We have a two-year-old grandson. He is constantly saying, “I can do it.” In most cases, he can’t. His parents protest. In some cases, they refuse to let him try, but in some cases, they figure it is time for him to try it. They measure the risk versus the reward. They plan for a worst case scenario, and determine that no one will be injured and the clean-up won’t be too difficult. After all, trying new things is a great way to learn.
For us older people, our biggest problem can be “I can do it.” God wants us to have faith in Him, but we want to save a little, charge ahead in business, and live among a large, wealthy family. Smart people feel that they can figure out exactly how to extricate themselves from any bind or plan so that there will not be any bind from which to be extricated. It may not happen as planned, but the true planner considers a variety of contingencies.
If you are relied upon at work, you have to be a ‘take-charge’ type person that can get the assigned tasks done, but even then, there are managers that trust their people and let them do their thing. Then there are micromanagers. Why is there such a variation in management styles? To some degree, it’s a matter of trust. Do you trust your people to get the job done correctly? In what areas of job performance do each one of the team members need a little spot checking?
Now let’s look to our relationship with God. When you ask God for your daily bread, do you trust that He will deliver, or do you take matters into your own hands? I can hear the protests already. You may say that God gave me abilities. You may say that you will use those abilities to His glory, but do you? When the boss gives out praise, do you differ to God, saying that I could not do the work without Him? Sorry, I’ve never heard those words spoken at work. You get so few compliments that you want to bask in the glory all by yourself. My military training led me to the mantra that praise should be passed to the people below and the cussing out had to be absorbed, protecting those below. The outside world, and too often in the military, it is the opposite.
I always prayed and tried to seek God’s guidance, although the project deadlines always loomed. Even then, I tried to conduct my business fairly, giving the customer everything they asked for at a reasonable price. I also did that extra mile to make sure that the customer was not just satisfied, but happy. That got repeat business but my main goal was being a servant to the customer and treating the customer and its employees as I felt Jesus would have done under the circumstances. I always left my contact information so that they could call with questions later. Some actually did, leading to “good will” projects to help the customer without charging them. Sometimes, we had to send them a proposal when the answer to the question needed more effort.
In spite of this attitude in the preparation of the work and the conduct of the work, I often relied on my own understanding. So many times, I questioned my own motivations and reliance upon God. Too many times, I said, “I can do it all by myself.” I start each day with prayer, devotions, and Bible reading, but when I look back over my career, I wonder how many times I thought I was doing it myself. When you are retired, you have the time to ask God, “What are we going to do today?” When you are on the clock, it is a hard discipline to get up earlier than would otherwise be necessary in order to wait for God to answer the question.
Thinking back to our grandson, I pray that someday, he’ll rely on God each day. Someday, I pray that he will look back on his life and smile at all of the blessings he received from God, because he waited for God’s answer to the question, “What are we going to do today?”