Does God Do Everything? Or Anything?

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

God certainly does not collect, cut, stack and stoke the firewood.

God does provide trees that die to become firewood.

Psalm 127:1

Unless the Lord builds the house those who build it labour in vain.
Unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain.

Philippians 1:6

I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.

Words of Grace For Today

I decided one day that I would let God do everything.

I stayed in bed and waited for the fire to be stoked, breakfast to be served, and my writing to be done.

My back got sore, I got real cold after the fire went out, I got hungry for no breakfast showed up, and when I looked later I was hours behind on my writing schedule.

God, I decided, does not do everything. It wasn’t personal or anything. God did not just ignore me. God was speaking real loudly at me. I was not listening.

Paul writes to the , the Philippians, who had embraced him early in his ministry, funded him well, and always continued to support him in every way possible as he got into more and more trouble – because he kept preaching a radical Good News, Jesus loves you! When he does, we get to listen in on some of the most profound truths about the Gospel. Paul is less guarded, less polemic, writing to people less inclined to mis-hear or mis-take his words.

Jesus started a good work in the Philippians, in Lydia and her household. Paul assures them that Christ will bring this work to completion. Not they themselves. Christ.

The Psalmist writes what many have come to know is true: we can work all we like and as hard as we like, but if God is not working in us, for us, and through us, our labours are all in vain.

So God does lots.

God does everything.

That does not preclude our having to work hard. It means that as we work hard we need to give God thanks and remember that only God working in us makes it possible for us to do the work we do.

This morning, I got up and made a fire, a blessed fire that boiled water for coffee and washing.

This morning, I gathered more wood for the fire, and will stack most of it in preparation for the winter cold when I will burn lots of wood to stay alive and a bit more to be comfortable.

This morning, I came in and got breakfast ready, which is really not much work at all. It’s just pulling things out of the drying rack, out of cupboard and out of the fridge, and pouring boiling water on the coffee in the french press.

(I’m not french in anyway. It’s made by Ikea probably not in Sweden. And I use it to make coffee. So it’s a coffee press to me. The French can keep the guillotine and lots of other things, too. It’s just this is a coffee press every morning. It makes coffee from somewhere in the world and mixed and roasted and ground and canned. Not french at all. Of course we could say it’s a God press, because everything is from God. But then nothing would have any distinction. So everything is from God, breakfast, coffee, fire, boiling water. But it’s a coffee press to me.)

I’m working at my writing, bit by bit, though I’m still behind schedule, or maybe I gave up on the schedule.

Still, God is at work in all this or this means nothing, to me or to anyone else.

This day God made full of surprises and work and delights and daily bread and forgiveness and … lots more, and I’m still waiting for Christ to complete the work begun in me at baptism, though I’m doing everything I can to get on with that work, and get out of the way of God working hard through me.

One hopes one would be thought of as kindly as Paul did of the Philippians, and not the Corinthians, though I gotta say, sometimes I’m probably more cantankerous than even that lot. God has lots of work left to get done in me.

As for today, the tasks at hand are more than enough to fill the day. It is a small delight to get a few of them accomplished, even if the bigger tasks never quite seem to come to completion. That’s life. I guess when the work is done, it’ll only be so for me because I’m dead. Then the incomplete tasks will be someone else’s.

As for today, it’s time to take delight in God’s gifts, starting with time, breath, and energy to work.