Tom was a faithful guy. He loved the Lord and did his very best to serve God. One day, Tom was deep in a wonderful daydream. He was lost in the fantasy of winning the lottery. Oh, what he could do with a few million dollars.
“I could pay off my debts and buy a new car. I could also help the church build a new fellowship hall! I could support a lot of missionaries and the local food bank and shelter!”
His mind was awhirl with dollar signs and ways to spend it! He was so compelled by this dream that he began to pray and ask God to help him win the lottery.
Many times a day he made his petition to win the lottery. He reminded God that he could do a lot of good with the winnings, and also piously reminded God that the workman (himself) deserved his wages too!
Months turned to years, and nary a prayer time passed without Tom making his petition for lottery riches, but still God did not answer Tom’s unrelenting request.
One day Tom was distraught. In a fit of rage, he tore into God. “Father, I have been a faithful servant to you. I have helped the poor, gone to church, tithed 10% on the gross, supported short-term missions, and been a good guy. Still, you have seen fit to ignore the one thing I have asked you for many years now! Lord! I want you to answer my faithful prayer. I want to win the lottery!
With the last syllable out of his mouth, the air turned cold and dark clouds began to gather. Out of the dark thunder clouds, God boomed:
“Give me a break! At least buy a ticket!”
There is an old adage that goes something like “God helps those who help themselves” and while it sounds scriptural, it isn’t! Of course, the ditch on the other side is that we do nothing until God does it all! Both can be equally naive and catastrophic. As most of us have learned, that as with many things in life, we are quite helpless on our own and yet there are many examples of how we can cooperate with God. One big way we do this is to learn to say “Yes” to God.
In learning to take this open stance towards God at work in our lives, we quite naturally begin to move in the direction the Father is leading. The rule of thumb being that we do all that we can do and trust God for the rest. Likewise, with Peter stepping out of the boat to take a walk on water. This all seems to resonate with Paul’s encouragement to the Ephesians (ch. 6) that when we have done all we can, we stand! We then watch for the Father to do what only He can do!