In these times I hear a lot of talk about self-sufficiency. I have books with self-sufficiency in the title and I read a lot of blogs and web sites about self-sufficiency. It is right and well to live a more frugal and perhaps old-timey lifestyle. However, as I reflect on the term, I am sure that it is most definitely NOT my goal to be self-sufficient.
What do you mean? You might ask. You heard me correctly. I do not strive to be self sufficient. Do we have a garden? Yes. Raise chickens for both eggs and meat? Old hat. How about goats and rabbits? Certainly. Don’t y’all bake bread, make cheese, make yogurt, preserve foods, heat with firewood, and live in the country? Yes, indeed, and all of that brings us a lot of joy. Each item our family can make or do for ourselves and each new skill we learn gives me a thrill and satisfaction. I want our family to enjoy life to the fullest and enjoy being together as we work and steward our land.
You see, I must admit that I am as totally dependent as any city-dweller and therefore I can never be self-sufficient in the least. I am fully and totally dependent on my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is the one that gives me faith, life, salvation, a family, a will to live, strength to face tomorrow, a job, competence, desire and ability to do all the things I need to do. But also he provides every morsel of food and every last bit of energy I consume. In all areas of my life I must acknowledge that He is the one that provides for me. In and of myself I can do absolutely nothing (see John 15:5). As the Apostle Paul said, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being;” (Acts 17:28a).
Practically speaking, the more things I try to grow, the more I realize that they are provided by the Lord. When I buy a bag of frozen chicken at Walmart, I hardly give it a second thought or perhaps a quick prayer of thanks just as I am eating the prepared chicken. But when I raise a batch of broilers, feed and water them daily for eight weeks, move their cage daily, worry about them, protect them, then kill them, and finally process them for the freezer – I begin to realize that my food is not just a financial transaction. I become almost overwhelmed with thankfulness with this precious gift of food that He has provided. At any step in the process the Lord could allow the whole process to stop. I see that the Lord provides safety, protection from disease, growth, and life. Same with the garden and a myriad of other “self-sufficiency” tasks. I think that back in the old days there was a lot more awareness of the helplessness of man and of the greatness of God. I can’t help the chickens grow or the crops grow, but I lean on the one who can!
Only in the industrial age did man start thinking that he was going to provide for himself, and didn’t need the Lord to supply each and every need. Just flip a switch or pull a lever and the next need was met. Instantaneously. In less modern times man inherently knew he had to depend on a heavenly Provider, whether or not he had a relationship with Him.
I pray, “Lord Jesus please help me to never be self-sufficient in any thing but to be Christ-sufficient in all things.”
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;” - 2 Corinthians 3:5 KJV