Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
- Philippians 4:14-20
As for the Scripture, I have heard Philippians 4:19 called upon to provide for whatever a variety of people wanted to do. If God would bless their endeavors, and why wouldn’t He, because we are so wonderful, then God provides the strength, resources, etc. to get it done. Many church projects go awry based on that verse, because they demand of God; they never listen for God’s reply or figure out if their project is God’s will. I provided the paragraph containing the Scripture to show some context, but understand that the Apostle Paul was in prison when he wrote this letter. Thus, the context of God providing his needs is much different than a church group repairing someone’s roof. Yet, within the context of doing God’s will, not our will that is imposed upon God, God indeed provides.
This is another post based upon our younger granddaughter’s second-grade artwork. Of what the teacher gave back to her parents, this is her mother’s favorite. I sent an advanced copy so that Karina, our granddaughter, could read it. She thought it was a good story. She even got excited, which was unusual for her quiet, reserved manner. I told her that she was officially just like Norman Rockwell. Her artwork would be the cover for my “Saturday Evening Post.” I know, this post is coming out on Friday Evening, but I am retired!!! I was confused about what day it is before the lockdown. She had no idea what I was talking about anyway, but her mother had a good laugh. The fable below is a possible explanation for this unusual little dog.
A Cold and Anxious Wiener Dog, A Fable
Once upon a time, there was a wiener dog. Some call wiener dogs dachshunds, but this one was not so pretentious. The wiener dog’s name was Anna.
Anna was cold and anxious. She had no idea what was making her feel cold; she just was. She had no idea what was making her anxious; she just was.
She roamed her master’s home looking for something that would cure the feeling of being cold, but she could not reach the controls for the heat. She could not reach the door where the blankets were kept. She went to the utility room, where the dirty laundry was kept. All she found was a pile of clean socks. None of the socks matched. Her master must have thrown the socks without mates into a pile, hoping to find the mate in another load of laundry, but those socks had been there for over a year. She thought about how her master could have thrown these socks away. These socks had no mates. But, because her master fed her, gave her water, gave her a belly rub when she needed it, and provided a nice home for her, she was not going to judge her master’s lack of housekeeping skills.
But as she looked at these odd socks, she became more anxious than she had been before. This was a waste of good wool. She remembered when she was a puppy that she would chew something and chewing something made her less anxious. She eyed the socks. The master had not noticed this pile of socks for a long time. He would not notice if she chewed on a couple of the socks. She dug her teeth into one of the socks and ate the toe clean off. She did the same to the next sock. She thought of quitting, but the thought of not chewing something made her even more anxious. So, she ate the toe from another sock and then another and then another.
She became exhausted. She fell down onto the pile of ruined socks and began to cry. “Oh, dear me,” she said, “I have ruined my master’s odd socks, and I am still cold. I am still anxious. What have I done? The master will be angry with me. The master might throw me out of the home. The master might think that I might eat the shirts and pants next. Now, I am more afraid than I was before.”
But then the wiener dog heard a voice, “Anna, what have you done?”
Anna was even more frightened. This was not the voice of her master. What was happening? She decided that honesty was the best approach with an unknown voice. She said that she had eaten the toes out her master’s discarded socks. She was afraid that the master would not like that. She had chewed the socks because she was cold and anxious. Now she was just as cold and even more anxious.
The voice asked, “What are you lying on?”
“The ruined socks,” Anna replied.
“I know that,” said the voice, “but what is left of the socks?”
Anna said, “Everything except for the toe. Is it not obvious?”
The voice laughed, “But is it not obvious what is left?”
“As I said before,” said Anna, “ruined socks.”
“But are they ruined?” asked the voice.
“Of course, they are,” said Anna. “If the master were to wear these socks, toes would stick out. The socks are nothing more than a tube of wool.”
The voice was enjoying this immensely. His laughter filled the room as he said, “Exactly! And what can you do with a tube of wool?”
Anna was getting a little miffed at this voice. She said, “If you are some great oracle, you seem to ask more questions than you answer. What do you do with a tube of wool?”
The voice refused to simply answer the question. The voice said, “I ask questions because the answers are within you. What does your master do when cold and wants to go outside?”
Anna sighed. She had not talked to anyone that asked so many questions, but she finally thought of an answer. Anna answered, “The master puts on a coat, and when it is really cold, the master wraps a scarf around the neck.”
The voice then asked, “And is a scarf around your neck really like a tube made of wool?”
Anna started wagging her tail for the first time that day. She had figured out what the voice was saying to her. She could crawl into enough of the socks to keep her warm, but then her anxiety caused her to second guess her thought. “Wearing the socks will make me warm, but I am still anxious. What about that?” she asked.
The voice said warmly and calmly, “Many folks get anxious about fears that really are not there at all. Does your master give you food and water?”
“Has your master ever failed in doing that?”
“Does you master give you a nice home?”
“Does your master give you nice belly rubs?”
“Yes.” At this point, Anna thought that this voice had been watching over her for a long time. The voice seemed to know everything.
Then the voice asked, “Could it be that the only thing that made you anxious was that you were cold?”
Anna had to think about that question. She did not know the answer.
The voice said, “Your master provides your needs. He was not aware that you were so cold, or your master would have provided. Maybe you should try on the socks and find out if your only fear was due to a problem that you had not talked to your master about, being cold. Can you try that?”
Anna slipped one sock on after another. When she had gotten into every sock that she had chewed, she felt warm indeed. She felt comforted. As she began to run around the house, seeing if the socks would feel okay as she moved around, her master entered the house.
“Anna, what have you done?” her master asked.
Anna thought she was in trouble.
But her master picked up Anna gently and gave Anna a hug. Her master said, “You have made a wonderful sweater, with so many different colors. I did not know that you were cold, but you are such a smart little wiener dog that you figured out how to get warm all on your own. Let me wrap you in a blanket for a little while. Then, I will take these socks and sew them together. That way, you will have your own sweater any time you feel cold.”
Anna wagged her tail even more than she did before. She was warm. She had a master who took care of her. And she was never anxious again.
Go to God in prayer. He loves you. He hears you. And He knows your needs.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.