I waved him off three times, “I don’t need your help, thank you.” My head was already spinning having gone through airport customs in Antananarivo, Madagascar. Now, this little man with a truckload of initiative insisted I needed help getting my bags and exiting the airport. In the end, his persistence paid off. He grabbed my bags and pushed the cart out with the biggest smile. Before we left he whispered, “If you give a tip, you better do it now.” I handed him a five dollar bill, and off we went. Missionary Dan Brown later informed me I just gave that man nearly a half a week’s wages! “They’ll be eating chicken tonight,” he said.
In America, many do not have the daily concern of whether they will have enough food or not. The concern for daily bread around the world is real and Jesus knew this concern when he said, “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink…Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they” (Matthew 6:25-26)? Jacob knew about this concern having lived through the worst famine in recent history. For seven years, people were unable to grow enough food to feed their families, tribes, and country. Although his life was characteristically full of “wheeling and dealing,” Jacob finally realized, Someone else was watching over him.
In his final days, Jacob tells Joseph, “God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads” (Genesis 48:15-16). Before Jesus spoke the words of wisdom in the Sermon on the Mount, before David ever wrote, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,” Jacob found this truth in his own life. He thought, in his younger years, he was fairly cunning when he tricked Esau and his father in order to secure the blessing for himself. Jacob thought he was brilliant when he squeezed Uncle Laban for the extra livestock to feed his family. He thought the special gifts he sent ahead to Esau smoothed out the differences between them. However, Jacob came to terms—the God of promises, provisions, and protection shepherded him.
Take a page out of Jacob’s journal. Before you worry yourself sick or pat yourself on the back, remember God is the one who satisfies your most basic, daily needs. He is the one who orchestrates all the circumstances in order to keep his promises. He is the one who purchased you from the slave trade of sin, redeeming you from all evil. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever” (Psalm 23:6).