Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Crumbs and Morsels; Rain and Seeds

God told the children of Israel, when He first rained manna from heaven, and thereafter, that they had to eat it all in one day.  

When I began my mission to learn everything I could about homesteading and prepping ... and becoming autonomous and self-sufficient ... I found that command a bit difficult to accept, and understand.  

To me it was an unexpected, and unusual, thing for a loving Father to tell his children.   The fact that they were in an extreme environment is a whole 'nother matter entirely.  The command was a whole lot like telling them not to plan ahead; not to prep; not to save. 

When I was forced to ponder this scenario ... (yes, forced, because I really didn't have a choice since it hit me, under a glaring new light, square in the face) ... everything in my physical being was telling me to take charge of my own future.   Not just because the world was in a sad state, and was getting sadder every day that went by, but because it really seemed to be the smart thing to do.  There are even proverbs and scriptures that confirm "it's the prudent thing to do."

Common sense is still telling us NOW we must save, and invest, for our own well-being ... before it's too late.  Right?  Right.

So ... this "eat your manna today, and let tomorrow take care of itself?" 

I don’t think so ... that's what I thought (with a tiny sass) at the time ... and, it ruffled my feathers, it did ... as I'm sure it's probably ruffling yours just a tad. 

But what do we do with Jesus’ statement to “take no thought for tomorrow?”  Or the prayer to “give us this day our daily bread” ... ?  

How about Paul’s instruction ... that “having food and clothing, with these we shall be content?”

First of all, we need to remember something about the Israelites as they were leaving Egypt, ... they were slaves.  They were conditioned to the burdens of hard labor, and in exchange for their servitude they knew they would get at least a pauper’s ration to sustain life.  It wasn’t much, that pauper's ration, but as slaves they came to depend upon those crumbs every day ... and like most on the slave side of a slave/master relationship, they were apprehensive about losing what little certainty they had in life.

God was showing the Israelites, by giving them a very generous daily ration of manna from heaven, that He was their Master, and He would provide for their every need.  Eating their fill every day, and not saving back a few morsels of manna, required them to TRUST completely in Him.

And, secondly, the teachings of Jesus, and the apostles, point still again to God as the Great Provider ...  He really will supply all of  our needs, so let's be content with our daily bread.  He knows what He is doing.  We are of more value than the sparrows, and more precious in God’s sight than the lilies of the field ... so don't fret.

Yet, as touched upon above, it is also evident from other proverbs and scriptures that if we have the opportunity to plan/prepare for our futures ... and prudently stock up some "wealth" in order to help others and ourselves in lean times ... then it is not only our right, but our responsibility to do so.  

We should ALWAYS remember the source of that "wealth." 

“Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them ... for him to accept his lot, and to be happy in his work ... THIS is a gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 5:19)

That paraphrased scripture calls to mind the prayer of Pa Anderson in the movie Shenandoah: 

“Lord, we cleared this land. We plowed it, sowed it, and harvested it.  It wouldn’t be here, and we wouldn’t be eating it, if we hadn’t done it ourselves.  We worked dog-bone hard for every crumb and morsel, but we thank the Lord just the same for the food we’re about to eat.  Amen.”

Even though I want to plan/prep for tomorrow, and you want to plan/prep for tomorrow, we have to take the facts for what they are.  

None of us have any guarantees.  

If we, like old man Anderson, think we are doing it all by ourselves ...and all for ourselves ... then we are leaning on a weak tree indeed.  

Today's lesson is to do what you can, and do what you must.  Plant the seeds, but trust God for the right amount of rain.  

And if there is no rain at all, trust God even more.

With love,
Your Faithful Prepper
(where autonomy and faith collide)

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