The Search for Security1
Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
- Psalm 16:5
Do we feel like we have to be busy to be secure?
In his book Outliers Malcolm Gladwell quotes this Chinese rice farmers’ proverb on the virtue of hard work: “No one who can rise before dawn 360 days a year fails to make his family rich.”
Hard work can be immensely valuable. And the person who’s hard at work – whether that’s at a job or mastering a skill or playing a sport – will look busy in the moment. But today’s passage from Psalm 16:5 challenges the notion that hard work alone promises security.
The Lord is the one who provides. He ultimately is the one who makes us secure.
Our hard work doesn’t make us secure. Our past diligence, our present prudence, our future discipline … all of them can be overwhelmed by forces beyond our control.
Your savings can be stolen with a few evil keystrokes. A blip in your health could take it all from you. All those years and all that hard work could disappear overnight. It happens to even the wisest and hardest-working of us.
We don’t say this to scare you. We know that you already know that this is true. We know we aren’t telling you something you don’t know. But we point out the reality of our independent insecurity because we know how easy it is to drift in our hearts to a place where we think that we are responsible all by ourselves for attaining our own security.
We love hard work. We work hard. But the Lord is the one who holds our ultimate security. We don’t “lead lives of quiet desperation” because we know we’re not alone in the woods. God walks with us, helps us, and will ultimately set everything right.
Take a little time today to examine your heart. How much of your experience of busyness – now or in the past – has been driven by a desire to be secure? How does the security we have in the Lord impact the way we engage hard work?