Portion. Share. Serving. Piece.
When we think about the word portion, we think about something allocated to us. It’s a part of a whole, divided among a few or many. And if you have kids, you know that a portion is often disputed.
“His piece of cake is bigger than mine!”
“Her chores are harder than mine!”
“My room is smaller than his is!”
Yes, we have trouble with portion sizes, even as kids. What makes us struggle like that? What makes us buck against our portion, whether the portion is a portion of finances, of food, of resources, or of work? Many things to be sure, but perhaps one of the things driving that resistance is our sense of entitlement. It’s the idea that we deserve more or deserve less, depending on what’s being portioning out. That in either case, the amount of our portion is somehow unfair.
This is at least part of what’s at the core of in Psalm 73. It’s a psalm of struggle; a song of complaint against the perceived unfairness of what the psalmist saw playing out before him. Asaph, the writer of the psalm, looked around him and saw that the wicked were prospering. There were not only no apparent consequences to their actions; in fact, it seemed as though their circumstances were continually improving. By contrast, he looked to the lives of the faithful and saw difficulty. Suffering. Hardship. And he could not reconcile the portion of each.
That was, until, he gained the kind of perspective that only comes when one comes into the presence of God. And having done that, Asaph had an eternal bent on his perspective, and that’s when we get the mighty declaration of the psalm:
Who do I have in heaven but you?
And I desire nothing on earth but you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart,
my portion forever (Psalm 73:25-26).
Here again is the portion. But this time, the psalmist is satisfied. Gone is the sense of entitlement and unfairness, and in its place is a grace-fueled contentment. It’s the knowledge that even if everything else in life fails, God never will. God is the psalmist portion, and in Christ, He is ours as well.
But like the psalmist, there are times in life when our feet almost slip. And like the psalmist, we need to be reminded that God is our portion. Here are two such times:
1. When we have little.
These are the moments when the craving for more bubbles up inside of us, fueled our belief in our own entitlement. It’s not only that we want more – more money, more power, more influence – it’s that we deserve more. When we feel that sense of unfairness, we need to be reminded that God is our portion.
When we know that God is our portion, we know that through the gospel, we not only have everything we need, we actually have everything:
Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ (Eph. 1:3).
God is not holding out on us; indeed, in Christ there is nothing left for Him to hold from us. He has given us everything in Him.
2. When we have much.
But the second time we need to be reminded that God is our portion is a bit more surprising. We need to know He is our portion when we have much.
When we have much, like when we have little, the temptation is for us to focus on our portion size. For us to love it too much. To trust in it. To find our joy and satisfaction in it. Here, too, our feet can slip – potentially even easier than when our earthly portion seems small.
When our portion is much, we no longer feel that we have need for God. We replace Him with lesser portions over and over again.
In either case – whether we have much or whether we have little – we must come back to the truth that God is our portion. That whether big or small, the earthly portions we have been allocated are all too vulnerable. But thank God for Jesus who has secured something better and longer lasting for us in Him. He has secured our portion is God:
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the mighty working of his strength (Eph. 1:18-19).