A Long Haul
This summer, I spent 10 hours driving from Denver to Kansas City. As a kid, I made this same drive, and it seemed like an eternity locked in a steel box. Somehow, it’s not nearly so horrible at 43, but it’s still not fun.
There isn’t a lot to do, and there isn’t a lot to look at – mile after mile after mile of farmland. During one of these miles of brown field, something stood out to me. An hour or two outside of Denver the landscape is less flat and more rolling. As I looked out on the horizon, a few hills were speckled with darker dots of brown.
Spread out among these thousands of hills were hundreds if not thousands of cows.
The Cattle on a Thousand Hills
This scene reminded me of a passage in Psalms.
“O my people, listen as I speak.
Here are my charges against you, O Israel:
I am God, your God!
I have no complaint about your sacrifices
or the burnt offerings you constantly offer.
But I do not need the bulls from your barns
or the goats from your pens.
For all the animals of the forest are mine,
and I own the cattle on a thousand hills -Psalm 50:7-10
Verse 10 may be familiar to you. It’s quoted a lot in reference to the vast resources at God’s disposal. It’s not really the point of this scripture though…read on…
I know every bird on the mountains,
and all the animals of the field are mine.
If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for all the world is mine and everything in it.
Do I eat the meat of bulls?
Do I drink the blood of goats? -Psalm 50:11-13
God doesn’t need our stuff – money, offering, time, praise. He owns it all. We can’t give anything He doesn’t already have. Further, He doesn’t need anything we have to offer. He can find what we have among all the resources at His beckon call.
So what does He want?
Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God,
and keep the vows you made to the Most High. -Psalm 50:14
He wants the thing He can’t have in any other form. God wants me. He wants you. When we bow in thankfulness, and when we honor Him with obedience, He gets me and you.
Here’s the beautiful thing about giving God ourselves. We receive His resources in return.
Then call on me when you are in trouble
and I will rescue you,
and you will give me glory.” -Psalm 50:15
As a result of our thankful spirit, God rescues us in our trouble.
What a thankful spirit looks like.
This Sunday, driving back from Denver, I was more than observing fields, cows, cornfields and wind farms. I was contemplating my church expanding to two services. I was still short several volunteers. It’s easy, in these times, to do one of two things:
- Rely on my own resources – networks, people, email lists, etc.
The image of the cattle spread out among the eastern Colorado hills reminded me to be thankful. They reminded me that God’s resources are limitless. They reminded me to trust in God.
Here’s the beautiful thing. While spots remained open, and holes needed filled, that week people contacted me out of the blue. God honored my offering of thankfulness. He knew my need and responded with His rich resources.
Over the course of the last couple of months, more people have come forward. More people have responded to God’s call. God’s arm is never short!
God will do the same for you. He’s no respecter of people. He doesn’t look at my status as a pastor as any different than yours as a teacher, carpenter, coach, sales rep, lawyer, manager or stay at home parent.
No matter where you find yourself today. Choose thankfulness. Eventually resources will be opened up to you.