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Steve’s Control Issues and a Milkshake

March 13, 2019

[QUICK REVIEW: We started reading a piece by Steve Davis yesterday. If you missed it, scroll down and catch up…it’s worth the effort.]

More from Steve, picking up where we stopped yesterday — 

Sometimes a biblical text may address one issue and end up giving principles that relate to a pile of other issues. That’s true of Matthew 6:25-34. In those verses, Jesus is addressing our anxiety and asks us to “consider” the “lilies of the field” and the “birds of the air” that are all under God’s care and provision.

He says that we can’t—no matter how many vitamins we take or how many trips we make to the gym—add even an hour to the length of our lives.

Then that passage on anxiety ends with these words: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Giving up control—thus enjoying vacations, Christmas and church—is saying to a loving God, “I don’t care where we go, what we do, or how long it takes, as long as I’m with you.”

The issue addressed here is anxiety, but the principle is about control. Jesus is saying that in the area of control, we don’t have any or at least not very much. Not only that, pretending that we do is silly, sinful, and destructive.

In fact, now that I look back on the days when I was the pastor in the churches I served, I didn’t have much control then either. Nothing ever went the way I tried to make it go, people didn’t do what I wanted them to do, and my plans often looked like Jericho after the trumpets.

So Jesus says that in life and in poker (well, he didn’t include poker, but it works there too) we do better when we recognize that we serve a sovereign God who loves us. Or as Thomas à Kempis said, “Homo proponit, sed Deus disponit.” I looked it up and it means “man proposes, but God disposes.”

Now don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t mean that we do nothing. The Bible is a curious mix of passive/aggressive teaching. Spurgeon said that we should work as if everything depends on us and pray knowing that everything depends on God. In other words, do all you can…and then go get a milkshake.

You’ll excuse me. 

I’m going for a milkshake.

See you there?

And then see you back here tomorrow?


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  1. Christine LIppert permalink

    Joe—pull up “control” by For King and Country on You tube or spotify. This song was the basis for my 2nd sermon I ever wrote. C


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