In fundraising, in sales — in pretty much all of life, for that matter — we who consider ourselves people of faith frequently wrestle with the question, “How much is up to God and how much is up to me?” Am I the master of my destiny or am I completely under the control of my Creator? Sure, I can make my plans, but at the end of the day am I 100% responsible for the outcome — or is it closer to zero?
There’s a “passivist believer” attitude that essentially says, “If God is in control then nothing is really up to me. I can get by with the bare minimum.” God is going to do what He’s going to do anyway, so why make the effort? Seems to me it’s too easy to use this level of so-called “trust” as an excuse for detachment and disengagement. I don’t think God calls us to passivity.
At the opposite end of the God/me spectrum is the “activist believer” attitude that essentially says, “It’s really up to me, and I don’t truly expect God to step in at all.” Oh, we might go through the motions of praying about decisions, mostly for appearance’s sake, but when it comes to trusting God the “activist believer” sometimes behaves like what someone has labelled a functional atheist. Our so-called trust is all form and no substance.
One of my favorite proverbs sheds light on this God/me question. It’s Proverbs 21:31 which in the NIV says, The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord. You Bible scholars out there may tell me I’m using a faulty exigesis here, and you may be right, but to me this verse helps clarify things. It says, yes, I do trust God fully and absolutely for the outcome of anything I undertake. But I have a big responsibility: I’m supposed to get the horse ready. That means I think, I plan, I work. The end result is fully in God’s hands but preparation is my responsibility.
Are you making plans for your day, your week, your year, your life? I’m doing the same…and I’m gradually learning how to trust God and to get busy. So excuse me…I’ve got to go get the horse ready.