Does God help those who help themselves?
On Monday I mentioned to a colleague at work that I knew it would rain today because I had watered my vegetable garden. Rain had been forecast over the weekend, so I hadn’t watered. Thus, on Monday, though rain was still in the forecast, I watered anyway. Vegetables don’t grow on forecasts but on water.
It rained substatnially Monday, and again Tuesday.
Did my irrigation efforts cause the rain? Not a chance. Would it have rained anyway? Not a doubt in my mind.
But this morning I got to thinking about this little exercise and caring for ourselves and others. In ministry, it seems I run into people all the time who are butting up against God, holding grudges for some time in their life that God has failed them, or, better put, failed to step in and save them.
For a variety of reasons, I’m sure, we have in our culture developed this idea of God as a very powerful being who ought to step in and fix our lives now and then. Sometime we think this whether or not we’ve done anything to fix or direct our own lives.
“God helps those who help themselves” is Ben Franklin, not Bible. Paul writes in Romans that “When we were unable to help ourselves, at the right time, Christ died for us, although we were living against God.” (NCV) The God of our scriptures is one who sides with those who cannot help themselves.
But this doesn’t make Ben Franklin wrong.
Sometimes we have to water, and sometimes the rains come. Sometimes both happen on the same day.
Are you living your life in a direction you can invite God into, or are you living in one direction and wondering why God won’t sweep in and change things? Thanks be to God that “Christ died for us while we were still living against God!” But that is no reason to continue living in that direction.