By Lydia Jentzen Will
I had no idea the sermon would be dealing with relying on God’s provision when I set out the kids’ clothes for church early Sunday morning. 6 outfits, 6 pairs of shoes. While I laid them out, I thought how it is just a few weeks before the great clothing revamp. Most parents know about this – those times of the year when you switch over one seasons clothes for the next, do inventory on what needs to be purchased and finally tote the unneeded garments away. It is one of the more exasperating jobs that falls to me, especially since we have a large family. During the week or so that I am working on this project, it seems that everywhere I look – there are clothes. Too small clothes, cool weather clothes, warm weather clothes, too big clothes and some clothes that fit just right. Times 8. Then, once that is all done, I have a few short months before it’s time to do it all again.
One thing I do love about this time of year, however, is seeing how cared for we are by our community of friends and family. Bags of hand me down clothes in my children’s sizes find their way to my porch, and the things that we are no longer using find their way to the porches of other families. It is a time where I can see visually not only God’s provision – but just how He meets our needs: often, through the open hearts and hands of others – our community of friends and church family.
If we know anything about God, it is that He takes the wisdom of the world and turns it right upside down.
The sermon got me thinking about just how God meets our needs. Our culture certainly does affirm the pull yourself up by your bootstraps, the self-made’s and those who rely on no one but themselves. We all want to convince others (and ourselves) that we got here by our own merits…whether or not that is actually true. If we know anything about God, it is that He takes the wisdom of the world and turns it right upside down. He asks us to trust him and step out in faith, even when His ways are not ours. Selfishness is replaced by service. Wealth by generosity. Pride into meekness. So it is with success in anything. While the world tells us the goal is not to need anyone, God says we do. When we set aside pride for humility, we find ourselves blessed. When we open ourselves up to ask for help, or to give it, we are cared for. When we show ourselves vulnerable, He covers us in grace.
Far from being shameful, when we show ourselves in need of His help, He overwhelms us with opportunities to give and receive, working through His body of believers to meet the needs of His people.
Like with so many things, the first step is humility. Instead of holding others at an arm’s length, we are called to open our arms. We cannot do this alone, we are not called to do this alone. We are called to live generously and humbly and seek first His kingdom. When we live that way, we find that He can surely be trusted to fill all of our needs in abundance.
The counter cultural, upside down way of living turns the lonely into valued members of community. It requires generosity of all, and it blesses the entire family of God. Far from being shameful, when we show ourselves in need of His help, He overwhelms us with opportunities to give and receive, working through His body of believers to meet the needs of His people.
God always meets our needs in His abundant love – and nothing is beneath His notice.
With the cool weather coming, I’m not worried about what we’ll be wearing. God always meets our needs in His abundant love – and nothing is beneath His notice.
You can read more by Lydia Jentzen Will at her blog, Small Town Simplicity: The Pursuit of a Humble Life.
Listen to the sermons from Sunday, August 25, on the future.