God said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I will show you.”… Isaac asked, “We have the burning coals and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God will provide a lamb for the burnt offering, Son.” [Genesis 22:2,7b-8 (GW)]
Many of the early Christians sold their property and voluntarily shared their wealth with the rest of the church community. After Ananias and Sapphira sold some land, they claimed to have given all the proceeds to the church. Perhaps they wanted to impress everyone with their largess. Yet, not trusting God’s provision once they’d given away their money, the couple retained some funds “just in case.” Their sin wasn’t in keeping their money; it was theirs to do with as they wished. Their sin was in lying to God about it and, as a result, they were struck dead.
Hannah desperately wanted a child. When she was blessed with a son, in thanks to God, she gave her precious child to the prophet Eli. She didn’t say to God, “I’ll give you my next child just in case this is my only one!” She trusted in His provision and was blessed with five more children. Peter stepped out of the boat to walk on water. Trusting Jesus, he didn’t put on a life jacket just in case the walking on water thing failed. In obedience to God, Joshua marched his army once around Jericho for seven days straight. Even though he was exhausting his troops with all that marching, Joshua didn’t keep back a few men to remain well rested just in case God’s victory promise didn’t pan out. When Elijah called him, Elisha didn’t store his plow and team just in case the prophet gig failed. He burned his plow and ate his oxen before faithfully following the prophet. Paul didn’t keep his tent shop open during the week and evangelize only on the weekends just in case he didn’t like preaching and Abraham didn’t bring an extra lamb along with Isaac just in case God didn’t provide.
I recently met a successful executive who is in the midst of negotiations for the sale of his business. He and his wife are committed to the completion of a building project at a local church and decided to anonymously donate a substantial sum to the church upon the completion of the sale. After prayer, however, they realized that by predicating their donation upon the sale they were holding back “just in case.” They have now made half of the promised donation trusting that God will provide in His time.
Few of us have a multi-million dollar business deal in the works, a child promised to God or an army to lead, but we all have our own plows to burn and water on which we’re called to walk. God often calls us to obediently step out in faith without His giving an explanation in advance or a guarantee of success. He will make everything clear and possible in the midst of our obedience, but not before we’ve taken that first unquestioning step. We must fully trust and commit to Him knowing that he will provide “just in case.”