Daily D – 1 Chronicles 29:14
But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! 1 CHRONICLES 29:14 (NLT)
In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey builds on the work of Viktor Frankl. He writes, “In the space between stimulus (what happens) and how we respond, lies our freedom to choose. Ultimately, this power to choose is what defines us as human beings. We may have limited choices, but we can always choose. We can choose our thoughts, emotions, moods, our words, our actions; we can choose our values and live by principles. It is the choice of acting or being acted upon.”
Our Father in heaven is the Great Initiator. “We love each other because he first loved us,” (1 John 4:19). He first loved us. He is the giver of all good things. We are stewards, managers, responsible agents of all he entrusts to us. King David was turning over the kingdom to his son Solomon. He was setting him up for success. He provided all he would need to succeed. He instructed Solomon to know and experience God in a deep and abiding relationship. Everything good had come from God and ultimately belonged to God. Nothing has changed.
Our lives are not our own. We were bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:20). We do not live for ourselves alone. Ours is not to grab all the gusto we can before we step off the stage. Ours is to live responsibly.
Right now as I write these words, a tiny baby born prematurely to a woman who is giving away her third child, struggles with seizures in a children’s hospital due to the damage caused by the mother’s drug use during her pregnancy. A little life is on the line because of poor stewardship, the poor life management of a mother.
The point is not to denigrate the mom. Who knows the hell she has lived through to get to this point?
Harmful actions follow harmful decisions. We live in a pandemic where people argue about their freedom to not wear masks. It sounds to these ears like people have forgotten that freedom is not truly free without the accompanying virtue of responsibility. These two go together. They are inseparable. Freedom without responsibility is impossible. A better word for such a state is anarchy.
Cain asked God if he was his brother’s guardian (Gen. 4:9). God’s response indicates that yes, in fact, he was (vv. 10-12). Jesus certainly placed the onus upon us. “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
He also famously said, “Do to others whatever you would like for them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets,” (Matt. 7:12).
The Giver of All Good Things wants us to manage well all that he places in our hands. This includes money and property. This also includes our bodies and our relationships. Well-managed lives are blessings in themselves. Now, however, a tiny baby struggles to live through no fault of her own. Irresponsible people who have misused their freedom and who have abused others in doing so have brought this child into this world, have given her away, and have sentenced her to struggle for her life.
Misused freedom is abuse. Misused freedom is dangerous.
“You say, ‘I am allowed to do anything’—but not everything is good for you. And even though ‘I am allowed to do anything,’ I must not become a slave to anything,’” (1 Cor. 6:12).
Neither are we to enslave others with our “freedoms.” Nor are we to sentence to death others because of our “rights.”
Our Father in heaven wants us to live responsible lives. He wants us to live lives he can bless and use to bless others. Remember, every other life is every bit as sacred as our own.
Now we pray for a tiny baby. Now we pray for medical professionals. Now we pray for a family who two days ago was so overjoyed to receive this little one. Now we pray for a mother who lives with such desperation.
Let us pray.
I will live a responsible life.
Our Father, for this tiny baby, we seek your healing. We want her to live long and well. We want to enjoy her laughter and her rites of passage. We pray for this mother. We want her to find healing and hope. We want her to experience freedom from the control of dangerous drugs and evil people. We pray for the medical professionals. Give them wisdom for their work. We pray for Melissa, Philip, and Hudson whose world has been turned upside down first with delight and now with grief. Comfort them. Give them strength. Thank you for how they have already loved this little stranger and have given her a home and a name. To you who answer better than we know how to pray, please take care of everyone in this real-life drama. Layla belongs to you. May she whose name means Night experience many wonderful days. May she ultimately reside with you in that eternal Day. Hold this precious child in your healing hands. What more could we ask for? Amen.
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Ruth 1:20, 21 “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara,” she answered, “for the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has opposed me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” (CSB)