If God Is Not Involved In Every Aspect Of Life, Don’t Expect Success
1 Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
2 In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat-
for he grants sleep to those he loves.
Count the Cost
28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you,”
In everything we do, we should count the cost. Whether it is building a home, constructing a tower, starting a business, or any other endeavor, counting the cost is a natural and normal thing to do. We should determine if we are willing to (and able to) spend the necessary time, talent, and treasure to see the vision be completed. In this passage, the Psalmist indicates that it is foolish to even build a house if the Lord God Almighty isn’t involved in building it.
God owns everything:
‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty.
for every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills.
1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.
Time after time, God takes credit for OWNING all things, including US. When we fail to take this into account, we are in effect telling God that WE own ourselves, or our property, or our money, jobs, children, abilities, and anything else that we falsely lay claim to owning. God, instead of making us accountable for OWNING these thing, in His great wisdom and mercy, only makes us accountable for MANAGING these things. By doing so, GOD is responsible for ensuring that we, as managers, are provided with the proper resources to take care of HIS things. We, in and of ourselves, have no way to create our own resources to take care of anything!
[A lesson in futility, all sarcasm intended] If you ever want to take care of YOUR own things, feel free to create matter from nothingness. Then, form and refine it into whatever useful shape you desire, and God will certainly acknowledge that what YOU have created is YOURS, and not HIS.
Safe and Secure
Many people have home security systems installed to ward off burglars and would-be-thieves. Those who have money to spend on armed security guards do so as a heightened level of protection for the assets that they manage. The Psalmist rightly concludes that if God is not protecting the city (or even the home), those who watch for danger watch in vain.
Locks keep honest people honest – Unknown Author
If someone is determined enough, and they have sufficient resources, they will be able to thwart any security measures that are taken in order to obtain what they secretly (or openly) envy and desire. Security measures are meant to deter people from attempting to steal, or interrupt them in the act of stealing. But if God is watching over the house or the city, the thieves will surely look for other, easier marks, or be thwarted in their attempts.*
But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.
Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight – Origin Unknown
Even if you are watching over everything, day and night, you may not be fully prepared to deal with the resources that the enemy has brought to bear against you. The only sure way to know that you and what you manage are safe is to make sure that the Sovereign Lord of the universe is watching over what He has placed in your care.
Man has, for millennia, toiled under the sun (and with the right resources, under the moon as well…) to gain wealth. We work our fingers to the bone trying to make enough money to provide for ourselves and our loved ones. This is especially prevalent when evil people are at the helm of the country who secretly (and sometimes even OPENLY) desire to ruin the economy and makes the citizens of their dominion their slaves. When this happens, we slave away and have nothing to show for it, even when we are carefully planning finances and frugal in spending what little money is earned.
A famous song captured this quite succinctly:
…You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter, don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store… – Merle Travis, “Sixteen Tons“
The author of Ecclesiastes, Solomon, puts it this way:
22 What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? 23 All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.
And on the note of minds not at rest at night, it is God and God alone who gives us restful sleep at night. It is God who helps us to sleep soundly without worry. God tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and He will provide for our every need.
However, God does test us in our sleep through our dreams:
Though you probe my heart,
though you examine me at night and test me,
you will find that I have planned no evil;
my mouth has not transgressed.
In everything we do, we need to be mindful that it is God who gives us what we have, including our time, talent, and treasure. Everything belongs to God, and we have an obligation to God to acknowledge that everything, including us, are His. Management of what God has placed into our care is a great privilege and honor, and if God has chosen others to manage more desirable aspects of His creation, or greater portions of it, we should not envy our neighbor, for they will be held more accountable for what they do with it, and God provides to us exactly what He knows we are able to effectively manage. After all, He is the one who gave us whatever ability we have to manage in the first place!
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: Do I acknowledge God’s sovereignty and ownership of everything, including myself, in how I manage what God has placed me in charge?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You are gracious in Your dealings with me. Your mercies renew every morning, and You show me mercy and grace with exceedingly larger measure each day. Father, please help me to manage all that You have placed under my care with the utmost of respect and ability that I may honor You. Help me to be like Joseph, in whom his enemies could find no fault as he managed Pharaoh’s vast empire. Give me the correct attitude towards what I have been entrusted so that it will be used for Your honor and glory. Help me to turn from the worldly cultural teachings regarding acquisition, ownership, and management, and look to You and Your word for wisdom and ability so that You would be honored. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
*In a true story that was told at a church, there was a serial rapist on the loose in a city. No one could identify the man, because he brutally murdered all of his victims so no one could identify him. One night, a woman was walking down the street alone. The serial rapist saw her, but didn’t attack. She got a good look at him, especially his face. A few minutes later, another woman came down the street alone, and he abducted her in his usual way with his usual methods. When the police found the second woman’s body, they began to ask around, and discovered that the first woman had been in the vicinity of the area where the second woman had been abducted near the time of her abduction. When they questioned her, she was able to give an accurate description of the man that she saw, who the police later arrested and charged. During interrogation, when the police asked the man why he didn’t take the first woman, he declared in exasperation, “Are you kidding? There were two of the largest guys I had ever seen in my life, on her left and her right. I would have been a fool to try to take her with them around!” If God is protecting you, evil people will seek other marks.