Keeping My Focus
The struggle is daily. When things go well, it's easy to see God's hand in things. And when it's not going well, I only see myself. Yet I am not alone. He has not left me, nor will He ever leave me. He will never stop being good. He is the Lord and He does according to His good pleasure.
There are times when the work really does resemble toil. And it wasn't until this week that I really gained an appreciation for Ecclesiastes. Lately, I feel as if I am failing all those around me, who are dependent upon me. But then I will catch a glimpse of something that puts a smile on my face. It isn't the thing I am praying for. It's something completely different. It is pure and lovely. It is from God.
We are to bring our needs, our petitions, to God. But Solomon warns us that seeking anything other than God is vanity. Wisdom and knowledge are not bad. But seeking them only leads to sorrow. Similarly, seeking blessings, including financial needs, is vanity and can lead to sorrow. And there's nothing wrong with wealth. Jesus told his disciples to seek first God's kingdom and His righteousness, and everything else will be taken care of. Well, Ecclesiastes and Proverbs tell us the same thing. It is God who gives and it is God who withholds. He knows our needs before we do. And He is the one who dispatches those who are used to bless us.
So, my conclusion is that I am failing when my eyes are on the needs and even the blessings more than upon the Lord. I am to rejoice in both of them equally and to find my pleasure in God above and in the work below.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me. ~ Philippians 2:12-18