January 7, 2010

To Live is Christ — means no worries, no wants

My father, who was a farmer, used to say, “I plant the seeds and God makes them grow.”

This working arrangement with God was an expression of simple faith, an attitude that is almost odd in a world that largely assumes prosperity is about personal effort and a bit of luck. However, the Bible says otherwise.

The Lord your God will make the labor of your hands abundantly successful and multiply your children, the offspring of your cattle, and the produce of your soil. For the Lord your God will once more rejoice over you to make you prosperous just as he rejoiced over your ancestors,  if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commandments and statutes that are written in this scroll of the law. But you must turn to him with your whole mind and being. (Deuteronomy 30:9–10, NET)
God does control the outcome of whatever His people put their efforts toward, yet there is a sense of human control in that our success hinges on our obedience. When I do what God tells me, then He will bless the work of my hands.

A simple example is in giving. When my husband first became a Christian, he heard about tithing and decided to give a portion of his income to the Lord. We didn’t have much at the time so this decision involved both faith and sacrifice. However, God is faithful. When we obey Him, He blesses us. Every time that my husband decided to give a bit more, soon after that he received a raise in pay at work. He didn’t base his giving on a desire for that outcome, but over the years we have seen the truth of: “You cannot out-give God.”

These verses are not a mini-manual on how to be prosperous though. They are about obedience. The concept of obedience connected to prosperity is repeated many times in the Bible. One passage comes to mind:

Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:25–34, italics mine)
By seeking God first, not riches, I am promised all that I need and then some. I need not worry about food or clothing or any other necessity of life. God knows what I need and tells me that worry is not only completely unnecessary, but it also reveals a lack of faith.

Besides, when I trust God for my needs, my mind is set free to focus on things that do require attention. I can be more creative, productive, and certainly better able to think about and tend to the needs of others.

My dad was thrifty in many things, but he had a big heart and would help others without any qualms. He didn’t talk about his faith as much as he lived it, and God blessed him and our family because of his simple obedience.

I’m a penny-pincher too, but I have also learned that when I do what the Lord says, and stop worrying, He takes care of me and I am never in want.


violet said...

Kingdom principles so often go against human intuition, don't they? Obedience, whether we understand or not, is so foundational!

darien said...

I am truly enjoying this series.

LC said...

Thanks for your comments. Part of the R&R of a holiday is also review and restore. I love having time to think more deeply --- and just inhale the wonder of the Lord and how He works! I want this to last forever...