“And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.” (Acts 11:28)
Great dearth throughout the world…
Bring on the locusts
Strangely enough, Agabus’s name, originally from the Hebrew, means “locust”. I suppose he’d be the right man for the job. While I have wondered from where certain and specific funds might come, I will say I haven’t experienced gnawing poverty or a “dearth” of stuff–to where I feel helpless and hopeless. And life is good, don’t get me wrong. One of the benefits you acquire by learning to “barely scrape by” would have to be, if you’re inclined to keep living that is, a minimalist mindset where traveling light is not just the order of the day but a way of life. I mean, it would seem John the Baptist got the best of both when he was out in the wilderness and his “meat was locusts and wild honey.” Delicious and delicious. How about “honey slathered locusts”? It actually sounds like it could be a delicacy somewhere in the world.
“And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey” (Matthew 3:4)
I don’t really have much to say regarding the current state of farming or agri-business or what have you. And I’m not sure I’m qualified to opine on poverty or homelessness or anything tangentially related to “locusts and famine”. At least not physically. I can certainly share my thoughts though on the “great dearth” of, what I would consider to be, love and compassion and any of the garden-variety fruits of the spirit that Christians are supposed to have coming out their ears and flowing from their hearts like “rivers of living water” (John 7:38). Because when church feels like the desert and you’re no more satisfied upon leaving than when you came, what good is the building?
“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matthew 24:13)
Beer and wine, milk and honey
Real quick, there’s this brewery/restaurant one town over from me featuring a seasonal beer called “Milk and Honey”. It’s delicious. And, to me, the connotation works. It’s mellow and sweet and it also tastes like beer, I should add. And so, after that brief digression, technically, the verb “wax” means to acquire or grow. A “waxing” moon is when it grows from a sliver to full. In this case, it might be said that we…acquire that for which we really have no need and then grow cold as a result…? What do you think? I would couple the warning of Jesus in the above verse with this one: “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” (Luke 21:34) Admittedly, the proof-text and mixing of scriptural elements and prophecy can be a dangerous gambit and potentially a powerless one. But I’m writing heuristically here. “And I think also that I have the Spirit of God.” (1 Corinthians 7:40)
The point I’m getting at is this: be careful. It is so, so easy to neglect the Giver for distraction with the gifts. God is so, so extravagant and bounteous and plentiful (like a cornucopia) with all you’d need and all you’d want and all you’d require. But think on the things that feed your spirit, as opposed to just that which maintains the body or the mind to the neglect of that which is more important. Thanks Agabus, baby. God bless you.
“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” (Isaiah 55:1-3)
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just , whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)