Growing up in a proud union household, I was taught that work was essential to life. We were challenged to labor hard so that we could provide for our families and for ourselves. Indeed, this fierce sense of independence continues to drive me today. In many cases, I am grateful that my parents instilled such a value within me. After all, it has motivated me to strive for excellence in my education and career. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, the biblical witness reminds us that self-reliance can become an obstacle to our kingdom service. Instead of learning to be independent, the Scripture indicates we must learn to become dependent so that we might be used fully and effectively.
Take Elijah for instance. God plucks this Tishbite out of nowhere and sends him before the presence of Israel’s king. Once in the limelight, Elijah declares a drought which will consume and ravage the land. Quite courageous for a little-known man standing before the nation’s sovereign! But just as Elijah seems to be making his big debut, God ushers him off stage to the Brook Cherith. Now while Cherith might sound interesting to you, please realize that it was not the place where Elijah would connect with the “Who’s Who” of the kingdom. In fact, no other person is there. Elijah is all alone. Furthermore, there are no supermarkets or grocery stores within miles! Instead, Elijah must rely upon some ravens to cater steak and rolls in the mornings and in the evenings; and he must draw his drinking water from the brook. How humbling! No work ethic or industrious drive could provide his basic needs - only God could! This lesson in dependency prepared Elijah for a life of power and ministry.
As I said, I am thankful I was taught to work hard, but I constantly recognize how dependent I am upon God to be able to work at all. Only through Him do I experience the health and stamina that I need. Only in Him do I have the opportunities and abilities I need. In other words, I am totally dependent upon Jehovah Jireh for my entire livelihood. And so is our Temple family! I realize that daily! Just when I become stressed about the church’s needs, He demonstrates His power to provide. I give thanks to our LORD for that, and I appreciate the way you allow Him to provide through you! Already in 2017, we can testify of our God’s faithfulness . . . I am convinced it is just the beginning! Let’s lean upon Him to take care of us in our personal lives and in our corporate life. Simply put, let’s trust Him this year to do what only He can do!