“The Lord will provide. But, oh that He would until he does.” – The Rabbi in Fiddler on the Roof
There is a strain of Christian faith that goes something like this, “if you are doing everything right, everything will be going right.” This seems natural. There is a folksy wisdom to a statement. And in many instances, it is true.
The scriptures do tell us that we reap what we sow. It would be both unscriptural and immature to suggest that are words and actions don’t have a real effect on our lives. The scriptures tell us that plans fail for lack of counsel but with many advisers they succeed. And so as we, as the Board of Directors, think and plan strategically, try to cast a vision for the future of our congregation, considering the large sense what we should be working on and measuring, there is a certain sense in which it is our job to figure out what the right things are to do so that things will be going right.
But things going well, that is, according to our plan, and things going well according to the measures that would seem to us to indicate success, can never be the thing by which we judge ourselves. Paul writes, “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself.” (1 Corinthians 4:3) Jesus reminded the religious leaders of his day that it was religious leaders that killed the prophets. The job of the Christian is to get out of the judgment business altogether, including a judging ourselves.
We begin this meeting together not by reminding ourselves of our responsibility, but by reminding ourselves of God’s love. While we are, in fact, the ones here and now who will have to make decisions, we do not make decisions in fear and trembling. We don’t make decisions as though we will be in or out of God’s love. The only way we can make a wrong decision is if we make decisions out of fear rather than faith.
This cannot be said too often: There is nothing we can do to make God love us more and there is nothing we can do to make God love us less. God’s love rains down on us. God has reconciled the world to himself in Jesus Christ, not counting our sins against us. In Christ we have peace with God that cannot be taken away. This is the foundation in which we work.
As we have God’s grace secure in our minds, as the utterly unshakable and unassailable love of God courses through our veins, we find the peace that will enable us to hear and follow the inner voice of the Holy Spirit. We have the faith to listen to God’s guidance through his Word and Spirit and boldly follow his direction, sometimes toward results that look like success to the world and sometimes toward results that look like failure to the world. God’s love casts out fear and let’s us lead boldly according to his call.
It all comes down to this:
- We are not earning God’s love. We are working out our lives in the umbrella of his grace.
- God isn’t speaking just to hear himself talk.