Tuesday, July 28, 2015
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Man, did my wife and I grow up in two different worlds! While I was growing up in a little apartment on the South Side of Chicago, my future wife was living in the Ozarks in a tarpaper cabin, wallpapered with Montgomery Ward catalog pages to keep out the winter wind. They called that area "Trail's End", and it was. When her Dad got out of the service, his parents gave him some land where he literally bulldozed a road and then a lot out of the woods. I think my wife's early years sound a little like something out of Laura Ingalls Wilder or the Waltons, the old TV show.
For exam-ple, there was no electricity. Light? Well, a kerosene lamp. The family was close, but the surroundings were spartan. Her Dad was determined to get the electric company to provide power out to the families in their area. When he consistently got no response, he finally went into town one day to ask the electric company why. The lady he talked to happened to leave his family's county records on the counter. That's when he saw the two words that explained why they had been denied power -"too poor."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Tragedy of Trusting Yourself."
Jesus has a little different approach to deciding who will get His power. Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Matthew 5:3. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." At the Kingdom of Heaven Power Company, the words you want to find on your record are "poor enough"; poor enough to qualify for the most powerful life Jesus can give.
Now Jesus isn't talking about poor in your bank account, He's talking about people who are poor in spirit. That's poor, as in being totally dependent; knowing you can't make it independ-ently. Jesus is looking for people who have lost the pride of self-reliance. People who have finally figured out that God created us to live in total trust and dependency on Him.
Now our human nature rebels against this kind of positive poverty. We're raised to say things like, "I can handle it", "I think I can", "I'll fix it", and "Hey, I'll figure this out." And no matter how much we talk about trusting God, the reality is that we often trust God only when there is no other option. Trusting ourselves? That's our default position; always our first choice; or trusting our solution, our ability, our strength, our planning, our cleverness, our connections.
But in His love, God keeps bringing us to those painful moments when it's totally out of our hands, when our efforts have only served to make the mess messier, when He is our only hope. I call them times of forced dependency. And in those moments when our resources are gone, when we're just poor, that's when He opens up the Kingdom of Heaven to us. We feel His love and we experience His power as we never did when we still had our own resources to depend on. So strangely, when we get this poor, we become spiritually and emotionally richer than we have ever been before. But only when we get out of the way.
So if this is one of those times when your resources aren't enough, don't be afraid; don't be discouraged. It could very well be that God has been withholding His power in your life because your record at the Kingdom of Heaven Power Co. has said "too rich." Too rich in your answers; too rich in your efforts. But now maybe you're exactly where God has wanted you to be.
You're poor; finally poor enough to receive the amazing things that only God's power can do.