And Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and four hundred men with him. So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two female servants. Genesis 33:1
This story is a good example of doing what you can and leaving the outcome to God. Jacob doesn’t hesitate to do what he is able to do in this situation. He divides the people who are with him into two groups, sends presents to his brother, and travels ahead to take care of every possible thing. Some in despair would have said, “I’m not going to do anything. If I’m meant to be killed, I can’t prevent it anyway.”
People will draw the same conclusion regarding their salvation and say, “If I’m meant to be saved, I won’t be lost no matter what I do.” Beware of those wicked words! Certainly, it’s true that what is meant to happen will happen. But you have to remember that you don’t know what will happen. You don’t even know if you will be dead or alive tomorrow. God doesn’t want you to know. That’s why it’s foolish to search for something that God in his wisdom has intentionally hidden from you.
Similarly, it’s foolish to blame everything on what God has predestined. God’s plan includes his secret wisdom. We can’t understand it. God doesn’t want you to know the future. So stick with your calling, remain within the limits of God’s Word, and use whatever resources and wisdom God has given you. For instance, I can’t foresee what my preaching will produce—who will be converted and who won’t. What if I were to say, “Those who are meant to be converted will be converted even without my efforts, and what’s the use of trying to convert those who aren’t meant to be saved?” Saying that would be foolish and irreverent. Who are we to ask such questions? Take care of your responsibilities and leave the outcome to God.
Timeless insights from one of the most important people in church history. Resounding across the centuries, Martin Luther’s prolific writings as a pastor, theologian, scholar, Bible translator, father, and more, remain powerful and richly relevant. Faith Alone is a treasury of accessible devotionals taken from Luther’s best writings and sermons from the years 1513 through 1546. This carefully updated translation retains the meaning, tone, and imagery of Luther’s works such as this gem:
Some people value good works so much that they overlook faith in Christ. Faith should be first. It is faith—without good works and prior to good works—that takes us to heaven. We come to God through faith alone. —Martin Luther
Through daily readings, Luther’s straightforward approach challenges you to a more thoughtful faith. Read one brief section a day or explore themes using the subject index in the back of the book. Faith Alone will deepen your understanding of Scripture and help you more fully appreciate the mystery of faith.