Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 18 December 2014

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grain fields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”  He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need?  In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Mark 2, verses 23-28.

Let’s begin with a short follow-up to yesterday’s post about God providing everything.   One easily overlooked facet of the story is how we are free to do what we want.   David and his companions were free to take the consecrated bread whether Abiathar offered it or not.   They were desperate and hungry warriors; who would not have expected them to simply take it by force? Yet they sought out the priest who offered them, instead, God’s provision.   They trusted where trust wasn’t expected. Jesus offered that lesson to the Pharisees, seemingly saying “don’t get so caught up in what’s happening that you forget why it’s happening.”   He implored them to trust in God to provide what was needed. After all, as Psalm 104 said (a verse with which the Pharisees would have been intimately familiar): All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time.

So I now exercise blogger’s prerogative and use this entry today to shout out ‘happy birthday’ to my son, Dillon, who turns 19 today. I’m using the rest of this blog to implore to him (and maybe to you) a few similar lessons.

God always provides.   A young man should never forget this, especially when he lives on his own, and is trying to juggle the frustrating priorities of school, job, love life, and dreams. Through all of these things, God always provides.   All we have to do to earn that provision is exactly nothing.   He does it because He loves us. We should do the same.

Always trust God, even when it seems improbable. If we “do” anything in the process of God saving us, it’s only that we believe and trust Him. Jesus implored us to do that in the lesson above, just as He does in everything He teaches. Sometimes days seem dark, and sometimes they really are. Even in the middle of those, trust that God is working to turn it for the best, and that He’ll give you what you need at the proper time to stand.

Trust, too, in your instincts, talents, and independence. God gave them to you to use creatively and for His benefit as well as yours.   You have special talents that make you unique and unlike anyone else.   Remember that.   Don’t get a big head about it because you’re the steward of those gifts and the bounty they can produce.   But remember it and trust in them.

And after all that, seek rest. Don’t be a Pharisee and get wrapped up in the what instead of the why.   You’ll get tired.   Seek real rest by communing with your Maker.   The longer you live, the more you’ll find He is the only real rest there is.   Rest in Jesus by reading His word, by talking with Him, by trusting Him to get you through, by involving Him in your decisions, by greeting Him in the morning and saying good night to Him at night.   It won’t take long until you realize how much better you feel because you’re being made better.

Father, please bless my son on his birthday, and bless those who read these words.

Read ahead in Mark 3, verses 1-6

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