Pastor Joynt's Devotionals

How Should I Pray, Day 54

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MATTHEW 6:25-34 | “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’  For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

There are several kinds of anxiety attached to our material well being. One is the fear of not having enough, or insecurity. The beginning of the Lord’s Prayer, the Our Father, configures our praying and living within a context where our creator is a loving parent who wants to provide for us and who will not allow any tragedy or evil to hurt us in the end. Even losses and suffering will eventually be overcome. Yet we are often anxious. This sense of precariousness reflects the truth we know about life’s uncertainty. Jesus acknowledges what we know “moths, rust, and thieves” are a threat to our material lives. History, nature, and time erode the things we own! Maintenance is a huge part of human life as we fight to contain forces of disintegration. Forces beyond our control shift our prospects, with recessions or government actions or even evil actors, undermining our provisions and “nest eggs.”

I am glad Jesus acknowledges all this and still teaches trust! For he recommends, in the face of genuine threats, a superior realism, which trusts the power and purpose of God. The alternatives to this are an anxiety that diminished our lives and mars our time, or a false self-sufficiency that hides the vulnerability.

Use this scripture to reinforce your sense of God’s care for you and his provision.

 

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How Should I Pray, Day 53

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GENESIS 41:32-36 | And the doubling of Pharaoh’s dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about. Now therefore let Pharaoh select a man who is discerning and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh proceed to appoint overseers over the land, and take one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven plenteous years. Let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming, and lay up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. That food shall be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that are to befall the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine.”

America is a land of surplus that can turn into surfeit. Surplus is important! Surplus allows us to move from survival mode to living lives that include education and art, religious development and philanthropy. Surplus fuels the growth that allows investment in healthcare advances, new energy sources, and many forms of human development. Socially and individually, surplus is key to the advance of humankind! But surplus can quickly surfeit.

More is a curse as well as a blessing. Too much food, for instance, dulls sense and hurts health. An over abundance of trivial choices wastes too much time in decision making. Accumulation becomes an end in itself, and selfishness replaces sharing as a key value. We become experts in refined and exciting sensation, but are strangers to transformation.

Have you experienced the great side of surplus?

How about it’s dangers?

How did Joseph employ surplus to Egypt’s problems? 

 

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