That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? [Matthew 6:25a,27 (NLT)]
Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith. [Henry Ward Beecher]
While I’ve been challenged by a scarcity of things like patience, endurance, and wisdom, I confess to never facing a bare cupboard, empty refrigerator, unfilled closet, or depleted bank account and never wondering where I would sleep at night or how I would feed or clothe my children. It’s not that difficult to trust God for His daily provision when we already have more than enough. Trusting Him when the cupboard is bare (or nearly so) is an entirely different story and a new experience for me. It’s not that I’m facing bankruptcy or foreclosure but that my supply of devotions is rapidly diminishing. It seems like I’m publishing faster than I can write and I can’t seem to get ahead. Watching my stockpile diminish, I envision blog bankruptcy and worry threatens my faith in God’s provision.
When God provided manna to the hungry Israelites, they were told to gather just what was sufficient for that day. More than enough was only permitted on the sixth day when a double portion could be gathered which allowed the seventh, the Sabbath, to be a day of rest. Had I been an Israelite, however, I’m the sort who would have tried to accumulate some extra manna rather than trust God to provide enough for the following day. Since any stored manna became worm infested and spoiled, that ploy didn’t work well for the Israelites and squirreling away devotions “for a rainy day” doesn’t seem to be working for me! No matter how hard I work, I only manage to replace the five devotions I’ve posted each week.
While I want more than enough, God really isn’t interested in what I want. He’s doing that character building thing again and showing me that “just enough” is all I need. Each morning I must trust God to provide me with inspiration, words, and time enough for that day’s work. Nevertheless, proceeding without having a drafts folder jam-packed with several weeks of devotions feels a bit like feeding a multitude with a few loaves and fishes. But, remembering that there were twelve baskets of left-overs after everyone ate, I will step out in faith and trust that, if it’s in His plan, my basket will be filled.
It’s a mistake, however, to think that God’s promise of provision frees us from an obligation to do our part. God may have provided the manna but the Israelites had to do the gathering and new devotions will not appear in my drafts folder each evening unless I’ve done the writing during the day. If we want to achieve anything of significance in life, we must expect to do the work required. While Scripture tells us to trust God for tomorrow, it also tells us to use our time and resources wisely.
Pray as if everything depended on God and work as if everything depended on you. [Attributed to St. Ignatius Loyola]