Meanderings of a Minister

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures, Part I
April 11, 2013, 8:23 pm
Filed under: Articles | Tags: , , , , , ,

24 Hours

Desperate times often call for desperate measures, but the funny thing about it is, when you are truly desperate, the measures don’t seem all that desperate. Take, for instance, the story of the three pigs. This is a story many of us grew up listening to. The story goes that the three pigs’ mother tells them to go out and live on their own. They leave home together and decide the first thing they need to do is build shelter. The first pig builds his house out of straw because he does not want his play interrupted. The second pig builds his house out of sticks because he only wants to go to minimal work so he can get on with play. The third pig (probably the oldest if it is like many families) goes to all of the efforts needed to build a house that will stand the test of time and attack. The big, bad wolf comes along and, to make the story shorter, blows down the first pig’s house and then the second pig’s house and then attempts to blow down the third house, but cannot. He climbs the roof and drops down the chimney into a pot of boiling water and runs out of the house never to return. The moral of the story is that it takes work to receive the benefits we would like to have.
This is a principle that is given in the Bible over and over. In the Christian life, there is a challenge we all face that comes from the tension between how much we are supposed to do and how God is supposed to do. This is actually a false dichotomy, because God is the one “who is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13, NASB) The reason we find a dichotomy here is that we forget the part about working for His good pleasure. This does not mean that we work to gain His acceptance, but as believers, we work BECAUSE we’re accepted. We work because we are loved. We work because we are part of God’s family and that means we have some responsibilities to carry out. Guests don’t work, the family does.
I realize it might still seem difficult to grasp the concept that we sometimes have to work to receive God’s blessing, but let me say it plainer. We don’t work to manipulate God into blessing us. Rather, God wants to bring a blessing into our lives, but we have to be ready for it to come. For instance, if your family dropped by for a visit at dinner time, you would consider that a blessing, but if you did not know they were coming, and had not prepared any food for them, had no money to go out to eat, or even weren’t home when they came by, you would miss the blessing of their visit. It is the same many times with the blessings God brings to our lives. He brings us to a church service where we here the Bible proclaimed, but we did not prepare ourselves before we got there, so we walk out and wonder if it meant anything at all. We missed a blessing.
In 2 Kings 3-4, we see the Israelites faced with an invading army that wanted them dead. They mustered their troops, went out to fight, but ran out of water. They were praying for a blessing of water so they could carry on their campaign and fight. They sent for Elisha and he told them God was going to not only give them water, but was going to deliver them from the army as well. Their part was to dig the valley full of trenches. They had a choice. They could prepare for the blessing and receive it or choose their own path and miss it. We often see this pattern of preparation, blessing, and then enjoying the benefits of God’s blessing. This should lead us to ask ourselves, “What blessings would God like to give us that He is waiting for us to do the work He has already laid on our hearts to do?”


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