Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ravens and Sparrows and Lillies Oh My

Right now im at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Internation Airport sitting on a wooden bench which im sure will be the source of many years of back pain to come. Two benches over I overheard a middle aged gentleman ranting about the failures of the government to do its job and protect the American people, this was because year-to-date his 401k was down 31%. "How am I supposed to retire at 65 in this market? I'm going be working until I can't walk. I swear if this doesn't turn around soon we are moving to Canada" the man explained very loudly to whom I assume was his wife.

Last night, not coincidentally, I read Luke 12 and Matthew 6 and today I also read what is a phenomenally well written critique of John Piper's book Future Grace, both of which address the issue the guy beside me and millions of other people are dealing with right now. Luke 12:24-24 says:
Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither store-house nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
In Piper's book, from what I understand b/c I haven't actually read it, he makes the case that anxiety will practically do nothing for you and he makes the argument, over several chapters, that we need to have faith in future grace rather than merely reflecting on the past and taking an indebted posture towards God. Piper explains that it is an affront to God feel like we owe Him something while not having faith in His grace to come. This would be tantamount to receiving a new car from your parents for Christmas and handing them a few bucks because you wanted to show your appreciation...it lacks a true understanding of what a gift, in the case of your parents, and what grace, in the God's case, truly means. Don't be confused, we DO owe Christ our lives because they were purchased for a price (1 Corinthians 6:20), but fundamentally our anxiousness says that we don't trust God to provide for us. It is in fact a type of unbelief. I'm not throwing condemnation around; I'm just trying to say (as Piper has already) that when we reflect on the workings of God in our life the best way to respond is not to feel indebted but rather to continue to have faith that the same grace we see in our past is also in our future.

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