‘But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’
Still, to this day, when I see a $50 bill, I can recall the excitement as a little girl when I would receive a greeting card with crisp new money inside.
Actually, the money itself wasn’t actually the real reward. It was what happened next. My grandfather would load me up in his old pickup truck, and he would drive to our local bank.
Once inside, he would hand me my very own bank register for the account he opened for me when I was born. Standing in line waiting to deposit my newest fortune, I felt like the luckiest, not to mention the richest child alive at that moment.
“You are saving this money now so you can go to college or do things with it later,” he would so tenderly explain. Being a good steward of my money was just one of many valuable lessons my beloved grandfather taught me.
His guidance was, and still is, sound and beneficial advice. However, I think as I became an adult, this discipline may have caused me to trust, at times, more in my bank account balance than my Almighty Provider.
And, like most times in our life when we start depending on our own abilities, God will usually place us in a situation where we have to retrace our steps back to Him. In November of 2013, this is exactly what happened to my husband and me.
At the time, I had a relatively secure job with a great salary plus commission, ample benefits, and several generous perks as well. However, it was becoming more and more demanding and stressful by the year. Although I had begun to have the desire to want to change career paths for some time, I always persevered because it provided a steady income for my family and me.
But after several months of prayer, careful consideration, and a lot of encouragement from my husband, I took the leap of faith to step away from the position I had held for 14 years.
However, shortly after we made the decision, in a moment’s notice, everything changed. Less than a month after I left, my husband received the call that his position was being eliminated. Although we had faithfully put our trust in God about me quitting my job, we were all of a sudden facing the loss of all income and health benefits. The next several months were complete surrender and utter dependence on God.
Needless to say, God showed up in miraculous ways during our trial, including receiving a random check in the mail for almost the exact amount of a rather costly debt, which was approaching.
While sudden unemployment is something I hope we never have to navigate again, there is one thing I believe I am still slowly learning after having walked through this struggle. As I dig deeper into my false sense of security in monetary stability, I have to ask myself, is it about being a good steward, or do I not trust God’s provision in my life?
Ironically while writing for last year’s Lent devotional, I read Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. I had tears in my eyes as I read the following words from his book:
To receive what we have as a gift from God is the first inner attitude of simplicity. We work but we know that it is not our work that gives us what we have. We live by grace even when it comes to “daily bread.” We are dependent upon God for the simplest elements of life: air, water, sun. What we have is not the result of our labor, but of the gracious care of God. When we are tempted to think that what we own is the result of our personal efforts, it takes only a little drought [a 2020 edition could say global pandemic] or a small accident to show us once again how utterly dependent we are for everything.
And here we are, just a few months into the year 2020, and we are facing much more significant uncertainties than just missing out on a few paychecks. Life, as we knew it, has practically changed overnight. May we cling to our gracious Father, our Provider, and Comforter, surrendering all we have to Him who so abundantly sustains us.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Help us never forget You are our Almighty Provider.
Without You, we have nothing.
Whether in times of scarcity or abundance, may we surrender our strongholds and put our trust in You.
May we never take for granted Your good and perfect gifts.
In Jesus name, Amen.
Melia Ozbun has the privilege of working with elementary students with special needs during the school year. Most days, she believes they teach her more than she could ever teach them, particularly about life and love. A Muncie native, Melia is a wife to an endurance sports nut, a stepmom to a middle schooler who currently knows it all, and a slightly obnoxious food snob. God’s creation awes her and she is an avid camper, hiker, and kayaker. When she is not in search of good eats, she can be found in a nearby state park.
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