I met a remarkable fellow this week. In my job doing internet sales I come into contact with people from all over the world. Mostly these are fleeting encounters that only take as long as a single phone call and are quickly forgotten. This one man, however, I hope I will not soon forget.
I am confident that this meeting was ordained and orchestrated by God. The reasons for the sale, both our product and his need aligned so perfectly that he flew half the length of the country to come and meet us face to face. In addition there was a circumstance that required his presence in our state that was completely separate from the sale. That this circumstance and his need for our product could have occurred at the same could only be considered providential.
As we were wrapping up and he was preparing to leave he shared with me a little bit about his other reason for visiting our state. A younger relative of his who no longer had any parents or guardians around had gotten in to some trouble with the law and was incarcerated on some serious charges. As a retired pastor and minister of the Lord he felt it was his responsibility to go and visit this relative and pray with them and give them whatever comfort and wisdom he could.
This man was now in charge of a large non-profit ministry that fed and assisted the homeless in several communities across the northern part of the country. Based on his own past experience and the trouble that his relative was now in he made this statement: “If you can work and provide for your family and put food on the table and keep a roof over your heard then that is a gift, not a given. We are all equal in God’s sight but we do not all have equal abilities and are not all equally capable. Some people just need more help than others.” Although it went unspoken I could see in this man that he felt that he had been called to help the helpless and I thanked God for his witness.
Later in the day I thought about my job and my home and all that God has provided me and I realized that I tend to take it for granted. I don’t thank God enough for giving me the ability to work and a place to work. As I look back on my forty years I realize that I have worked for over half of it and I have never had difficulty finding a job when I needed one. God has always been there, looking out for me and making a way for me. He has provided for my family and even in lean times we have always had enough.
When you really get down to it, God does not owe me or anyone else anything at all. We’ve all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory and God would be well within his rights to turn His back on us and leave us to our own devices. Yet His love and grace is persistent and His mercy is new every morning and He delights in giving His children good gifts. Woe to me if I begin to think that I am owed God’s provision or that I deserve what He so generously offers.
My prayer is that God would open the eyes of His children to see all that He has done for us and that we would not take any of it for granted. I pray that He would keep us humble and help us to acknowledge Him in everything that we do. God’s grace is given with every breath that we take. Let us always remember that this is a gift, not a given.