The hymn writer sings the song of the farmer. He looks out over the crop. Waiting for harvest, working the land, praying for the right conditions, and trusting the process. Does he own the process or is he guided by One who owns the outcome?
The hymn writer looks at God’s harvest and sympathizes with you. Have you prayed for your friend, your husband, your coworker? Perhaps you have wept over their salvation for years and nothing seems to be happening. Like the farmer who trusts he’s given it all he has, you think that you’ve done everything you can to win that soul to Christ. Holding onto the outcome in which you have no ownership is like the farmer thinking he owns God’s creation. The outcome is God’s. We are workers who plow, plant, water, and fertilize. But, God gives life to the harvest and nourishes that soul. If the one we are praying for yields and comes to Him, the spiritual harvest is complete.
We cannot own the outcome if we do not own the process. Trust God to work in the life of the one you are praying for and leave the results to Him. Then, we can sing with assurance: Little is much when God is in it.”
What do you live by? Convictions? A moral compass? A motto or a mindset? The hymn writer notes that living by faith keeps us safe from being alarmed and distressed. It is a shelter rather than an escape. If faith protects and provides, why is it so hard to live by faith?
Living by faith does not come naturally. The toddler says: “I do it myself!“ even though it is well beyond her abilities. The teenager says: “I’ll do what feels good in the moment.“ The harried middle-aged executive says:“Make as much as you can and work as hard as you can. You never know what’s around the corner.“ The silver-haired senior says: “the more I hold onto things, the less I am really in control. I discovered that clinging to the well-worn rock of faith releases me from fear and doubt. Only when I hold things loosely does God pour out his abundance, releasing me from the weariness of the what-if‘s. In the presence of faith, doubt cowers, shudders and quietly slinks away.
Lord, please teach me to live by faith, in faith, and through faith in Your son. You see the beginning to the end. Let faith be Your words I live bye, Your compass that guides me, and Your peace that surrounds me. In Your name, amen.
Is there anything that is for sure? Yes, as the young girl sings, “The sun will come out tomorrow.” Is there anything we can count on? Jobs are not forever. Friends come and go. Commitments and promises can fall by the wayside. In an age of uncertainty, what is really sure?
The Savior says: “I will be with you, even to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:19.) We are challenged not to allow the love of money to take over our lives; Jesus will always be with us, (Heb. 13:5.) Though He doesn’t promises us vibrant health, a plush bank account, or a life without trials, He does promise to be with us. All those who have accepted Him as Savior are assured of His presence, providence, and guidance. He sees all that has happened, is happening, and all that will happen. Not seeing the big picture, we can walk hand-in-hand with the one who does. We have the blessed assurance of His love and that He will never leave us. To have the constant friendship of the maker of the universe, to be held in His hand…that is blessed assurance indeed!
Mark 6:38 (NIV): “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”
Are you facing an insurmountable problem? Are you being asked to use meager resources to do the impossible? If so, you can relate to the disciples. Jesus told them to provide food for 5,000 men, not counting women and children. They struggled to do the math and count the cost. They even suggested sending the people away to eliminate the problem altogether. Jesus didn’t explain how He would work this out because heaven’s supply was the answer. He simply challenged them to give what they already had. Five loaves and two fish became the starting point for a miracle meal. These resources, blessed by Jesus, satisfied their hunger and even provided leftovers. If what we have is enough, we do not need to call on Jesus.
Figuring out how God will multiply what we have keeps us from trusting Him. The things that don’t make earthly sense find perfect solutions in heaven’s economy. Why? He uses what we already have, blesses it and then multiplies it. The more we depend on Him, the less we own the outcome. He is looking for us to give what we have—to commit those “loaves and fish” to Him.
Give Him what you have. Release ownership of the solution. Give thanks for the answer.
1 Kings 19:9 (NIV): And the word of the Lord came to Him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Elijah was paralyzed by exhaustion but propelled by a whisper from God. Elijah had been hearing from God for a long time. Listening to God compelled him to pray for rain in a drought and it rained. Listening to God challenged him to show the prophets of Baal that they were no match for God. Exhausted by conflict, he found himself in a cave.
When you’re discouraged, all you can see are circumstances. Past victories are a distant memory. In the stillness of the cave, God asks a question: Elijah what are you doing here? God cares about what brings us to where we are. Elijah puts forth his resume and pours out his discouragement. Then, God shows His power. Elijah is allowed to experience a wind, fire and earthquake, but God is nowhere to be found. Then, the same question, same answer, same discouragement. Finally, Elijah hears God in a whisper. The God-whisper is where we find the One who asks the question: “What are you doing here?” It is a change in focus from where we think we are, to where He wants us to be.
The God whisper prompts us to act. Recognize what brought you to where you are, listen to the whisper of God and act on what He says for your life.
Pastor Matt Huff leads Portland Central Nazarene Church. He loves being in ministry and seeing lives transformed by the power of Christ.