The Privilege of Providence

We take far too many things for granted today. We wake up in the morning and do not consider how that can even happen—and be refreshed. We enjoy running water, easy access to food of all kinds, indoor plumbing, instant communication around the world, advanced warning of and preparedness for many natural disasters, personalized music choices, electric lighting, a closet full of clothes, mobile phones, central air and heating—the list could go on and on! And while some people do not share all of these things, they likely have a list just as impressive in its own way. In fact, from the view of history, most of the things cited above are extremely new to civilization. In some places it has become common to use all these items as evidence of some inherent character flaw in society. Society has its problems, but the items listed above are not among them. Instead, they offer evidence of just how blessed we are. And that is why we cannot afford to take them for granted.

Three thousand years ago, before any of the aforementioned luxuries existed, David recognized this same principle and turned to God as the One worthy of praise (Psa. 65:1-2). And even then David saw that the greatest blessings he enjoyed were God’s willingness to forgive sin and accept worship on His terms (Psa. 65:3-4). He had confidence in God’s righteousness, salvation, and help because He took the time to notice what God had already done in His creation (Psa. 65:5). David looked at the mountains and was awed by them (Psa. 65:6). He looked at the seas on either side of the land and saw a God in control of them (Psa. 65:7), as He is over all the earth (Psa. 65:8). He recognized that man does not provide the water and the grain that provides for farmers to grow food. God does (Psa. 65:9-10), and He does so for man’s benefit and for the land’s (Psa. 65:11-12). He saw firsthand how God provides animals for food, as well as crops, and also provides what is necessary for them to grow and flourish (Psa. 65:13). And all these things remain true today.

Some children honestly believe that their food comes from a grocery store. They have no concept of a farm or dairy. Such reports often receive attention in social media, sometimes to make fun of the child, sometimes to make fun of the schools, or sometimes to expose a problem. But many people today cannot see that all of this and more actually comes from God who blesses and blesses again. He chose not to care for us miraculously throughout the ages but chose to work providentially through nature, but that does not negate the love, care, and attention that went into His provision, and it should not dampen, in any way, our thankfulness to Him. David saw these things as worthy of praise and further evidence of what God can do for us spiritually. We would do well to do the same.


Many Thanks

We have now been at Granbury Street for twelve years. That means that the upcoming high school graduates were in kindergarten when I arrived. Throughout that time period, we have done a lot of different things together. Youth devotionals, visitation groups, Bible Search, Open Forum, Gospel Meetings, Singings, Summer Series, Family Summer Series, trips with families, Green Valley Bible Camp, more than a thousand different sermons, and a number of various studies have been with us through that journey together. Not everyone is still around that greeted us that first Sunday, but many others are now with us filling some of those roles and taking on different responsibilities. However, while some of our activities and events change, and while some of the families have also changed, your generosity and kindness and my thankfulness for you have not changed. I would like to take a moment to expand briefly on the comments I made Sunday night at our annual Christmas party.

My family and I have been the recipients of such wonderful generosity over the years from this congregation. And certainly every year at this dinner has been special. But tonight, in the midst of your generosity, I am thinking about other things too. I am so thankful for how generous you have been with your friendship. It means so much to me that I can look over the crowd and see not only brethren, but friends—family—even when the lessons are difficult and times are hard. I am thankful for how generous you have been with your patience. I am probably more aware of my weaknesses than anyone—except perhaps Tracy. And I am thankful for the opportunity to grow and improve. I am thankful for how generous you have been with your encouragement. You probably will never understand how important that is—what prayers and just a few words of appreciation for a class or sermon can mean. I was reminded of this again both in the morning and evening on Sunday. I am thankful for how generous you have been with your time. People have volunteered their time to step in and help with any number of things we needed—more often than we can count. I am thankful for how generous you have been with your support—especially through health issues and  various other trials. We have received so many gestures of kindness that it is impossible to list. Truthfully, we cannot remember them all, but we do remember our brethren who have come to our aid so often. I am thankful for each of you and all of you—for all of these reasons, and more.

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