One of my favorite animals is the sandpiper. Even as a child, I loved watching them tease the tide as they searched for food buried in the wet sand. They never seemed distracted or weary as they persistently looked for hidden goodies. Proverbs 6
tells us to work like the wise ant who “It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” (v.7,8).
It is so easy to view hardships as one’s lot in life, assuming the ‘victim role’. I guess God does not want me to be financially secure… Since I was born with a disability, I am entitled to government support and should not be expected to contribute to society… They live in poverty because they choose that lifestyle… God would change their situation if it were his will…
Well, it’s not that simple. Sure, you could find a verse to support each of the statements above. Yet the overall message of the Bible reads differently. While scripture tells us God provides for all of his creatures in Psalm 145:15,16
- The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing, it also says if a man will not work, he shall not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10
). Though God does provide for the sandpiper, the bird has to work for the provision.
Another way we can assume a ‘victim role’ is by carelessly giving away that with which He has blessed us. This is a struggle for me personally. A couple of years ago, I bought a gorgeous bicycle. For months, I kept it inside my teeny cottage so it wouldn’t be affected by weather or condensation. I loved that bike and exercised regularly since biking is one of the few exercises that strengthens my legs without misusing my muscles. One day, a coworker told me she liked my bike… so after some thought, I gave it to her. I figured if God could sacrifice His Son for me, I could sacrifice my bike. Besides, God will bring me a better bike for my obedience. He never did. While the Bible tells us to love others, deny ourselves, and not be attached to material things, it also says to be responsible stewards. If we cannot be responsible with little, we will not be entrusted with much. The Life Application Bible explains there is a difference between generosity and good stewardship: “God wants us to help our friends and help the needy, but he does not promise to cover the costs of every unwise commitment we make. We should also act responsible so that our family does not suffer.”
Though God is ultimately in control, we are responsible to do our part. Instead of using Him to do our work, pay our earthly debts, and bail us out of trouble, we need to listen to our hearts for His voice. Our motivation must be a humbled, servant attitude to follow Jesus. He will tell us what to do. If he tells a sandpiper to dig for food in the wet sand, trust that he will show us our duties.