The Truth of Independence and Self-Sufficiency

Independence
Noun

1. Freedom from control or influence of another or others.

Self-sufficient
Adjective

1. Able to provide for your own needs without help from others; “a self-sufficing economic unit”.

We had a forum on poverty at our church the other day. One of the gentlemen continually used the word “independent” and “self-sufficient” in his speech. I couldn’t help but wonder if the reason why there are so many people poor in our area is not a lack of being independent or a lack of self-sufficiency. In all actuality, I want to believe the very reason many are in the position they are in has everything to do with the lack of community and dependence.

I tend to believe that independence and self-sufficiency are words that mask the reality of life. We are so dependent on a variety of people to do things we could or would never dream of doing. For instance, you and I go to a grocery store or a farmer’s market to buy food. You and I did not grow that food at all. We are dependent on the farmers to provide that necessary provision so that we can enjoy an apple or an ear of corn. What about going to the doctor’s office? When I had to have surgery on my heart, I didn’t do the surgery on myself. I was dependent on the surgeon to provide a need for me so that I would live. You and I (unless you are Amish) go to a store to buy our clothes and other material things. We didn’t make any of it. From our jobs to our health, from our clothes to our automobiles, you and I are dependent on so many different people and things, it seems as though such words like Self-sufficient and independent should be removed from the dictionary all together.

The biggest area of dependence we all have – Amish or not – is the cost for our sin. You and I cannot pay for it at all – it is a price that is too great for anyone to pay. Only Jesus could pay such a price for our sins and reconcile our relationship with the Father once again.

It isn’t wrong to be dependent on others. It is wrong to be lazy and to do nothing. It isn’t wrong to be in need. It is wrong to expect others to do everything for you while you sit and play video games all day. We have a responsibility to ourselves to do what we can to provide for our families and ourselves. We must continually realize though that we cannot do it all alone. We really do need each other.

I think it is interesting to quickly note that even God the Father realized that it was not man to be alone (Genesis 2) and so He made a helper, a companion, and an encourager for man. When this was all accomplished, God said it was, “Very good.” I guess I can’t disagree with Him.

I guess the reason I am writing this post is to dispel any thoughts of self-sufficiency and to tag others to be apart of something greater than themselves. We are called to be apart of a community that interacts and works together. We are called to strive and help others who then are called to help us when we are in need. In Acts 2, the church had all things in common and no one lacked anything. If there was a need, people helped out and did what they could. That is how relationships work and we need to do a better job at it if we want to make it in this world.

I don’t know what this is calling you to do but I know what it calls me to do. I just hope that I can live up to the calling. It isn’t easy to say that you are in need. It is much easier to be the one providing for others. Both play a unique and important role though. We need to be sensitive to those needs and how we can respond when we are able.

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