Monday, April 14, 2008

All that I need

When I turned on my computer this morning, a notice popped up that a new version is available of one of my favorite software suites. I’ve used this particular program since version one and now they offer version X4 (or 14). After reviewing the features and noticing that early orders qualify for a bonus plus free shipping, I ordered it.

Then I sat here with a thankful heart. I’m thankful that I can easily order online this software that is such a helpful tool to some of the work that I do. I’m thankful for enough income that I didn’t hesitate over whether I could afford it. I’m also thankful that upgrading over the years makes the learning curve not nearly so steep as it would be if I started with version 14, and I’m thankful that I know how to use a computer in the first place.

God is good to His people. Not everyone is in the same income bracket. Not everyone needs or uses the same things. Not everyone needs or uses a computer or cares about new software, yet because God loves His people, and because we have Jesus Christ, we have everything that we need, whoever we are.

Today’s reading in Ears from Harvested Sheaves is about God’s provision. The verse mentioned comes from a larger passage that shows the realities of living for Christ. Just because God supplies all that we need does not mean a cushy life, yet no matter the challenges and difficulties, He is with us. He gives His people both inner strength and the outer resources. This is how the Apostle Paul describes the wonder of God’s care in a life filled with negative and positive elements:
But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things (2 Corinthians 6:4-10).
Probable because I’d never been put in jail or persecuted, I used to think that these verses described experiences in Christian service only. I separated ministry from my daily life which is mostly about taking care of my home and family. However, I now realize that there is no distinction. I serve God whatever I am doing, and God supplies all my needs, whether I am involved in church work, editing a book, designing a brochure, planning a Bible study lesson, or cleaning sinks.

The devotional today says, “We shall have in providence things sufficient to carry us to the grave. He will give us everything that is for our good, and keep back nothing that is for our benefit. If we possess Him, what have we not in Him?”

The author also contrasts that with others who do not have Christ. For them, “when death comes . . . (they have) nothing to look to but the anger of God, and a fearful judgment.” On the other hand, God assures me over and over that when death comes to me, I can look for “a crown of life, a mansion in the skies, a smiling God, and a blessed assurance that I shall sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

As rich as it is, His provision for this life is only a small taste of that which is to come. Even if I had nothing now, certainly nothing can go into eternity with me. Yet in Christ I possess all things. What more could I want? Or need? Or could God possibly give me than what I have because of Jesus?

For this, I give thanks!

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