And don’t we prize that independent feeling ourselves? I have a good friend who is 93. She and I have often bemoaned the fact that people no longer seem to understand the word “need.” What they think they “need” is usually just something they “want.” It worries us that we are becoming more and more dependent on wealth and the technology it buys. We have said to one another, if someday there is a great catastrophe, most of the country won’t know how to survive at all. She has a colorful way of putting it: “They won’t even know how to go to the bathroom!”
We have lived in the country for a long time, and I have learned a lot about doing things myself. I don’t know when was the last time I bought a jar of jelly at the store. Or pickles. Or canned tomatoes. Or salsa. Or any sort of frozen vegetable at all. I do it myself.
For awhile we had chickens. Until we finally figured out that we were barely breaking even between the cost of feed and the “free” eggs, we gathered jumbos every day, half a dozen or more. Keith milked a cow, and I often had a sour cream pound cake sitting on the countertop, made with our eggs, our homemade butter, and our homemade sour cream. I mashed potatoes we grew with our fresh cream and homemade butter. The ice cream we churned was so rich we often saw flecks of butter in it. I think maybe we gave up the cow the day we actually started feeling our arteries clog as we looked across the table at one another.
A lot of people can and freeze vegetables, jams, and pickles, but it always gave me a little extra pride when I made things that most people never even thought about making, like ketchup from the tag ends of the tomato crop, and chili powder from the cayenne peppers I grew and dried. Lots of folks make applesauce, but not many can their own apple pie filling to use later in the year. Another friend I have makes her own laundry starch. If anything dire does happen in the next few years, my two special friends and I promise to share. I am sure the 93 year old will be happy to tell you how to dig an outhouse.
But that sort of pride and independence can get in the way of our salvation, can’t it? There really is nothing we can do to save ourselves. And we must learn to depend upon God—he demands it. He is to be the one we trust, the one we rely on, the one we go to for every need we have, even if our definition of need is really “want.”
As long as I think I can manufacture my own salvation and experience a spiritual Independence Day, I will never find myself in God’s good graces, or in His grace. This is one case where self-reliance is disastrous. This is one case where we celebrate Dependence Day instead. Have you celebrated yours yet?
By grace have you been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, Eph 2:8