The best-laid schemes of mice and men.

Matthew 6:25-34

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Some recent setbacks in my pursuit of the payment for a private college education have stirred up some heart issues that I have suppressed for a long time. Whether I’m trying to find a scholarship to help me pay for school or hashing out plans for the foreseeable future regarding my career, I am learning how little I trust God to provide for His daughter and His servant. Now, don’t worry — I’m not heading down a path of lying around uselessly, touting the phrase “God will provide” and expecting to eat for free. But I have allowed my financial fears for the future affect how big I am willing to dream regarding the huge things I want God to do in and through my life.

As God would have it, this morning I had a long conversation with Tom, a publisher from YWAM who has been an integral force in the publication of those little brown missionary novels for youth that you see in any church library from the time they were first created. Not a coincidence at all. He and his family have done some incredible things with their lives, serving God in ways that challenged me to think bigger about what I could do with my life. But Tom grew up on a poor farm north of L.A. and has never known an excessively comfortable financial lifestyle.

One thing he kept repeating really resonated with me, however: he told me that he’s never been rich compared to the standards of society, but he has always been rich in relationships and the Kingdom of Heaven. I don’t doubt that when he arrives in heaven, he will discover that he has impacted tens of thousands upon thousands of lives with his work in the military post-Vietnam and his work with YWAM in Europe and the US.

As I stood there and listened to him while he set out the dozens of missionary biographies that he has been integral in producing and that have drawn thousands to Christ and into the mission field, I couldn’t help but wonder, “But where did the money come from to do all this?! Doesn’t he ever run out of money?

But through that, God is showing me the fallibility in my mindset. I am so focused on money and how I’m going to get a college education and how I would pay for a life of full-time ministry, and I am forgetting why I’m not just going for a business degree to land a dress-suit-and-pumps corporate job in the first place. God has promised that he will care for his children, and here I am blatantly doubting his ability to provide for Tom or me and exhibiting absolutely zero trust in his providence and sovereignty over my life. I use the phrase, “O you of little faith,” to joke around sometimes, but it’s cold water to the face when I realize that I am of such little faith.

Unfortunately, I have no idea how to go about trusting God that fully. I see people who live their lives for the Lord and he absolutely provides, but I tend to want a “three-step path to worry-free living” to solve everything. I just want a schedule of the rest of my life that tells me where my money will come from from now on so I don’t have to worry about it… but where’s the trust in that? That’s telling God, “I’m not sure you’re going to provide for me from now on, so I have to make sure.”
But he IS going to provide. He clothes the lilies and feeds the birds, and he will clothe and feed me. Even if I choose a path that generates little to no steady income but glorifies God, he will make himself and his infinite attributes evident in my life in some form, because that’s the kind of loving God I serve.

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