Every good and perfect gift...
"What is faith?" I wondered as I walked back to my car after having my teeth cleaned down in Bedford. Dr. Howell's dental hygienist, Dee, had probed me on our church plans. Her son is a pastor and his church had just completed a new church building so Dee wanted to know what was happening with our building.
"We broke ground a few weeks ago," I said, "and we're expecting to begin building in a couple months, when it gets warm. We have a man in our church who builds refrigerated warehouses around the country and he's leading our building program."
"Where did he come from?" Dee asked.
"Who, the builder? He comes from forty-five minutes away each Sunday," I said.
Dee seemed not to have heard me. She pounced on me, "God sent him to you, didn't He!"
"Well, of course God sent Mike Boles to us," I thought. "God does everything."
But that's not what Dee meant...
She wasn't making some superficial statement about God being in control of all things. Instead, she was making a very specific statement about the needs of our church and God's concrete provision for those needs, sending us Mike Boles.
Well Mike brought a lot more than his building expertise with him when he arrived. He also brought his two sons, Aaron and Seth, to be our children's friends. And he brought Kyla to become Ben Curell's wife. And what about Lisa-hasn't she built up our church with her kindness and strength, her singing and hard work? So in some ways it seems to diminish God's gift of the Boles to us by speaking of Mike being sent to us to be our builder.
But you know, if He wants to God can kill two (or a hundred) birds with one stone.
You see, my own cosmic view of God's loving care for us had misled me, drawing me away from giving specific thanks to Him for His specific gifts to us. Yes, the sun rose in the sky again this morning and this was (and always is) the Hand of God. So we should give God thanks for each sunrise. And yes, the moon was full a couple nights ago, and it was magnificent. And God made the moon so we should give Him thanks for each full moon. But the kind of faith that thanks God only for the sun and moon and stars and large theological truths is a certain kind of faith, but not saving faith.
Saving faith is personal and sees in each of the tiniest transactions of our lives the hand of our Heavenly Father tenderly caring for His adopted sons and daughters.
Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6,7)
Jesus promised God would not forget us. He told us His Father doesn't overlook a single sparrow, and that we're worth more than many sparrows to Him.
Dee has the gift of faith and by pointing out to me how good God has been to us as a church-not her church, mind you-her faith strengthened my faith. And as I walked back to my car, I found myself wondering why I don't notice God's kindnesses more specifically, day by day, and thank Him for each of them?
And starting with Mike Boles, I got caught up in thinking about all the many ways God has blessed our church. How good God is, providing for all our needs. And often, even before we ask--and despite our failure to give Him thanks.