Doing Without


“I got tired of doing without!” John said.

John and I went to Bible School together, but he had to withdraw from school after he took his tuition money and spent it on clothes instead of his education. I remember thinking “How shortsighted!”

How many times though do we lose sight of the end goal and sacrifice the future for the sake of our present comfort because we grow tired of doing without?

Scripture:

Psalms 126:4-6 ESV

Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negeb!

Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!

He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

Observation:

The Negev (or Negeb) is desert—barren and unfruitful. There is no rain to leach away the nutrients, so the soil becomes incredibly fertile. When rain comes to the desert, it produces in great abundance.

Sowing is the key but much lack means sowing is hard. Every seed is ground into flour and eaten or sown back into the earth. To gain the most abundant harvest, you go hungry and do without.

Those who choose to go hungry and suffer lack so they may sow can look forward to an abundant harvest and days of joy ahead. Those who eat their seed produce no harvest and starve later.

The wise sow; they do without and live lean. They forage on weeds and roots while their harvest grows (Matthew 3:4). The Lord promises an extraordinary harvest when He restores all things (Psalm 126:1) at the Judgment Seat of Christ (Acts 3:20-21). But we will not sow if we do not believe the harvest is coming as God has promised (Hebrews 11:6).

Application:

Today began in frustration when I said to the Lord, “I am tired of doing without….”

My Sowing

I’ve been sowing the Word but not reaping anything and I’ve been doing without. We have two cars in need of repair and no money to repair them. My church costs me money to keep going (1 Corinthians 9:4). It has been over twenty years since I received a paycheck from my church! Where is my harvest?

I preach, teach and write. Every day, I invest hours in the Word and prayer. Who is hungry if I am not? I have needs too (1 Corinthians 9:2). What about my needs? Your Word reminds me that the Lord judges people based upon whether they value the Word of God or value things instead, but when people value things more than God, those who labor in the Word suffer and do without.

I know also that God hears the cries of the laborers in His fields and that God will restore all things because He is Just (James 5:4-5).  Still, I sometimes want to quit. I want to shake my head and say, “I’m tired of doing without” and go live like others and pursue the wealth the world offers. God has given me not one but two billion dollar business ideas but they would take me away from sowing the Word. I could not focus on the Word of God and prayer. I would have no time to write.

My Answer

Writing is sowing for me. I take what God has given me and I share it with others. It builds the Kingdom. But isn’t paying my bills and I grow frustrated and want to quit sowing and go get a job or launch a business. I told the Lord this morning before I opened my Bible to read, “I am tired of doing without; I will do whatever You tell me to do! Show me what I am doing wrong and what needs to change.”

He didn’t tell me I was doing wrong, I hear Him telling me to take my belt in another notch. “Sow in tears to reap in joy. Forage until the harvest.”

Yes, Lord. I will sow. If it isn’t enough to be my harvest, it is seed to sow.

Prayer:

Lord God, Father, I trust You. You are Just, True and Faithful. I put myself in Your hands and desire Your Word more than my necessary food (Job 23:12). Cause me to hunger, make me thirst that I may know man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Deuteronomy 8:3).

I will continue to go hungry and will continue to sow while my stomach growls in protest. What You ask, I will do. You gather my tears and record them (Psalm 56:8) so You can repay me with joy on that day I stand before You. Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.

I trust You and I give myself to You. I have come to do Your will (Psalm 40:6-8).

In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

 

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