Today’s note comes from someone who shared heavy news with us today. Due to lock down, the family’s breadwinner’s working hours and salary were reduced to 50% work/50% pay. You can imagine how serious this is to any family to run a budget on 50% income when the expenses are 100%. Yes, this is the same as many others throughout the world, and in many cases, there is 0% income.
Jenny and I know this family extremely well. In all their years of marriage and parenting, life has had a few serious challenges. Most marriages and families would have fallen apart, yet theirs held together … so although 50% income was a huge challenge, getting through all the previous challenges formed a platform for this one.
Why should they be confident and why should they get through challenges, trials and frustrations? The answer to that question is simple for the believer, yet difficult to grasp for the unbeliever. This husband and wife are committed Christians, not just in name but in practice. They are intentional. Their children love the Lord Jesus too … so as a family, they share their challenges and difficulties. They pray together and they trust the Lord together. I feel they could write a great book about their experiences as a family to encourage believers who battle in their trust and confidence in the Lord Jesus.
Consider the following passage:
Mt 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Mt 6:29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
In ten verses, we have eight questions. Remember, this passage is part of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus is expounding the Ten Commandments and their supporting commands. In short, our Lord is saying: ‘why worry and panic about your circumstances? Worry, fear, panic only leads to an ungodly response to the shortage of necessities.’ He is not talking about greed for expensive designer clothes or luxury foods and enjoyable drinks. Jesus is addressing “life” (v25). He uses two great illustrations, one for food (by looking at how God feeds birds) and the other of clothing (by looking at the lilies of the fields). In verses 26, 30 and 32, we find promises from God that He will care for His beloved children who depend upon Him for their needs.
Again, however, we come to a but. Verses 33 and 34 are saying that in the light of worrying about food, drink and clothing (that is, the things that protect our lives), the focus must be on eternity. Eternity means our focus must be upon our Triune God, His Word and His Will, shaping our confidence in Him and not this world (v32a) and preventing worry (v34).
Getting back to that family. They have set such a wonderful example of putting their confidence in God and not man or the things of this world. I like to say, “When you are faithful to God, God is faithful to you.” Because they have been faithful to God, God has been faithful to them yet again. The breadwinner resumes 100% work with 100% income from June … and then, due to the breadwinner going the extra mile of pretty close to 100% work during the 50% period, working for another department, that department have supplemented the other 50% income for the month of May.
No one can outdo God! He sees everything all the time. He knows intentions as well as needs and He responds to faithfulness by using other parties to meet the needs of His faithful ones. This ought to be a huge encouragement for all of us to pursue holiness as well as faithfulness to our God. Trust Him. Have confidence in Him. He promises to meet the practical needs such as food, drink and clothing as per Matthew 6.
Dear God, thank You for Your ongoing faithfulness to us even though we don’t deserve Your goodness to us. Help us not to look at the situation around us. Help us not to look at the world or at others around us. Help us look to You in faith and dependence for all our needs and requirements. Amen.