It’s a good thing that I looked in the cabinet this morning, checking on a key ingredient that I needed for my chicken dish that we’ll eat for tonight’s supper. I thought I had plenty but I didn’t, so I quickly added it to my short grocery list and was able to stop at the store later to pick it up. Being prepared is important!
This small episode fit perfectly with what I read this morning during my quiet time. I actually learned a new word…..a Greek word. Well, most Greek words are new to me, but this particular word made a huge impression on me. I hope it will do the same for you. The word?
Impressed yet? Hang on.
Pleroma was part of the ancient world’s shipping vocabulary. It has to do with being complete or being full. Here is what Raymond Brown says about pleroma in his book The Message of Nehemiah:
Pleroma….described the ship’s complement. Before leaving port the vessel was carefully checked to ensure that there was an adequate crew and that the cargo included sufficient food, drink, medical supplies, spare cloth to replace torn sails, ropes, in fact everything necessary for its journey. That was the ship’s complement or completeness.
A departing ship today, and especially in ancient times, definitely had to be careful to have all necessary supplies before sailing. No ship would leave for a journey until it was filled with supplies….filled with all it needed for the time on the open sea.
OK, so why was this word such a blessing to me today? And why do I pray that it’s a huge blessing to each of you reading this as well?
Because pleroma is the word that John uses in John 1:16. “For of His fullness (pleroma) we have all received, and grace upon grace.” Again, Raymond Brown says:
John’s Gospel began by assuring its Christian readers that, however great the pressures of life, all their needs would be met out of the abundant completeness and inexhaustible sufficiency of Christ.
You see, God doesn’t push His children out on life’s voyage without preparation. Just like a ship being loaded up in the dock before setting sail, so God loads us up with all that we need for the ride that is ahead of us. We don’t even know that He’s doing all that work on us most of the time. All the equipping and the completing comes as we live day by day, getting to know Him better through His Word and through the growth that comes with each new trusting time in our lives.
Then the waves come crashing in and the journey is long. The ocean is big and scary. Don’t think that when you’re slammed in the face with an unexpected trial, God didn’t know beforehand that it would come. He knew. He in His sovereignty ordained and allowed it. But not before He prepared you for it. God completed you, and is still completing you, with all that you need for the rough waters all around you.
Grace upon grace. Unmerited favor from God, over and over again.
Blessing upon blessing as we sail through the waters and as we experience God’s complete provision for all we need, before we even knew we needed it.
God prepared you, and me, for every single event in our lives before we needed it. And He then stacks grace upon grace as we live through the tough times…..blessing upon blessing…..growth upon growth.
God loves His children. He’s a good God. He would never leave us incomplete, lacking what we need.
He alone is really all we need.
So even when we don’t understand our situations….or don’t like them….or are hurting….afraid….turned upside down….
You are complete. You are filled. You are ready to sail!
Trust your Captain. He’s got your course all charted, and He’s got you more equipped than you realize.
Of His fullness we have all received.