There are very few things in this life we can actually be sure of - most of which are totally out of our control as Benjamin Franklin once said in the old adage: "Nothing is certain but death and taxes." If we were to be totally honest, I think we might just be able to add a third one to this list: Mistakes. It is totally human to make mistakes, so it stands to reason we can count on it as a "given" in life - something we can count on happening. If there are things we can know for sure will happen, we have a different mental focus about them, don't we? For example, I don't even think about the taxes coming out of my paycheck until someone asks me about them, or I go to prepare my income tax statement every year. Why? They are a "constant" I can count on, so no amount of worry will ever change the fact they are coming out of my paycheck. It is as though they just "happen" - they are out of my control. I can try to manage them by taking the legal amount of deductions to minimize what comes out of my paycheck, but if I don't do this well, I may actually owe more at the end of the year. I may have "manipulated" the situation, but I don't change the fact I still owe the taxes. In reality, there is something much more important we can count as "certain" in our lives, but which we frequently need a lot of reminders to actually believe: God will take care of everything you need! Yep, everything!
You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. (Philippians 4:19-20 MSG)
This passage is not written as a "maybe" God will kind of proposal, but as a statement of fact - "God will take care of everything you need" - period! Here's the kicker - we try to manipulate things so we figure out a way to take care of what we need or what we actually don't need, but maybe just want pretty badly. We are master "schemers" - manipulating things so we can either accomplish them outside of God's timing, or get what we want regardless of what it will do to us once we have it. It is kind of like cheating on your taxes, though - you still owe the taxes, you just found a way "around" paying them. When we don't rely upon the certainties God tells us we can count on, it is like we are "cheating" on God!
Our writer points out several things we need to stand on in order to not operate outside of God's timing, or "cheat" on him by manipulating things to go the way we want them to go.
- YOU can be sure... This passage begins with us - you and I - it is about what we think, say, and do.
- YOU - the person being addressed in this passage is not someone else, it is us - the readers
- CAN - you have the ability and the power to do this; you know how to; you have the means to; but most importantly - you have the right and qualifications to
- BE SURE - you have the right and qualifications to confident, fully assured, certain beyond question, and free from doubt as to the qualifications and reliability of God's desire and reliability in providing for your needs
- GOD - really this is God - Elohim - the creative one, the governing and sovereign one, in possession of absolute power and authority, and the one who enters into "covenant-relationship" with is creation. At first, this may not seem like a big deal, but it is - because "covenant" is unbreakable in God's eyes.
- WILL - not maybe, but is totally disposed toward, without any hint of regret or unwillingness on his part
- TAKE CARE - he will pay serious attention to that which he promised, simply because he doesn't take his promises lightly
- OF EVERYTHING - easily said this literally translates as "every thing" - the total amount, all things wrapped up into one
- YOU NEED - he brings it back to us - starts with us, turns it to him, and then refocuses on us. It is about our NEEDS, not someone else's - it is what he finds to be necessary in our lives - but may not be "every thing" we want in our lives. Here's where we need to learn to trust God, because he knows whether our wants will present things which will only add worries and trouble to our lives. We don't know this - maybe that is why I added "mistakes" to our list of things we can count on!
It is good to recognize God's generosity. It begins with grace - for none of our actions warranted his mercy, but in his generosity, he reached for us with the gift of grace. It continues with growth - for none of us is able to grow without oversight and protection. It blossoms with gratitude - for God examines the intentions of the heart and the responsiveness of our spirit. We can count on him to be there - no matter what the circumstance. We cannot always see his hand in action, but we can know for sure it is IN ACTION. Just sayin!