Years ago when I was a rookie pastor, I preached a sermon entitled, “The Day the Manna Stopped.” It was based upon a passage of Scripture in Joshua. The passage mentioned a day in the history of the Children of Israel when the manna was no longer supplied.
Remember the story? To keep them from starving in the wilderness, God supplied manna—a sort of heavenly bread. When they woke up each morning, they found it on the ground along with the dew. It was their daily sustenance.
I’ll never forget the first time I preached on that passage. One of my parishioners came to me after the sermon and said, “That was exceptional.” I don’t think I had ever heard someone say that about any of my sermons (before or since). I wish I had a recording of that message so I could figure out what I did right.
After I preached a similar sermon more recently, one of my parishioners noted that it really spoke to him about his relationship with his children. During the sermon, I had suggested that the manna stopped because it was time for the Children of Israel to start providing for themselves. This particular parishioner decided that his adult children needed to provide for themselves from that point on instead of relying on him so much.
The Children of Israel had no choice…”
Sometimes the line between being served and earning our own way is a tough one to cross. When does the time arrive for us to do it on our own? How do we discern when that time arrives?
In the wilderness, the Children of Israel had no choice. The line of demarcation was clear. One day, there was no more manna. They had to fend for themselves.
That doesn’t mean God had abandoned them. On the contrary, God was leading them into a more mature way of living. Sometimes the baby birds need to be pushed out of the nest.
On the other hand, there are times when that line is blurry. The birds have to begin flapping their wings and sense for themselves when it’s time to take off. That’s when it can get a little scary.
We face these sorts of challenges often in life. We are being led by the hand (so to speak). Then one day, the hand lets go. Occasionally, it’s us who do the letting go. We decide it’s time, and we strike out on our own.
You may be facing one of those situations right now. You think it might be time to fend for yourself. Or maybe you have no choice. It’s scary, and you don’t want to even try.
“Do what I do.”
You can either a) step out in faith and give it a shot, or b) you can shut down and do nothing. Letter “b” is usually a lousy option.
My best advice is to do what I do. Pray for wisdom, protection, and grace. Then spread your wings. The Wind of God will be there to lift you up.