March 29, 2017

Deuteronomy 2:9 Then the Lord said to me, “Do not harass the Moabites or provoke them to war, for I will not give you any part of their land. I have given Ar to the descendants of Lot as a possession.”

When we think about God’s provision it’s important to remember that He gives things to other people too. God’s promises to the descendants of Abraham didn’t negate His promises to the descendants of Lot. It’s no accident that “Do not covet” is one of the 10 Commandments. (Exodus 20:17) We have a bad tendency to be dissatisfied with what we have been given and want what someone else has. Wanting better for ourselves isn’t necessarily bad, but wanting to take it from someone else is. This is a major issue in the world today. Too many people are so envious of what others have that they want to take it by force, or else destroy it so that the other person can’t have it either. That description should make it very clear where all of this comes from. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10) The “thief” that Jesus was talking about is of course the devil. Ambition, in the sense of wanting better than the present situation, is a powerful force for progress in the world, and always has been. However, when that ambition is twisted to wanting to put others down, to be lower than you, it is a tool of the devil. Class warfare is very much a work of the devil. Someone like Ben Carson can leap over class barriers by hard work and faithful stewardship of the gifts and abilities they’ve been given, but complaining that your own situation is someone else’ fault and everything is supposed to be handed to you is straight from the pit of hell. The first thing each of us needs to do is take grateful inventory. People in advanced countries, and America in particular, have an incredible level of convenience and luxury, compared not only to people in less developed countries but also to anyone at all just a few generations ago. We need to recognize the blessings we have without being resentful of someone who seems to have more. “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” is all too true, and it is indeed an illusion.

Some people look at me and say I have no standing to talk on this issue, because I have been so blessed. I have indeed been blessed abundantly, but not necessarily financially. My needs have been met, but my income has never met the threshold above which social psychologists say that satisfaction with life is not increased. I don’t pay much in taxes because I don’t have that much income! By God’s grace that hasn’t bothered me very much, but I can’t say I haven’t had unworthy feelings toward those who had more “successful” churches or ministries. That too is a trap of the devil. I need to apply myself fully to the tasks the Lord sets for me, allowing His strength and wisdom to operate through me, without worrying about how He might be using someone else. God didn’t give me their church or their ministry, just as He didn’t give Lot’s territory to Abraham. I am to work for the best possible stewardship of what He has given me, and return to Him the thanks and praise that He deserves.

Father thank You for Your abundant blessings. My marriage is the envy of many! Thank You for meeting my needs, and far more. Help me keep my eyes on the prize and indeed run with patience the race that is set before me, (Philippians 3:14, Hebrews 12:1) not worrying about the course You have laid out for someone else, so that all of Your plans may be fulfilled 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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