The arm of flesh
This post is from the defunct blog “Dying Church”
Cerulean Sanctum asks if God really helps those who help themselves:
One of the most neglected verses in American Christendom states:
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. —Psalms 127:1 ESV
We bristle at the notion that we can't do it ourselves. Yet look around at the expediency that passes for ministry in large swaths of the American Church and you'll spy plenty of ministry projects in which the ministry built the house, God having little say in the construction. People will ooh and aah at the pretty thing that arose from nothing. Perhaps years later, the same folks will wonder why the pretty thing failed miserably.
Jesus said this:
"Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise." —John 5:19 ESV
An uncommon principle in American Christianity, that we should do nothing unless we see the Lord leading. I wonder what Christianity in this country would look like if we did nothing except what we saw the Father doing? Might this not transform every aspect of how we live the Faith?
I've talked out my own issue with some well-known ministries and their response always concerns me doing something, anything, so long as I'm doing. Doesn't matter if the Lord's building the house or not. Just do. Because it's how they operate their own ministry.
Talk to leaders in Third World countries, though, and they wait until the Lord moves. This idea of "God can't steer a parked car" doesn't exist in their Christian playbook. They seek God until he makes a way where there is no way. They don't go around trying to dynamite doorways out of granite just to be doing something.