God Uses Our Hands
The reality is, we're weak. We're not the smartest people in the room. We get emotional over stupid things. We eat the wrong foods. We waste time. We care too much about meaningless things, and not enough about meaningful things. Some days we win, but most days we don't. We run from the fight, flee the struggle, and are driven by fear.
We're driven by fear because we forget that all we have comes from the Father's hand. Even the way by which we receive earthly gifts, whether it's our job or family or other's help, is God's gift to us. He speaks His Word and gives us food and drink for our body. He speaks His Word and covers our nakedness and keeps us comfortable with clothing and shoes. He gives us the house and home where we live and sleep, to shelter and protect us from the things that would injure us. He gives us to our family, country, government, neighbors, and all our friends. Everything great or small, God's Word gives to us for our enjoyment of God's creation.
But, that's never enough for us. God's Word isn't enough. The Father's gifts aren't enough. We crave something else, something different, something better. This is why we're weak. This is why we get too emotional, eat the wrong foods, and care too much about meaningless things. We can't be content with all that God's Word gives to us. What the Father gives to us isn't enough. We forget He is the Giver of gifts, great or small. We fail to remember that no matter what we suffer in this life, whether sickness or sadness, tragedy or death, no evil can destroy us. With God's Word, with Jesus, no evil can harm us.
With God's Word who is Jesus, we never have so much that we forget Him or so little that we fall into worry, become hopeless, or selfishly attempt to get what we need that the Father does not give us in the way of gifts. But, what God’s Word gives to us is enough. That's why when we see someone in trouble, we can give them whatever it is they need: food, clothing, shelter, medical care, counseling, a job, a friend, or a Christian brother or sister who loves them without limit or measure. We who have been given so much are the way by which the Father cares for those in need.
As Dr. Luther once said, God could give us food and drink without us having to plow and plan, but He doesn't want to do it that way (Psalm 147, LW 14). Whether in the fields, garden, city, house, war or government, God gives His gifts. God gives every good thing to us, but not with the wave of His hand. God uses our hands to take the bull by the horns.
So work, Dr. Luther said, and let Him give the fruits. Govern, and let Him give the blessing. Fight, and let Him give the victory. Preach, and let Him win hearts. Take a husband or a wife, and let Him produce the children. Eat and drink, and let Him nourish and strengthen us. In all our doings, He is at work in us and through us.
God's Word is at work in our brother’s and sisters who are weak, eat the wrong food and worry too much about meaningless things. God's Word is at work in Christians who run from the fight, flees the struggle, and are driven by fear. God's Word is at work in all His baptized children who are in need, sick, hungry, thirsty, naked, prisoners, and a stranger to us. God's Word who is Jesus is there, just as He says, "Whatever you did for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did to me" (paraphrased, Matt. 25:40).
When we take care of each other, we end up caring for Jesus. Jesus gives Himself to us through the person who stares back at us. Jesus gives us the food and drink that sustains our body. He gives us the clothes and shoes that cover our nakedness and keeps us comfortable. He gives us the house and home in which we live and sleep, sheltered and protected from the things that would injure us. Jesus gives us to our family, country, government, neighbors, and all our friends. Everything great or small is given to us as a gift from God's Word who is Jesus for our enjoyment of God's creation, and more than that, so we may enjoy our brothers and sisters in Christ.
So, what if we are weak? Jesus is our strength. So what if we're not the smartest person in the room? Jesus is our wisdom. Sure, we get emotional over stupid things, but Jesus is our hope and comfort. Yes, we eat the wrong foods, but Jesus’ body and blood will sustain us. We waste time, but Jesus counts the hairs in our head and numbers our days. We care too much about meaningless things, and not enough about meaningful things, but Jesus gives our life its ultimate meaning: we are His brothers and sister, baptized children of our heavenly Father, today and always.