Many people today are moved by life’s practicality and logical reasoning.
A parent pushes her daughter to marry an unbelieving foreigner to alleviate their financial struggle. A father will choose to leave his family for a better future, leaving his wife to oversee and discipline their children. A believer will choose to cremate her loved one because it’s cheaper than the traditional burial. A person will do everything to work abroad because the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Are we pulling the plug on our loved one who lies confined in the ICU because our finances is dwindling?
Let me be quick to say that I am not here to judge the motive of every person who goes abroad, cremates their loved ones, or even works abroad. If their underlying motive is in connection with God’s righteousness and God’s kingdom then feel free to follow God without any condemnation. Therefore, let us examine why we are doing what we are doing. Is money the deciding factor or the wisdom of God through the authority of the Scripture?
As a believer, we use the word “wisdom” many times under the guise of human practicality. A Christian will sometimes say, “You need to use your God given wisdom because this is not already practical and logical. You are wasting effort, time, and money.” This becomes evident especially if finances are already involved. It’s not bad to be practical because God has given as reason and logic to assess things. However, we need to assess if our practicality is already drowning our faith in the Lord, that worry and fear is replacing faith and trust.
When Lot chose the good place to live in because of the river in the Jordan Valley, that is being practical.
When Abraham went down to Negeb because there was a severe famine in the land where God has brought him, that is being practical.
When Saul gave David a heavy armor to battle Goliath, that is being practical.
When Saul also made the offering himself because Samuel was not around, that, too, is being practical.
When Peter stepped out of the boat to walk on water towards Jesus that is unreasonable.
When Joshua led his army against armies of Jericho using only the seven trumpets of ram’s horns that was very illogical.
However, becoming practical and logical is not always right especially if our reasoning involves our selfish agenda like our precious time, our physical strength, and our hard-earned money instead of what the Lord is leading us to do. When Abraham was asked by God to offer his son Isaac at Mt. Moriah, he did not think it practical to bring a young sheep or goat, just in case God changes His mind. He believed God will provide, and He did provide which is a ram caught in a thicket. In fact, he is still in faith that God will provide and even if something happens to Isaac, he still believes God is able to raise him up.
And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. – Genesis 22:7-8
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. – Hebrews 11:17-19
When the wealthy people gave any amount of what they have to the treasury box they know this is practical because it’s only a small portion of their riches. But when the widow gave her two copper coins this is because God told her to do so and Jesus was pleased. They may have sacrifice a precious amount by giving to the Lord but did they really obeyed the Lord? Haven’t the Lord said, “obedience is better than sacrifice?”
I am reminded of a story of a wife who’s husband for seven months met a major motorcycle accident in 2011 that left him comatose. The doctor explained that ninety percent of patients in this condition did not fully regain consciousness so she was encouraged to pull the plug anytime. However, she refused, then decided to take her husband home under a vegetative state and mechanical ventilator. She took care of her husband and raised up support from different people to meet the demands of expenses. The Lord honored her faith because three months after they left that depressing place her husband woke up from comatose. After four years of continuous therapy and exercise, her husband slowly recovered by doing push-ups and biking.
I am not saying that this will happen always. If the husband did not recovered then it’s really the Lord’s will because she already did everything she can. At least, it’s not money, time, energy, or her own agenda that prevented from helping her husband to recover. It’s her faith in God and His will be done that really matters.
When the Lord Jesus Christ was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, the most logical and practical thing to do is to abandon the mission of saving His creation. Why would He go through this sacrifice in the first place when He can even live without us. But because of His love for us He said, ”
“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” – Luke 22:42
Again, I am not saying that being practical is always wrong. We just have to weigh our major decisions if it is really coming from the Lord or ourselves. Once you make a decision based from what the Scripture says, then let us not feel condemned and be guilty about it. I don’t know your present emotional and financial condition but I can assure that the Lord’s grace is sufficient for all of us.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 1 Corinthians 12:9-10