Monday, September 12, 2011

The Burden of the Future - On Your Shoulders or on God's Shoulders?

       Hiram and Henry were brothers.  They grew up on a farm.  When they were grown the farm was divided between them, and they lived beside each other all the days of their lives.  They were not jealous of each other, and they were very content with their lives, their land, and their families.  They lived a life close to nature and the four seasons (summer, winter, spring, and deer season). 

They fought pestilence, drought, floods, near famine, late spring, early frosts, wild animals, and all the things that go with farm life.  They were both committed Christian men who took seriously doing the things God said to do.  Following the instructions in the Bible regarding the way a Christian is supposed to live was the measure by which they made all decisions. They were healthy men, able to put in the long hours required to care for a farm.  To all but the most observant person, the brothers were almost living parallel lives.  Everything was the same, or so it appeared. But Hiram was filled with faith, and Henry was continually beset by doubts.

 All historical eras and various life styles are perilous at best.  But in living a farm life, the perils are definitely more obvious. If Hiram and Henry didn’t plant a crop, care for it, harvest it, and store it properly, their lives were in jeopardy.  In city life, if Olsen’s Mercantile doesn’t have what you want, then you go over to Granny Smith’s General Store and get it there.

 Today, in the United States there is no obvious danger of hunger or even homelessness for most people.  The government has stepped in and provided for those in need.  Yes, some people may go hungry.  Others go homeless.  However, they do have options not available to those living a primitive life long ago.  Some money is given to them by the government for one reason or another.  How they spend it is often not wise, but never the less, they had the money to spend on something for themselves.  The burden for the future of these people has been shouldered by the government.  Those living off the government look to the government for their care.  The government is an obvious derelict in providing good care for its ‘children’.  They never have enough. 

 There are also working people who shoulder the burden of their own future.  They work hard, invest in items supposed to provide an income for their future, avoid over spending, do without, and behave in a manner considered careful and even wise. They expect things to go in the way they have planned, but they do worry a little (or a lot) that their hard work won't pay off.

 Other people also work just as hard, plan just as carefully, do without things they would like to have, and also watch their investments expecting them to grow.  However, this group of people is like Hiram.  They take it one day at a time and do the best they can do.  They have put the outcome in the Lord’s hand.  The burden of their future is placed in the hands of God Almighty.  If the economy shrinks instead of grows, that is also in the Lord’s hands.  They have done what they could do.  God’s job is to do what is best. People like Hiram count the day successful if they have done their best that day.  People like Henry don’t know if they have been successful or not until they see the outcome.

 Whether one shoulders the burden of the future themselves, or places it in the hands of God, there is still work to be done.  It may be exactly the same work, the same toil, the same ups and downs, but the attitude is different.  The worry of how will the work pay-off is on the shoulders of the worker in one instance, and on the shoulder of God with the other worker. 

 In which category would you place yourself?  Probably we could all honestly put ourselves closer to the middle than we would like to admit.  We may fully rely on God 30 minutes out of every hour.  The other 30 minutes we are like Henry, worrying all the time.

 Hiram focused on his personal actions.  The future outcome of his labor was on the shoulders of God.

Henry focused on the outcome of his actions.  The burden of the future was on his own shoulders.

 A misplaced concept of who holds the future robs the believer of peace of mind.

It gives the feeling of walking in the dark without light to make the path clear.

It robs us of joy.

 Today, even Christians are not only taking the burden of the future on their own shoulders, they are placing that dread burden on the shoulders of children and the lost.  They are buying into ‘saving the planet’ through personal sacrifice and setting a new paradigm by which everyone should live. We can expect foolish notions to fill the heads of the lost souls. 

Lost people cannot see the power of God. 

They do not know that He is the:

Creator

Savior

Sustainer

Of the earth.



They lost do not know that the Bible is:

Inerrant

Sufficient

Relevant


We cannot expect them to understand what blessings God has for those that love Him. 

Christians are supposed to know better. 


Consider Hiram and Henry.

