Monday, September 17, 2012

Taking Advantage of God's Forgiving Nature

And He said unto His disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.  The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.  Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?  And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?  If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?  Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  If then God so clothe the grass, which is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more will He clothe you, O ye of little faith?  And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.  For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.  But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  Luke, Chapter 12, verses 22-32.
This is one of my favorite passages in the whole Bible.  It has personal significance to me because of my experience with it.  Years ago, I was on a very tight budget.  It was so tight that I had to buy powdered milk in case I didn’t have enough money to have milk for my children’s breakfast.  Now, I know our situation wasn’t as bad as some, but I just want you to know that things were tight and I had to be very careful about my spending.  Now, one of my biggest vices, as I’ve shared, is the need to be in control of my life.
Since things were so tight, I would spend hours making a budget or revising it every time there appeared to be a need.  I lived my life by this budget and tried very hard to not deviate from it.  I spent most of my waking hours trying to plan, scheme and figure out ways to get by through the month.  Then one day, God had me read this particular passage and it totally turned my life and my relationship with God around!
I found out that God didn’t want me spending the vast majority of my time fretting over bills and figuring out ways to make ends meet.  When I was doing that, I was showing that I didn’t trust God to provide for my family’s needs.  I was also wasting a lot of time planning when I could have spent that time reading the Bible, praying or spending time with my family.
It was like I was saying, “God, you know I love you and I think you’re wonderful, but I just don’t think you are going to take good enough care of my family.  I’m going to devise a plan to take care of them, just in case you fail us.”  Well, that isn’t the message I want to be giving God.
I can’t say I don’t ever get caught up in worrying about finances anymore, but quite often God will put the thought of this passage in my mind which helps me refocus.  I need to trust God to take care of my family’s needs and I need to be an example of how God works in my life.
This is a disclaimer of sorts.  This doesn’t mean a person should go out and spend their family’s money on gambling, alcohol, Bingo, possessions, etc. and God will make sure that all their needs are met.  I don’t think He wants us to ever take advantage of Him.
It would be like telling an unemployed relative that he could stay with you for a month or two while he gets back on his feet.  While your relative goes out to look for work every day you tell him, “Don’t worry about cleaning up your room.  I have a little extra time and I’ll take care of it.”  This is a genuine offer and you don’t mind cleaning up the minor things the relative leaves around.
Then the relative starts taking advantage of the fact that he has someone taking care of him.  The relative starts leaving all his clothes on the floor.  He leaves his dirty towels lying around instead of putting them in the hamper.  He leaves his dirty dishes lying on the table.  It’s bad enough that you have to take his dirty dishes to the sink and wash them, but they are hard, crusty and difficult to wash.
To top this all off, the relative is getting used to having someone pay all the bills, cook the meals and clean up after him.  Having a job, getting up early and going to work is looking less and less attractive to him.
Your relative isn’t getting up early in the morning anymore to look for work.  In fact, he seems to be staying in bed later and later every day.  You bring the paper to your relative with some potential jobs circled and find that he has tossed it on the floor with the rest of his dirty clothes, making no attempt to look for work or even call any of the ads you carefully circled.
You aren’t empowering your relative by helping him become the best he can be.  Instead, you realize that you are enabling him and making him dependent on you.  Finally, you recognize that enough is enough and you tell your relative that you aren’t going to be doing things for him anymore.  You notify him that he has to be responsible for himself and if he doesn’t get a job in a certain amount of time or at least make a decent effort; he will be out on his ear.
Well, don’t you think that if we could feel this way, maybe God would get a little upset if we took advantage of Him?  I don’t think He would like it if we spent our money carelessly so that we didn’t have enough for our bills, but relied on Him to pick up all the pieces and work everything out.  So, although I’m saying God will take care of our every need (and He really does, even better than I ever did when I was budgeting so tightly), we still need to be responsible about our finances and choices by not taking advantage of God’s forgiving nature.

Because this is an example of how I’ve applied this Bible passage to my life, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the whole meaning of the passage. Debbie

This is a connection I've made from this Bible passage. Please share your connections

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