Mary brought the infant Jesus to be blessed at the temple Anna immediately recognized him as the Savior.
Anna was living an abundant life. Things were in focus for her. She had a strongly developed attention that allowed her ear to hear from God and her eyes to see Him clearly.
When I consider my current life status I have to admit Lydia’s story matches mine more that Anna. I absolutely hunger to have developed instincts like Anna, but unlike her, I’m not putting in the consistent time to develop that relationship.