Saturday, June 30, 2018

More than a quarter

I never did earn an allowance for all that long as a kid. As a matter of fact, if that quarter a week lasted much longer than a month total I would be surprised. You see, mom and dad equated the 'earning' of that allowance as a 'payment' for certain chores done around the house or yard. When they came home at the end of the day, they'd see if I had done what I said I would do - but not just that it was 'done' - it also had to be done 'right'. In reality, they were helping me realize any job undertaken in life had the potential for very positive outcomes when I put my full effort into it. Eventually, the chores were done, but maybe not to the level mom or dad would have desired. The dusting was perhaps only 'superficial', not really moving all that much out of the way to get at the surface dirt. The patio may have been free of leaves, but did I pick them up or just push them into the yard where they'd be free to clutter the patio again by the next morning? Making my bed in the morning was never considered a chore for which that allowance could be earned. It was my room and my responsibility to keep my room neat and clean. Now, before you judge my parents too harshly over this allowance thing, they taught me some very good lessons which have served me well into my adulthood. Not ALL we do is done with our ALL. Not ALL we do is done for just our own enjoyment or purpose. Not ALL we do is done because there is a 'reward' attached to it. There are times when I think we approach the things God asks us to do as though they should have some system of 'reward' attached - maybe there are things we are asked to do that are more of a responsibility because of all we have been blessed with in the first place!

Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you? (Galatians 3:5-6 MSG)
We can know for certainty that God lavishly provides for his children. He is not a selfish, scrimpy, or self-serving provider of good things – his provision is not “measured out” in limited, small, or short quantities. His provision is full, complete, and capable of meeting every present need, not to mention every future need. Provision comes by trusting, not by striving - as we rest in God's grace, we received his every provision - we don't earn it. God’s method of provision is exactly opposite of the world’s. The world would tell us that if we want something, we have to pull out all the stops to pursue it, even at the sacrifice of other things that require our attention. God’s method is to ask us to submit to his leading and see what he will do – plain and simple - take responsibility for our actions and he will provide the grace to help us change those actins. As we obediently lay down our willful pursuit of things that are fruitless in pursuit of his purposes, he provides abundant fruitful outcome in our lives. His provision is prepared before we ever need it and is revealed in the times of our obedient pursuit.

So those now who live by faith are blessed along with Abraham, who lived by faith – this is no new doctrine! And that means that anyone who tries to live by his own effort, independent of God is doomed to failure. (Galatians 3:9-10 MSG)

We can never do enough to earn our salvation, a better standing with God, or a change in our character. We cannot do it fast enough - though we may try to speed up what God has begun in us, we cannot rush his perfect timing. We cannot do often enough those things that would gain us anything in the kingdom of God. No amount of service is “just the right amount” to earn us anything in God’s economy. We cannot do “life” well enough to gain us any increase in stature. So why do we keep trying to earn with half-hearted commitment what we receive with whole-hearted obedience? Just askin!