March 2, 2017

Exodus 16:17-18 The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. And when they measured it by the omer, he who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little. Each one gathered as much as he needed.

God’s supply is always sufficient, but we have to cooperate in receiving it. Manna is perhaps the most famous example of God’s divine provision, but the people still had to gather it up. “God helps those who help themselves” is not in the Bible, but it is true that we are not to feel entitled and take God for granted. We aren’t to feel that it all depends on us, because every bit of power and ability we have is a gift from God. However, He gives us those things expecting us to use them. Faith is a delicate balance at times, recognizing that we can do nothing apart from God (John 15:5) but that we are to be active participants in what He is doing. (Colossians 1:29) Jesus’ parable of the talents is justly famous. (Matthew 25:14-30) The money was the master’s to begin with, but each servant was held accountable for what they did with it. He provided it, they were to use it to get more. Likewise, the manna didn’t appear in people’s tents; they had to go out and gather it. Even things that might seem to an observer to be entirely the result of our own efforts have their origin in God. Deu­teronomy 8:17-18 is very clear about this. “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.” We are to be hard workers, but at the same time recognize that it all comes from God.

This is as much a struggle for me as it is for anyone. I have had times of conceit, forgetting that my abilities come from God, and I have had times of despair, seeing only that I couldn’t meet a need on my own. Both are so foolish! I am to be active in seeking to hear God and obey Him, but never think for a moment that I can do anything just on my own. I can’t even take a single breath apart from His grace. However, that doesn’t mean I’m to stop breathing! I am to seek to recognize what He has for me to do each day, each moment, and apply myself to be faithfully obedient. As has been said, where God guides, He provides. As Jesus said, I am to focus on His kingdom and His righteousness, and know that every need will be met. (Matthew 6:33)

Father, thank You for this reminder. I do still struggle with this, accusing myself at times of laziness, yet at the same time being painfully aware that when I attempt something on my own it’s guaranteed to fall flat. Help me hear accurately what You tell me to do and be fully committed and faithful to follow through, not in my strength but in Yours, so that Your will may be done through me for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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