1 Chronicles 29:14 But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.
My Puritan devotional hit this theme today, and I thought it would be good for me to continue it. Apparently, I’m not the only one that forgets where stuff comes from. I’m better about his now compared to when I was a young man, but I still fall into the trap thinking I “earned this” or “earned that.” While I know this is an attitude that ultimately will lead me to disappointment, it is a snare of the devil that is easy for me to willingly walk into. So, let’s review some verses that come to mind so we can be reminded of who is in charge.
Psalm 50:10-12 For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine.
I remember congratulating myself as a young businessman in anticipation of a nice bonus for a job well done. The owner of the company was quick to remind me that without HIS company, I wouldn’t have done so well. While that sure stung at the time, he was right. I did a good job within the environment HE created. He, too, had an environment that was created for him – by the Lord God himself. Our Lord is good and merciful to all, whether we give him credit or not.
Matthew 5:45b For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Job’s friends got all tangled up in thinking bad things (retribution) happened because of bad things we do. Yes, there is justice in the day of judgment, but God blesses even the wicked while they live here on earth. But there is a significant benefit for believing. He does treat us differently.
James 1:16-18 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Something is different about believers, as James says. God brought us forth by truth as a firstfruit of his creatures. Firstfruit is an Old Testament idea of the best of the harvest. Now, we must not think we have some inherent quality that we might be thought better than the rest of the population. On the contrary, we aren’t. Unlike the Old Testament, we are firstfruits simply because God deemed us so. HE is the one who then makes us different than all the rest.
Ephesians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
God gives us spiritual blessings – all we need, at the moment of our conversion – so that we “should be holy and blameless before him.” Our purpose, our job, if you will, is to be holy and blameless before him. What does that mean? That means he has given us all we need to rid ourselves of the sin that ensnares us so that we might be the salt and light of the world. Again, we are simply cooperating in the environment that HE created for us. He as a plan, and he has given us all the tools we need.
There’s more good news. I don’t know about you, but I have been corrected as an employee. I didn’t like it, but it changed my behavior. I’ve had to dismiss employees who haven’t been able to (or wouldn’t) properly use the tools given to them. And, I’m sure we have shaken our heads when someone walked away from a really good job (and employer) simply because they were a hothead. God forms us, but we don’t need to worry about getting fired or foolishly quitting.
John 10:27-30 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
I can’t tell you what a promise that is for me! Without HIS guarantee, I would sooner or later foolishly sell my birthright. That’s no longer possible.
One last thought. Not everything that happens to us is pleasant. In fact, we might incorrectly consider some things a curse. Yes, God corrects those whom he loves (Hebrews 12), and that might be painful. However, believers will never incur his wrath. Certainly, we will experience plenty of pain (besides correction), but that is for a larger purpose that God will use to our advantage.
Romans 8:28-30 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Folks, I don’t know about you, but I’m GLAD I don’t own any of that cattle or anything else. My inheritance is far, far better in God’s hands than mine.
Father, thank you. Amen.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers