Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday July 25, 2009

We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7.

I heard an interesting news clip a day or two ago, that Debenhams, a chain of British clothing and houseware stores, are having trouble selling table knives. Three times as many forks are sold in the stores as knives! It turns out that the British are beginning the North American habit of eating with a fork only and not the traditional knife and fork process. I suppose we could argue the merits of a fork only against using a knife and fork, but how do you eat fish and chips with a fork?

It turns out that the fish and chips may be giving way to Indian curry which is easier to eat with a fork. My father enjoyed hot curry, the perspiration standing out on his forehead as he ate, often running out late in the evening for a take home meal of curry or fish and chips. Ann declares that his food intake eventually killed him—he could have lived longer with better food control. Be that as it may, I doubt the queen is considering changing all the silverware hoarded at Buckingham Palace just yet.

All this goes to show the fragility of tradition, and as I noted in a recent blog, life and possessions are very fragile also. That fragility is in sharp contrast to the “treasure” Christians carry within. The certainty of the reconciliation we have with God through the atoning death of Jesus is more like the enduring daily sunrise than the British knives and forks. Those are more like our breakable clay bodies which will eventually go the way of the fish and chips, but our work here will endure and our future is secure because it is anchored in God and not in our own abilities.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wednesday July 22, 2009

Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well. Ecclesiastes 11:6.

Life is fragile, and can be terminated at any time by illness, accident, violence or war. We all have to be prepared for that, although I fear the majority of people aren’t. But it is also true that our financial stability is also just as fragile and can be lost by fraud, theft, economic disaster or foolishness. But one thing is certain, laziness or neglect of working or studying for financial security will surely court disaster. This is just as applicable to ensuring a steady income as saving something for retirement.

Today’s text comes from a mostly agricultural setting, where drought, pestilence or disease could wipe out a crop. Even today, there is no certainty that seed sown today will ripen into a crop later. But, implicit in the text is the notion that not planting seed will guarantee no crop! In fact it suggests, as a point of wisdom, that planting a second crop is a good idea “for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.”

Ultimately, all these things are in the hand of God. Whether our plans fail or succeed is less important than the promise that God will supply all our needs. Mostly he supplies our need through the natural means of diligence and working. While the Bible abhors laziness and commends provision for one’s family, it is the simple prayer, “give us this day our daily bread,” and his promise to supply it, that is our final security.