Tools; October 14, 2018

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

This whole passage, from verse 6 through verse 15, has been used by unscrupulous shysters so much that it can be hard to hear what God is really saying through it. That is sad, because Paul was accurately conveying God’s truth here. This verse makes it clear that God’s provision always has a purpose. He doesn’t pour His grace out on us to puff us up, but to equip us for “every good work.” It is true that much of what we are called on to do requires material resources of various sorts, and God will always provide for us whatever we need to do His will. However, we are constantly tempted to focus on the tools rather than on the work to be done. We seem to have particular difficulty in looking at money as a tool, rather than as something to be desired for its own sake. That’s why our stewardship of money is such an indicator of our spiritual condition. Often our attitude toward money has to change before God can trust us with much of it. Money isn’t evil of itself, but loving it for its own sake, rather than seeing it as a tool, creates all sorts of problems. (1 Timothy 6:10) Our priorities should be first, what does God want me to do, and then, what does He want me to have in order to do that. That includes giving to others, which is the focus of this passage as a whole. We are to see everything God places in our hands as His grace toward us, and we are to seek His will as to what He wants us to do with it.

I have never been especially greedy for money, but I have always been something of a “tool nut.” I get great satisfaction at having the right tool for the job, whatever that job might be. A tool catalog can be a great temptation to me! However, I have tools right now which I use very seldom, because I’m not called on for whatever work for which they would be necessary. At this point in my life I need to be paring down, eliminating things I don’t need. However, some of those things might be needed by someone else, which is why I still have them. Recently my wife has been coming to the same realization, and is delighting in blessing others while reducing her own clutter. I certainly need to do that! At the same time, I need to be active in using what God wants me to hang onto, material or otherwise, to do the work that He has prepared for me to do. (Ephesians 2:10) I’m not to complain about someone else’s stewardship (though I am to speak the truth in love where called for) but am to be careful of my own, for the glory of God alone.

Father, thank You for Your abundant provision. May I indeed see it all as Your grace toward me and as tools to accomplish Your will, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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