Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Today’s Topic: Self Sufficiency
Today’s Text: The Lord has sent a message against Jacob; it will fall on Israel. All the people will know it -Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria—who say with pride and arrogance of heart, “The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone; the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars.” (Isaiah 9:8-10)
WOW! What a summer. I have been blessed to be able to be with family almost every week this summer. The reality is that I have been gone more than I’ve been at home. I am literally in need of a vacation from vacations. I have felt disconnected and discombobulated (amazing – that must really be a word because spell checker didn’t change it). I missed my time in the morning writing these connecting points. I felt out of touch with what God was doing in your life. I completely enjoyed my time with the grandkids and the rest of the family, but at my age there is something very precious about routine. Next week I get to start in on the routine again. That’s right, next week. I’m off on one more adventure on Friday and Saturday to help my son-in-law finish construction on a bedroom in their house. But for today and tomorrow, I must write and get connected to you again.
Usually on my vacations God teaches me something that I believe is extremely significant and relevant to where we are in our spiritual walk with Jesus. For the last two weeks I’ve been waiting for the light to be clicked on revealing the truth I need to learn. As I drove to the office this morning I felt like I was still in the dark. Then, as I opened up the Bible on my desk to the book of Isaiah and began reading where we left off in our study, the light came on.
For two weeks I have been living my life. During that time I camped, fished, golfed, and played at the beach with grandkids. I sat around a campfire and talked with family. I observed behaviors in people and looked for something God wanted to teach me. I prayed that I would be refreshed and ready to serve Him with greater intensity. I even checked emails on my phone to stay in touch with developments in our church’s pursuit of the purchase of a new building. I actually responded to some of the emails and got involved in the process. My heart was torn between the call to ministry and the need to relax.
Then this morning it hit me. I am so thankful that God has brought me to a place of trust in Him that even when I am doing my own thing it’s not really my own thing – it’s all a part of His life in me. Now please don’t take this as bragging – I want nothing to resemble pride in this. To God alone be all the glory for what He is doing. I know I still have a long way to go in this, but one thing I believe is very true – God is teaching me to trust Him completely and not be self sufficient in any way.
Let’s look back at our lives for a moment. Try and recall those times in your life when things didn’t turn out the way you wanted them to. Think about the situations you were in where you found yourself crying out for things to be different. Think about the frustration and anger you felt when you thought the people you love the most were the ones hurting you the worst. I hope your list isn’t as long as mine.
Now, in those situations, how many times did you take matters into your own hands and try to resolve the issue?
That’s what God said was true of the people of Israel in the days of Isaiah. He had sent them distress to get their attention and alert them to their spiritual need. Their response? Self sufficiency. They experienced the tragedies. They saw the devastating results. They responded with their own plans to rebuild better than before. After the pain of the loss had receded, their first thought was how they could improve and expand their own material world. God wanted them to turn to Him. Instead they turned to their own ambitions.
Let it not be true of me. Let me not turn the love of God expressed in the discipline of his children into an opportunity for personal gain. Let me wait on the Lord and renew my strength. Let me trust His outcomes rather than manipulating them according to my own desires. Let me walk by faith and not by sight, knowing that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose and not their own.