Daily Proverbial, from Ecclesiastes, 14 December 2012

Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well. Ecclesiastes 11, verse 6.

Remember this verse comes in a section where it talks about casting all our cares on God, trusting Him with our lives and everything even as we don’t understand all of Him. Remember all that and then read it again. What do you think now?

In your life, do you cast your cares on God (or on anything other than yourself), and if you do, do you focus on it? I will confess that I struggle with this. It’s difficult for me to let go, even I as I trust God and know He is always at work for my best. My wife (and kids) would tell you I used to be something of a control freak, and that’s a hard habit to break. Hopefully I’m better than I used to be, but it’s still a difficult habit to let go of.

Sometimes, that control tendency can manifest itself as judiciousness and a desire to be prepared. That can be healthy. Indeed, I think that all who succeed do so, in part, because of preparation. Sometimes, though, that control nature just turns into a controlling mess. You know what that looks like: failure, dissatisfaction, regret, angst, blame transfer. It would be easy to let the cares of this world take over at that point. Face it: there’s never enough money, never enough time, never enough people who understand. “Never” is a word that can rule you if you let it do so in a bad way.

Maybe this is where it is good to remember yesterday’s verse as well, heeding the reminder that we don’t understand all of God’s ways, and that this can be a good thing for us. We aren’t God and we can’t do all that He does. What we can do is be mindful of that, then live in each moment. We can live faithfully in knowledge of Him to make the most out of each of those moments. Sow good seed, intending that every seed will grow into a healthy, productive plant. Give our all – our faith and our hearts – to our children that they may grow up in knowing God and do the same for theirs. Invest our treasure prudently, saving and investing to earn. Wisely purchase, enforce boundaries, be generous, live fully. In everything, living in God, live fully. Never give up on God because God never gives up on us.

And never let go of that. Never let ‘never’ rule you in a never way; let it be a good boundary and a way God builds you up instead of a way through which the world can beat you down.

I don’t know how I’m going to die. I like to think that I’m attentive to things going on in the world, because I am active in reading the news, keeping myself informed, reading stories and events in the context of God’s larger picture. Face this too: we’re in bad times. Things are happening that have never happened before, and it’s all across the world. Evil is on the move, and if you can’t see that, then I urge you to open your eyes and read up on your Word. I’m no doom-crier, and I’m not an end-times fanatic. But even I can see that the Almighty is at work, that the battle of the ages rages on and that there is more to come, much of it rough. Sometimes, I wonder how I’m going to die. It would be nice to think of dying peacefully in my own place, in a vineyard of my own planting underneath a shady tree. Or in my own bed, or my easy chair (like my dad). The thing is that I just can’t see that happening. Without going all morbid, I can’t see a peaceful departure from this world in my future because the things I believe are too good and strong to hold in. I have to do my part to share them; this blog is one way to do that. It’s also a way evil can pit itself against you. When evil opposes you, the prince of this world has many weapons at his disposal. He’ll deploy them to bring you down. When I die, I expect it to be an ugly end here, starting up a beautiful eternity elsewhere.

Along the way, the evil one will make war against you and me, never giving up on his envious hatred of all that is good. When we live faithfully in God, clinging to what God tells us enables us to stand and fight, to never give up on what really matters. When we do that, we can sow generously, work handily, and work in His fields to reap a bountiful harvest. We don’t know what’ll stick and what won’t, so we should work our hardest as if we want all our sowing to reap a crop. It won’t matter how it ends here because the ending here is a beginning to something fantastic. Forces of this world oppose that because they are agents of darkness. To quote my friend Patrick, I’d rather be an agent of light. That’s a hopeful force with which I can live. That’s why we can cast our cares on Him knowing that He will bring them back, in His way, blessed. That’s something to never let go of.

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