Some people think that you either trust in the Lord or prepare for tomorrow. I believe that you trust in the Lord by preparing for tomorrow.
For example, I believed that God wanted me to be a pastor. I knew that I needed more education and experiences preaching to do the job. I went back to seminary to get a doctor of ministry degree and preached everywhere people would permit. I trusted that God would call me to a church but prepared myself for the day I would serve in this capacity.
God gives us opportunities to prepare for the future He has planned for us. He gives us the opportunity to get more education and experience. He molds those events in our lives to prepare us for our futures.
Let's say a person wanted to get into the music business as a performer. Let's add that this is something he believes God wants for him. Should this person sit at home and hope that God will have a music producer walk by their house while the potential performer sings in the shower? Should this future superstar hope that he or she will be discovered without auditions, a fan base or any experience?
No, the performer performs in every place he can. He makes CD's for sale and for distribution. He writes songs and performs his own. He studies music, takes voice lessons and accepts critiques of his performances. He works hard at developing a fan base locally which will get the attention of a producer regionally or nationally. It doesn't make it any less God's action or will when we participate with God.
Now let's say you were in the typewriter repair business twenty years ago. It wasn't a bad business but word processing was beginning to take the place of the typewriter. More offices had less typewriters. Should you say, "I'm not worried. God will take care of me. I don't need to prepare for my future. It's all in His hands?" This sounds very spiritual to some. I think it is foolish.
The Bible uses the example of the ant which stores its provisions in the summer and gathers its food at the harvest. The ant prepares for the future when there is an opportunity to prepare. It saves when the times are good so that there will be provisions when the times are bad. We should understand what this means.
God provides all that we have. It is His work that makes the good times good. However, He doesn't expect us to take His provision for granted. He uses the lean times for His people to be a testimony to others. He gave Joseph dreams so that he would understand what to do when he was in Egypt. He told Pharoah that there would be seven great years to prepare for seven years of famine. Joseph's entire family was saved because of his preparation for the future.
Today, we find ourselves in bad economy. Should we have prepared for this time? Were we living on the edge of our income so that losing our jobs would leave nothing to live on? Did we take opportunities to get education or experience when the times were good so that we could transition to another job once the one we had no longer existed? Did we make excuses why we can't do these things so that we never do them even when the times are good? Did we say, "We'll just have to trust in the Lord," when we should have been preparing for the future?
I believe God gives us the good times to prepare for our tomorrows. I don't think He wants us to simply live off the good times. I believe that we are trusting in Him when we prepare for tomorrow.
Remember these two scriptures:
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 6:6-8 (NIV)
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!7 It has no commander, no overseer or ruler,8 yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.