We Plow the Fields and Scatter

They say that it isn’t what you know, but rather who you know. Connections are everything. You can have all the knowledge that you like, but unless you know what to do with it and really, with whom to do it, it may be of little value to you. In addition, one must be in the right place at the right time. Sprinkle in a dose of dumb luck and you’re in business.

Many people go through life entrenched in this sort of thinking, taking little responsibility for the outcome of their lives. You see, we’ve all got our destiny that must have been predetermined based on the way that the stardust fell on our primordial soup some 400 billions years ago.

It should go without saying that I don’t necessarily buy into this. You can sprinkle all the stardust you like, but I’ve got something else up my sleeve: divine intervention. Sometimes, and probably more often than we realize, God is acting on our behalf. Sometimes, it is for our immediate benefit, and sometimes it is for our eternal benefit. After all, He will rebuke those who he loves. But as I said, it’s not always about punishing us and getting us in line. God does far more than set fire to us to burn the dross from our heart. God love for us isn’t just poured out in Heaven.

I feel as if I’m experiencing some sort of divine appointment right now. Some time ago, I got my hands on a huge collection of eBooks, mostly old Wesleyan Methodist stuff. This is not the mealy-mouthed, cowardly sort of Methodism that we’re mostly acquainted with today. These guys were hard on sin. They stood for something. In many ways, they birthed the modern-day Pentecostal movement (not the snake-handling weirdos with long dresses and buns in their hair…). Truly, this stuff is a huge part of my spiritual heritage, and has impacted millions of people for hundreds of years.

Now, the owner of this collection is looking at expanding its reach. We’re talking about an online library that can be accessed by students of the Word internationally. These books have the potential to reach into places where traditional books cannot go, and be produced in a format that cannot be destroyed by water or fire, cannot be apprehended by restrictive governments, and can be multiplied a thousand times effortlessly. And I get to be a part of it.

There are three factors at play here. The first is truly knowing the right people. I’ve been emailing back and forth with the owner of this collection for nearly two years now, and we’ve talked a bit about this project, but nothing came of it. Recently, he has been in contact with a professor of a Christian university to coordinate this distribution. I am now in contact with both of these men. Truly, this is a case of knowing the right people.

However, it is worth noting that I’ve been making a run at selling eBooks privately for the past three years. Much of what I’ve done has been in the public domain market, being books that have no copyright and are therefore free to distribute. I’ve also done some work with established publishers, helping them convert their physical libraries into digital formats. This has been orchestrated entirely by what I know.

Now the third factor, that both outweighs and coordinates the other two, is divine appointment. I have no doubt that God has brought me to the attention of these two men, and together we can touch the world. Never in a million years could we have orchestrated such a meeting. There would be no way for this to have worked out so beautifully by the hands of man.

The reality is that sometimes we can do the best we can and actually accomplish some pretty great things. However, there are things that need to be done that are simply beyond our means. Too often, we find the end of ourselves before we find the end of our problem. Then what? I’m a believer that we should not ever get to the end of ourselves in this matter. We would do well to avoid ourselves completely. I don’t want to start with me and run to God as a last resort. That isn’t faith. It’s desperation. But if we can trust God to be our source when we can adequately be our own source, then when it comes time that we have no choice but to trust God, it is natural.

Can you change the world without God? In the broadest sense of the words, yes. But seeing as you are a unique creation of God, everything you accomplish is only because of God’s hand in your life anyhow. You wouldn’t exist apart from God’s will, so nothing that you can accomplish is truly your own. Everything you create is indirectly created by God. Everything you touch is indirectly touched by God. Every good thing you have ever done and ever will do is only because of the touch of God on your life.

We would do well to acknowledge the hand of God in our lives. It’s truly the only thing worth having, and is really the source of everything. That’s the general idea that I read out this hymn. Truly, God’s providence is a timeless truth, but this hymn was written in 1782 by Matthias Claudius. At that point, it was in German and of no use to my people. But in 1861, Jane Campbell got that fixed and translated it into English. I appreciate that.

Following is my take on it. Of course, the original (well… the English version) is available here.

Ensnared in the wonder of my own conceit,
I can believe that this life is mine to live.
Neglectful of the divine hand that feeds me,
My world is bent to suit my own ends.

Yet I remember the wind as it cools me, and
That it doesn’t come and go at my behest.
And everything I can do for myself falls to nothing,
When I know that I am not my own.

I may do the best that I can in all that I do, but
It is only possible because of He who knit my sinews,
filled my lungs, put a beat in my heart and
Stretched flesh over it all and called my name.

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