How easy it has become, in this day and age, for us to assume that we can provide for ourselves. We are taught to grow up, get an education, and get a job to provide for our needs. We do so, and are able to purchase what we need (as well as much of what we want) for our family. We sit in our homes full of beautiful things, thinking of what more we would like to have, both for ourselves and for our children, and contemplating how to work to acquire those things. Often, as we do so, we forget from whence all of it comes: from God Himself.
It is imperative that we act responsibly, that we work hard at the tasks and jobs given to us, and that we purchase what our family needs with some of the money that we receive as pay for our labor. It is even more important, however, that we remember (and remember to thank) God, who is the One actually providing everything for us. After all, the muscles and brains that we have to actually physically do the work; the food which fuels our bodies for the work; the means by which our bodies gain the energy they need from that food; even the very air that we need to acquire the oxygen that our bodies use to process the fuel so that we can do the work: all of this comes from God. Let us not forget that in order to even be able to “do” our own work, we need God.
The saints and many other holy people who have gone on before us have successfully remembered the Source of having their needs met. These people set an example to all of us who come after them of working hard, trusting God for His provision, noticing when He provided for them, and thanking Him for whatever He provided along the way. They may not have always had everything they wanted; indeed, many times, they did not even always have what we would consider to be a “need,” but they trusted – and thanked – God, anyway!
Here is one example of a holy man who had great need but trusted God completely to meet his needs, as well as his response to how God met his need:
“But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” This commandment of the Lord, which conveys a complete and total trust in Divine Providence, is the ascetic’s slogan and living practice.
Elder Cherubim from St. Basil (on Mt. Athos) was a carefree ascetic, filled with faith and hope. He was also a little hard of hearing, and one time he was isolated by snow in his impoverished hermitage for over a week without food. One day a stranger with a loaded mule knocked at his door. It was almost night. He asked whether he had time to reach St. Peter’s Cave before dark and then to return to St. Paul’s Monastery.
Ascetic Cherubim said to him, “My brother, there is so much snow that you won’t be able to get to St. Peter’s Hermitage even if you had ahead of you a whole day. Stay here tonight and you can go early tomorrow morning.”
The stranger replied, “Geronda, I have brought some food supplies which I would like to sell and then return to my work tonight. If you like, keep them, and give me a little money.”
“Since you are in a hurry, leave them here in this corner and I will give you the money which was given to me by a pilgrim.” He went to his room while the stranger was unloading the goods, but when he returned he was not there. He had disappeared. Father Cherubim looked outside and called, but there were neither footprints nor animal tracks in the snow. Then he realized that it had all been the visible energies of the invisible Divine Providence, which looks after everything. He entered his little chapel and thanked the Lord. With gratitude he place food supplies in his small storage space. They lasted him the whole winter. – from An Athonite Gerontikon
Every day, at every moment, we, too, are given the opportunity to trust that God will meet our needs as well. May we not miss the chance to trust Him! Even more importantly, let us notice His vast provisions for our lives, as He provides them, and give thanks to Him for all that He provides. Let us also remember to teach our children to trust, to notice, and to thank Him for everything which He has entrusted to our care.
“But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” ~ Matthew 6:33
Note: this week’s Facebook posts to this page will be related to God’s provision. Do you have a story to share about how He has provided for you? Or perhaps a saint’s (or someone else’s) story along these lines? Share it below, and let us encourage each other with God’s faithful provision!