Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Trust in God, not Means
"'Why do I carry on this business, or why am I engaged in this trade of profession?' In most instances, so far as my experience goes, which I have gathered in my service among the saints during the last fifty-one years and a half, I believe the answer would be: 'I am engaged in my earthly calling, that I may earn the means of obtaining the necessaries of life for myself and family.' Here is the chief error from which almost all the rest of the errors, which are entertained by children of God, relative to their calling, spring. It is no right and scriptural motive, to be engaged in trade, or business, or profession, merely in order to earn the means for the obtaining of the necessaries of life for ourselves and family; but we should work, because it is the Lord's will concerning us. This is plain from the following passages: 1 Thess. 4:11-12; 2 Thess. 3:10-12; Eph. 4:28.
It is quite true that, in general, the Lord provides the necessaries of life by means of our ordinary calling; but that that is not THE REASON why we should work, is plain enough from the consideration, that if our possessing the necessaries of life depended upon our ability of working, we could never have freedom from anxiety, for we should always have to say to ourselves, and what shall I do when I am too old to work? or when by reason of sickness I am unable to earn my bread? But if on the other hand, we are engaged in our earthly calling, because it is the will of the Lord concerning us that we should work, and that thus laboring we may provide for our families and also be able to support the weak, the sick, the aged, and the needy, then we have good and scriptural reason to say to ourselves: should it please the Lord to lay me on a bed of sickness, or keep me otherwise by reason of infirmity or old age, or want of employment, from earning my bread by means of the labor of my hands, or my business, or my profession, He will yet provide for me."
(A Narrative of Some of the Lord's Dealing with George Mueller, Written by Himself, Jehovah Magnified. Addresses by George Mueller Complete and Unabridged, vol. 1, 393)
"...This truth applies not only to our vocation but to all areas of life. Moment by moment we use means to keep us alive and accomplish the purposes of God (food, houses, phones, cars, medicines, doctors, builders, advisers, etc). The lesson we need to learn is not to trust in these things when we use them, but to trust wholly in God. This applies also to the planning for our church. We plan. We budget. We teach and preach and counsel. The temptation is to continually trust in these things and not in God to work in and through and without these things. So as we dream toward ministry and missions, let us use means, but let us trust God. His promises are the only sure thing. All our means are fallible.
Mueller summed up the principle like this: 'This is one of the great secrets in connection with successful service for the Lord; to work as if everything depended upon our diligence, and yet not to rest in the least upon our exertions, but upon the blessing of the Lord..."
(John Piper, Taste and See)