If most of us are brutally honest, we’ve likely ascribed to the following formula at some point: minimal effort + maximum reward= a good life! This is a big reason lotteries and slot machines are so popular. You put in a little (a few bucks), but have the opportunity to win millions. Little input, massive reward. I use a similar principle with shopping. I seldom buy something the first time I see it. Instead, I do my research to ensure that I spend the least amount of money to get the best possible product (which the internet has made much easier). Many people apply this same principle to school, jobs, and even relationships. They put in the least amount of effort necessary to reap their desired reward. Unfortunately, we also do this when it comes to our faith. We want big and amazing things to happen in our lives, yet often we don’t want to put in a lot of effort in order to reap those rewards. When our wants and desires are not quickly met we can become frustrated, wondering why God has not blessed us yet. We fail to realize that God’s plan is for us to put our faith into action, even when it it difficult.
There is an amazing story involving the prophet Elisha in 2 Kings. The army of the Israelites and their allies becomes lost in the desert for seven days. They are soon dying of thirst, and have no conceivable source of water.
Thus says the Lord, ‘I will make this dry stream bed full of pools.’ For thus says the Lord, ‘You shall not see wind or rain, but that stream bed shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, you, your livestock, and your animals.’ This is a light thing in the sight of the Lord. He will also give the Moabites into your hand, and you shall attack every fortified city and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree and stop up all springs of water and ruin every good piece of land with stones.” The next morning, about the time of offering the sacrifice, behold, water came from the direction of Edom, till the country was filled with water. 2 Kings 3:16-20
God could have easily opened up the skies and sent a rain, but instead he asks the Israelites to participate in this miracle by digging ditches. Only God could send the water, but first the Israelites needed to have faith and do the work to be prepared for God to work. We too need to have faith in God, do the right things (righteousness), and to trust God with the results. We cannot expect if we live a life that lacks faith and righteousness that everything we want will simply fall from the sky. Like the Israelites we have to first have faith in God’s plan and do the work He asks of us. We do that work by having faith, actively following God’s ways, and trusting God with the ultimate results. Let’s stop looking for the easy solutions in life, but instead enlarge our faith and our works for our awesome God.