When Uncle Sam Shuts Down
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I didn't realize all the things that our uncle pays for. I mean, Uncle Sam, that is. Well, you know again, a while back they were talking about a government shutdown. It's happened before; it will probably happen again when there's political deadlock in Washington. But as they talked about it, they started to reveal all the things that wouldn't happen if the government shut down; all the people and the services that would feel the pain if Uncle Sam didn't get some money. For example, it looked like America's military and government workers might not get paid, and they're doing more things for us than we ever realized, and they wouldn't be seeing their paycheck on time. It looked like even our National Parks were going to be affected. Can you imagine Smokey the Bear not getting paid?
You know, beyond all the convoluted politics, I'm actually thinking about times when our personal supply (my wife and I) was shut down. Like the time the ministry we worked in...well, they couldn't pay us. We were six months behind in our salary; we were two years behind in getting our expenses reimbursed. My wife worked for a Christian organization who actually had some "Chicken and Stars" soup left over from some summer camps. Well, that kept us going for a little while, although I have to tell you, I haven't eaten any "Chicken and Stars" since then. We reached the point where our fridge was literally empty. Well, no, wait a minute...almost empty. There was this half bottle of ketchup. We racked our brains; we really couldn't think of a good ketchup recipe. There was no food and there was no money to buy any.
Now, that morning we prayed and we committed our need to our Heavenly Father again and we went off to work. We got home that night, the fridge was still empty. Well, again, almost empty. Did I mention the ketchup? Suddenly, the doorbell rang. I opened the door and I met a miracle. Up the stairs came one lady after another, carrying a big bag of groceries. They didn't know anything about our need, but their women's missionary group was having a meeting and they up and decided, "You know, let's have a pantry shower for the Hutchcrafts." It might as well have been God Himself coming up the stairs with all that food.
I can't begin to tell you all the times and all the ways that amazing God has shown up when the usual supply line shut down. It's true that God often, even usually, supplies through our job and our paycheck. But there are those times when that faucet is suddenly turned off. That's when God has said to me, "Ron, did you think it was your work or your boss that was providing for you all this time? That was just one of My many delivery systems. I'm your Provider, my son, and I never run out of resources."
Well, our word for today from the word of God shows us that Jesus was pretty plain about this. Matthew 6:31-33 says, "So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
If you have put your trust in Jesus, you belong to the God who Jeremiah said has "compassions that never fail. They are new every morning" (Lamentations 3:22-23). He's the faithful Father who is infinitely creative in how He meets our needs: bread from heaven, water from rocks, shoes that don't wear out in the wilderness, a lunch that feeds a multitude, food delivered daily by ravens...or by ladies from the church.
When the usual supply line suddenly shuts down, it might be a good idea to open the windows for the ravens.
Distributed by Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.