The other day a friend was sharing something from the life of Martin Luther. It was a time of great political as well as spiritual upheaval in what is now Germany. Many of the German princes were at odds, great odds, with the Pope in Rome, and desired to be free of his and the church's hold on them. Seeing Luther as a vessel to be used against the Pope, they gave him their protection. In the midst of this, a cynic asked Luther just where he would be without the shield of the princes? His answer; "Right where I always am. In the hand of my God."
This is a statement many professing believers would also make, but is it really our reality? Luther enjoyed the blessing of their outward protection, but he didn't depend on it. His dependence before, during, and at all times, was on and in His God. The question that is raised for you and I is, are we dependent on the blessings of God, or on the God who blesses? I think it takes some heart and motive searching in order for us to really answer that.
In Luke 9:3, when Jesus sent out His disciples, He told them, "Take nothing for the journey - no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic." Sounds like foolishness to the flesh, but it's what He told them. Maybe something hidden from us here is that they were sent, and didn't just go. There's a great difference. Oftentimes in our presumption, we just go, but going doesn't mean we've been sent. The gospels tell us that the Father sent His Son Jesus into the world, and He didn't come to us until He'd been sent. When He sends we must go, but to know just when that sending is and to where can only come from having hearts that are fully in tune with His. When we know we've been sent by Him, we can be sure that we may also trust Him to provide all we need in the journey. Accent is on ALL!
I was struck by four words in 2 Corinthians 1 the other day. I've read them many times before, but He spoke in new ways through those words. They are, "He is the Source." What would happen in our lives, families, fellowships, ministries, in everything, if we truly lived in the reality of those four words? I've a friend who likes to say that we need to be Source and not goal oriented. We abound with goals, but our lack is that we try to reach them most often in our own strength, and if we can reach them in that strength, we can be sure they are not given us by God. Yet, if we are truly living with Him as the Source, we may find ourselves without staff, bag, bread, money or tunic, yet know that somehow, some way, He will provide, and bring us to the place He has sent us. A place we can never reach without Him.
Chris Tiegreen in his devotional, At His Feet, writes, "We only function correctly when we come face to face with our insufficiency. And we only accomplish our mission, living and communicating the Kingdom of God - when we're unencumbered by false props." He goes on to ask whether we are journeying through life carrying sacks of provisions prepared by us, or trusting in our Source, whose very name is Provider? Any sack we carry, no matter what it contains, is a burden. If it is filled with what we think will sustain us, our focus will always be on the worry of whether it will be enough? Will it last? We will never have our hearts and minds set upon Him.
If we journey today, is it His journey? If it is, how do we walk? Weighed down with a sack filled with what we think we must have, and all the burden that goes with that sack, or are we sent ones, called by Him, sent by Him, trusting that He knows our need(s) and will be faithful to not only provide for the journey, but take us to the end He has for us in it? False props, or faithful Christ. What marks our journey?