My cat Meep is fascinated with moving water and loves to drink and play with the slow drip at my kitchen faucet. She sits in the sink and catches the drips on her tongue or even on her head. Sassy, the calico cat, washes her paws in the water bowl and then washes her face. Rudy, the shop cat at work, will often drink out of the toilet bowl instead of the water bowl I set out for him if I don’t keep an eye on him. It amazes me how they will go out of their way to drink the least satisfying sources of water and play with the good sources, but are we often guilty of the same thing?
God provides a fountain flowing with living water if we will only drink of it, but how often do we go for less satisfying sources? We submerge ourselves in all kinds of pursuits, trying to quench a thirst that can only be satisfied by a relationship with God. Some people chase after wealth or fame, some after worldly pleasures, and even others dedicate themselves to a religion. However, none of these will fill the God-sized hole in our hearts.
It is like those days when you have a craving, a taste for something that you can’t identify. You eat everything in the pantry, but none of it will satisfy that craving. It is not until you finally realize what you are in need of that you can satisfy your craving. All the other foods leave you wanting more and often have the down side of causing weight gain, which only makes you sluggish, just as chasing after the worldly pleasures often leaves you weighted down. They are poor substitutes for the real thing.
When we finally recognize our need for God and allow Him to take His place in our lives, then we can finally feel satisfied. It is an eternal fountain that will quench our thirst forever. If we will only give up the substitutes, the drips, and drink at the fountain, then we will never thirst again.
My tom cat, Young Man, loves to jump up next to me on the couch, throw himself down next to me and roll over on his back so that I can rub his belly. He looks up at me with what I like to think of as adoration. He loves me and he loves belly rubs. He will lay like that forever if you will keep rubbing his belly, and then he will sleep there purring loudly all the while. However, if he hears a loud sound or I make a sudden movement, he jumps up and runs for cover. The moment of peaceful bliss is gone in an instant of fear.
I sometimes wonder if I am not guilty of the same thing as far as God is concerned. There are moments where I feel the presence of God and it feels as if I could just sit there and soak it in. I feel like nothing could ever move me from my trust in God. I am firmly rooted and will not be moved. Suddenly, something happens. It could be a stressful drive into work, a disagreement with friends or family, or a change we didn’t anticipate with work. We jump up and run for cover.
We tell ourselves it is natural to step away and assess the situation. In actuality, we are stepping away from God…we are moved. Correction, we move. We let the situation dictate our emotions, and fear gets a foothold. We run around trying to figure out how to deal with the situation when our first action should have been to look to God for direction.
Like Peter, when we take our eyes off of God, we are suddenly drowning in the water that we were just walking across in faith. The weight of the world pulls us down into the depths and we struggle. When we quit struggling and look up, we float to the surface and find God right where we left Him.
While the instinct to run is an admirable trait in a cat, it is not an admirable trait in a child of God. As long as we keep our eyes on Our Father, we will not drown in the world of troubles. He will make a way for us if we will keep still and look to Him. Young Man is a flight risk. It doesn’t take much to have him running for cover. We, on the other hand, must remember that we are never safer than when we are sitting at Our Father’s feet, looking up at him with adoration. For when we are there, nothing can touch us.
Most people these days use a GPS when going somewhere for the first time. It gives a visual of the next segment of the trip and includes an electronic voice that reads the directions as you approach turns or changes in course. If you do not follow her directions, the voice will say, “recalculating” as it resets the directions to help you get back on the course she has laid out for you.
Life is often described as a journey. As a Christian, our ultimate destination is Heaven, but there are many stops along the way. We often encounter crossroads or are distracted by side roads and get off the path laid out for us by our GPS – God’s Positioning System – also known as the Holy Spirit. In a still small voice the Holy Spirit prods us and comforts us as we go on the journey. Sometimes He also has to recalculate the directions when we go off the course plotted out for us by God.
We also have a physical map in the form of the Bible. Psalm 119:105 says, “They Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” It shows us the way a segment at a time, just like the GPS in your car. Just as a flashlight or lantern can only illuminate a small section of a path in the dark, so does God illuminate the way we should go in small sections. We never see all the stops on the journey, but as we move along, more of the path is unveiled just as when we move forward on a path with a flashlight. Until you take a step forward, you cannot see any further no matter how hard you look.
Recalculating, unfortunately, is a constant need as we often think we know better than the GPS or even try to turn it off. While the GPS in your car can sometimes be mistaken, God never makes a mistake. However, as soon as you realize you have strayed off the right path or taken a wrong turn, ask your GPS to recalculate and show you how to get back on the right track. One of the many benefits of a God-given GPS is that it never has to search for a satellite or tower and the battery is never dead. It is always active and ready to guide us as long as we will use it and follow directions.
If you watch enough television, you see a lot of commercials for banking and investments, planning your future financially. While I think we should be responsible with money, I think too many people are falling prey to the world’s mindset about wealth and independence.
When the Israelites were in the desert before they reached the Promised Land, God gave them daily manna, literally bread for the day. He provided for their needs on a daily basis, and no matter how they tried, the manna would not last overnight except for on the Sabbath as God ordained. Even one of the best known prayers in scripture says “Give us this day our daily bread.” The point was to teach them dependence on Him.
In the parable about the stewards who are left in charge of money, two invested their shares and made a profit for their master, and one did nothing except hold onto his share. Two of them did the best that they could with what they had been entrusted, while the third hoarded his share in fear. I think the point here is to make the most of what you have been given for your master, Jesus Christ, because what we have was given to us by Him. We are only stewards.
Sometimes we get caught up in the idea of saving for the future and making investments out of fear. The rich man decided to build another barn to store up his riches, but he didn’t live to enjoy them. Only God knows the future. He is the one we should trust for our daily bread. The Christian journey is one of learning to depend on Christ, while the dream of being independently wealthy is a world view centered on self-reliance. As Christians, we are children of the King who owns everything and will give us what we need if we rely on Him. Our purpose is to make the most of what he has given us this day. If it be riches, then use them wisely for the building of His kingdom and not the building of a new storage shed. If it be but a pittance, like the poor widow’s mite, give it in thankfulness. Find a balance between wasting what you’ve been given and hoarding it in fear of the future.
Be a good steward…and remember…you are only a steward. It is God’s to give and take as He pleases for His purposes. It is ours to do the best we can with what we have been given and to trust in His providence for our daily bread.