Three unexpected surgeries and follow-up therapy within a span of a few months emptied our emergency funds. What happens when what you’ve put aside is not enough?
Larry and I invited his mother to live with us when we saw her independence waning. But, she refused to leave her home state. Larry sent her monthly checks, but we didn’t know what we’d do when she required full-time care. Neither she nor we had the resources to cover it—and I’m no Florence Nightingale.
Before I share what happened in these situations, I want to talk about the difference between being faithful and being responsible.
- Faithfulness is doing our best in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God.
- Being responsible is working hard and taking responsibility for the results.
Being a typical firstborn, I used to see being responsible as something noble, as being dependable. Now I see it as an insidious source of stress that comes from trusting in myself instead of in God.
A strong sense of responsibility steals our rest. It causes us to use people and resent those who slow us down. With responsibility always calling, taking time to appreciate accomplishments before jumping into the next big challenge seems unnecessary.
Those who are faithful work hard, but they know when to let go, when to rest and recharge, when the group or individual’s needs are more important than the goal, and when to celebrate small wins. They know God’s kingdom is bigger than their agenda (Matthew 6:32-34).
Faithfulness and being responsible look alike, but the difference is enormous and eternal. Let’s look at how these different views might affect the application of the following passage.
“Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,
Which, having no chief,
Officer or ruler,
Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision in the harvest” (Proverbs 6:6-8, NASB).
The Responsible Response—”It’s up to me.”
- I stay on duty so I won’t be a sluggard.
- It’s up to me predict possible troubles.
- It’s up to me to solve future problems.
- If I can’t take care of it, I’m toast.
The FAITH-ful Response—”He is able.”
- My role is to take small consistent steps.
- God is my provider.
- He supplies the harvest (Psalm 34:4-10).
We’re called to live by faith. God wants us to be wise stewards. But, our security rests on our Provider not on our provision.
Many times, Larry has taken the initiative to generate funds for Lighthouse, but his contacts didn’t respond. Yet, God rewarded his faithfulness from other sources.
What’s the difference between being responsible and being faithful? It’s the difference between stress and rest.
The responsible person works for tomorrow but misses the joy of today. The faithful person prepares for tomorrow while enjoying today.
Remember our medical emergencies? Unaware of our needs, an out of town friend met Larry for breakfast and delivered a generous gift to our ministry. Larry was able reimburse his outstanding bill. God also provided a wonderful place for Larry’s mother that didn’t require her to leave Arizona or cost one penny more than she could pay!
What responsibility is burdening you? Are you trusting your efforts or God to meet your needs? Faithfully carry your crumbs and watch God provide the harvest.
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Debbie W. Wilson