“And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things…your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.” – Luke 12:29-30
Sigh…if only it were that easy. For many of us however, we see ourselves as exceptions to that – we deserve to worry, don’t we?! After all, we’ve just been fired from our low-paying job, the rent hasn’t been paid yet, there is no food at the fridge, and our money is only enough for this week’s groceries. How can we not worry?
“Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds!” – Luke 12:24
But we’re not like birds, are we? We need gasoline for our cars, gas for the kitchen, insurance for our health, mortgage payments for the house, tuition for the kids, and a little extra money just in case something else goes wrong!
“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?” – Luke 12:25-26
Well, yeah. You’ve got a point in there. Worrying does lead us nowhere. But what else can we do?
Good question, isn’t it? What ELSE can we do? Well, it seems God has given us a lot of options in there. We can do ANYTHING we can do to help solve the situation EXCEPT to WORRY!
That’s right. No one ever said we should do nothing. After all, we’re not like birds, are we? We have a far more advanced mind that can think deeper and wider, that can explore various solutions available for us. That’s the more practical thing we SHOULD be doing.
“But what if we couldn’t think of any solution?” we ask. Well then, if we can’t think of any, why worry? Worry isn’t ever going to be a part of the solution anyways. But trust can. Faith can. Resting in God’s wisdom and providence can. And I believe that’s the point Jesus wanted to make. Let us try to do everything within our powers, and then leave the rest to God, a Higher Power that can definitely see us through!
But then we continue to ask, “We’ve only got enough for a week’s budget, or for a few days’ food. What if no help arrives after that?”
God undestands our fears, and He knows that many times, we mistake those fears for a real need. What’s the difference anyways? A fear is something that may or may not happen. A need is something we have to address at the very moment where we are. So you’ve got a budget for a week’s groceries. That means God has given you the means to survive today and for the rest of the week as well. What’s bothering you is not that your current need could not be met, but a future need, a fear that may or may not come into reality.
Let’s take a look at the story of ELIJAH:
Now Elijah, who was from Tishbe in Gilead, told King Ahab, “As surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives—the God I serve—there will be no dew or rain during the next few years until I give the word!”
Then the Lord said to Elijah, “Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River. Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.”
So Elijah did as the Lord told him and camped beside Kerith Brook, east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he drank from the brook. But after a while the brook dried up, for there was no rainfall anywhere in the land.
Then the Lord said to Elijah, “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”
1 Kings 17:1-8
Since there was to be no rain for the next few years, God provided for Elijah’s needs by pointing him towards the Kerith Brook. And when the brook dried up, God instructed him to go to Zarephath, where his needs shall continue to be provided for.
Notice that the brook dried up first! There was no word beforehand from the Lord saying something like, “Elijah, you shouldn’t worry about your needs. Look! I’ve found this brook for you. Sometime soon, this will also dry up, but don’t you worry. I will then send you to a widow who will feed you.”
There was no assurance like that. In fact, it was only after the brook dried up that God provided for him another way by which to survive.
This is very different from the way we want to be provided for. We’ve been used to having a lot of surplus in our hands, or some kind of insurance that will see us through in case some unexpected things happen. If we don’t have a big allowance like that, we become fearful because we don’t know where we’re going to find the things to address our needs.
It isn’t wrong to think logically. God has indeed given us a mind to plan wisely and to take care of our finances. What’s wrong is when we LIMIT ourselves to our plans. And when our plans don’t work one way or the other, we PANIC! We lose heart, and we forget from where all good things really come from – from GOD.
Our confidence and peace should not be anchored with the material things that can get stolen away from us. It should be anchored in GOD alone. That’s God’s point in wanting us to trust Him, to save us from unnecessary worries that give us so much stress and even affects our health.
Let us continue with ELIJAH’s STORY:
So he went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.”
But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.”
But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”
So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her son continued to eat for many days. There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.
1 Kings 17:10-16
The widow only had enough for one last meal! Note what she said: “I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.”
The widow thought she and her son were already going to starve to death! And why not? All that she had was only enough for ONE LAST MEAL. But even that doesn’t say that they weren’t being provided for. They had enough for that meal. And after using everything she had, it was time for God’s providence to manifest itself: “…she and Elijah and her son continued to eat for many days. There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.”
God provides JUST IN TIME, and not a minute late. And He provides for ALL our NEEDS, not just for food, for our Father knows everything we lack.
One real concern God is well aware of is our concern for our health. He knows how much money we need in case any of our loved ones get sick. He knows how great our fear is, especially when we don’t have enough savings or insurance for it.
In the story of Elijah and the widow, one of our most dreadful fears happened, when a loved ones get sick and we have no money or any kind of means to help them in their sickness:
Some time later the woman’s son became sick. He grew worse and worse, and finally he died. Then she said to Elijah, “O man of God, what have you done to me? Have you come here to point out my sins and kill my son?”
But Elijah replied, “Give me your son.” And he took the child’s body from her arms, carried him up the stairs to the room where he was staying, and laid the body on his bed. Then Elijah cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, why have you brought tragedy to this widow who has opened her home to me, causing her son to die?”
And he stretched himself out over the child three times and cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, please let this child’s life return to him.” The Lord heard Elijah’s prayer, and the life of the child returned, and he revived! Then Elijah brought him down from the upper room and gave him to his mother. “Look!” he said. “Your son is alive!”
Then the woman told Elijah, “Now I know for sure that you are a man of God, and that the Lord truly speaks through you.”
1 Kings 17:17-24
Indeed, our TRUE ASSURANCE is in GOD, not in material wealth, not even in the imperfect people we often depend upon!
Let’s take a look at what happens when we have all the material wealth we think we need but forget from whom all such gifts came from:
The Parable of the Rich Fool
Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’
“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”
“So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.” – Luke 12:32