Provide like The Master

Romans 8:28 speaks powerfully of God’s Providence: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him.” In fact, “God cause all things” is true enough! All creation is forever completely dependent on Him (Rom 8:19-23); everything, everywhere, every time. This inspires me in two ways: 1) I can relax; He’s got the plan. 2) I want to be part of it, to be like Him.

How best to provide?
Amassing wealth is a major goal embraced by the culture, which is often adrift seeking identity. The shifting sands are dangerously unstable. Christ notes in Matthew 7:24, if we don’t have a solid foundation, we can’t build anything lasting. When identity starts with the immutable Head, and moves to the obedient body, we teach our family structure – His structure. Foundational too is the beauty of sacramental marriage. Ephesians 5:22-31 is a favorite for wedding vows, but Paul sums in 5:32 God’s design: the unseen bond of Christ and Church exists in your marriage. Make that your first earthly identity.

Wealth, or lack thereof, are flip sides of the same cautionary coin. James speaks of it in Chapter 1, v. 9-11: whether secure or struggling, the means test is not the end. Avarice and envy are capital sins. More important, bitterness or rejoicing our material status betrays a low-quality faith: God is not a vending machine for our earthly riches, though He may choose to offer that among so many other blessings.

Serve your family’s material needs, but preeminent is the heart-space: loving the Lord, knowing His character, dwelling in gratitude for His generosity and Divine Mercy. The greatest gift for your family is to lead them to the same deep love and appreciation. No man is rich who suffers spiritual poverty; no man is poor who enjoys the company of the Lord.

To Be Like Him
David asks in Psalm 116, “What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?”

Trick question: we can’t possibly repay Him. But that doesn’t mean He doesn’t appreciate our effort. 1 Thes 5:18 is a pointer: gratitude is a great start. If you don’t have a daily habit, start one today. A simple choice is “5 Thank Yous”: as you prepare for bed, reflect on your day. Find 5 things you have great gratitude for and thank the Lord humbly. Then build the habit in your circles of influence: your marriage, your family, your job.

Do this, and you’ve provided well.

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