Both men were never wasteful of what God provided for them through their farm and the work they did.  They appreciated what they had.  They took care of what they had because they had worked very hard for it.  Not being wasteful is being a good steward of the earth on which we live.  They worshipped the Creator, but they appreciated the good land the lord had given to them.

 Both Hiram and Henry understood that in order to keep their land fertile they had to care for the land.  This included fertilizing the land with compost from the chickens and cows.  They sometimes grew clover or alfalfa for the purpose of cutting it and plowing it into the soil of the gardens. When they did that they let the field or garden rest for a year.  They wanted to be good stewards of their land,

 Both Hiram and Henry understood that wild meat could only be hunted at certain times of the year.  They knew that a good supply of wild meat required that animals be given time to breed new animals and grow.  Fishing was the same.  They knew if they fished all the fish out of the rivers or lakes or ponds, there would be no fish for the next year.  They were good stewards and did their best to provide a food source for the future.

 Through all their lives Hiram and Henry tried to do what was right to please the Lord.  Henry carried burdens he didn’t have to carry because he worried all the time.  Hiram made a continual conscience effort to cast all his burdens on the Lord and let the Lord carry them for him. 

 Neither Hiram nor Henry every worried a minute about the saving the planet.  They both knew that burden was far too big for anyone to carry.  They both worried about pleasing God.  Through pleasing God, they automatically cared for the ground and the animals. 

 It is always right to do the things Christ says to do.  It is always wrong to step outside the boundaries for living that the Lord has set.  Sadly, a Christian can be like Henry.  They can miss the blessings of God through worry and doubt while still living within Biblical boundaries.  Do your best to avoid missing the blessings of peace that God has for his children.

 John 14:27 says, ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’

 I feel sorry for Henry.  He missed the blessing of God’s peace because of worry and doubt.

Hiram is a super hero.  He lived his life resting in the Lord and taking life one day, or even one minute at a time.   He put the burden of the future on the Lord.

 Where are your burdens today?  Are they on your shoulders, or are they on God’s shoulders?

It may not make a difference on regarding what the burdens are, but it will make a difference in how much joy is in your life.

 Here are some Bible verses and a song that will encourage those wanting to be more like Hiram and less like Henry. 

 Hebrews 13:5 - Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.  (Remember the song ‘His Eye is on the Sparrow   http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/h/i/hiseyeis.htm )

 Isaiah 41:13 -  For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

 Psalm 46:1 - God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

 Matthew 11:28 -  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

 1 Peter 5:7 - Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

 Psalm 147:3 - He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

 There are of course many more verses that would go well with this article.  Read your Bible and underline verses that are helpful to you today.  I do it all the time.  My oldest Bible is my ‘comfort Bible’.  It is sort of like comfort food.  I read that one when I feel a little down.  Everything underlined reminds me of different times and situations that the Lord helped me get through.  Some of the underlined verses remind me of things I believe the Lord is yet going to do for me. 

 I liked several songs for this article, so I am putting links to several songs and one song with verses.

 I Am Thine O Lord
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jb_2uL0LLhY

All the Way My Savior Leads Me
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekUELQCnQlM

Trust and Obey
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmGb3zRv6xE

(This one is really good to help to encourage Christians to trust the Lord – trust drives out doubt and worry.)

 Come Unto Me
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlHaymHNpek


(Come, no longer tarry, I your load will bear,

 Bring Me every burden, bring Me every care)



 I KNOW WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bRV3J4n8cc


I know not why God’s wondrous grace

 To me He hath made known,

 Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love

 Redeemed me for His own.



Refrain



But I know Whom I have believ├Ęd,

 And am persuaded that He is able

 To keep that which I’ve committed

 Unto Him against that day.



I know not how this saving faith

 To me He did impart,

 Nor how believing in His Word

 Wrought peace within my heart.



Refrain



I know not how the Spirit moves,

 Convincing us of sin,

 Revealing Jesus through the Word,

Creating faith in Him.



Refrain



I know not what of good or ill

 May be reserved for me,

 Of weary ways or golden days,

 Before His face I see.



Refrain



I know not when my Lord may come,

 At night or noonday fair,

 Nor if I walk the vale with Him,

 Or meet Him in the air.



Refrain