This is but one example of where we are today when it comes to the preaching and teaching of God’s Word in the local church. 
No shepherd would ever think that way about his flock during Bible days, just the modern shepherds of our day. Paul’s vision was that he was willing to do all he could — to just win some! Paul worked and labored hard (I Corinthians 15:10; Philippians 4:3) because he understood that his work was more than preaching; but was to spread and grow the church across the then-known world.
To dismiss or marginalize “means” is another one of the twisted positions that characterize today’s preaching. It is said different ways . . . .
- We are just trusting God alone to provide.
- Nothing can give you joy, peace, or satisfaction outside of Jesus.
- There is no joy or happiness in our circumstances.
- You need to lean on God, not people, to get you through the rough times of life.
- You don’t need medication; you need Jesus!
- Rely totally on the Lord! You need nothing else!
- Husbands and wives, you trust God to meet your needs.
Oh yes, every one of those statements could be and should be clarified to make them biblically accurate. But this kind of bumper-sticker theology posted, taught, and preached latently brushes aside “means.”
Trusting God alone to provide does not mean we don’t work, and work hard to provide for our family, to establish an effective ministry, to raise our children, to develop an effective local church ministry, et al.
I know, those who make such statements don’t mean to deny that! Really! These kinds of statements are typically followed by a hardly AMEN from fellow pastors and congregations — with little serious thinking as to what is being repeatedly propagated as Bible truth.
The Lord has not only ordained the ends, but he has ordained means. The created world and the laws that operate demonstrate that reality. Oh yes, it is all held together by His power — but that does not mean that the laws which operate are being supernaturally commanded to operational status every millisecond. Can the Lord controvert those laws? Absolutely! That is called a miracle. Pregnancy and childbirth are not miracles. It can be and was with the birth of Jesus.
Wealth is not a miracle. It can be, as Jacob finally admitted (Genesis 31). But there are means to wealth (Proverbs 24:3ff). We are never to trust in the power of wealth, but it does have power, as many wicked men have come to know. Yet the Lord can remove that power in a moment (Psalm 73:18)
Poverty is not the curse of God. It can be, but there are means that accompany poverty (Proverbs 24:30).
Medication is not evil or sinful. It can be. But it is a means the Lord uses to stabilize us physically, mentally, and emotionally. Our whole being was affected by the Fall. We are lost spiritually, but the Fall has also impacted us physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Does it make a difference to experience a beautiful day, soft breezes, mild temperatures, and an awesome location? To say that circumstances are not part of our joy or happiness  is to deny what we, as real people experience. Are there hot-hot, rainy, miserable, or cold to the bone days that are unpleasant? I do not enjoy those days! I can still say . . . “This is the day that the Lord has made, and I will rejoice in it.”  Let me assure you — the new heavens and earth will be a beautiful place and absent these miserable and terrible physical circumstances of earth — for a good reason!
Husbands and wives, you are the means God has ordained to meet your wife’s or husband’s needs. That does not mean that you are the only avenue, but you are a significant and meaningful part of His means! As children and parents, we are the means the Lord has provided for our parents and children. That does not mean that God does not provide directly and indirectly as well. But the clear and repeated pattern is the Lord, “along with you” — is the means.
Sanctification is not only progressive, but it is part of our personal responsibility. Does the Lord work in our hearts? Absolutely! But we also work on our hearts. God chose David out of the flocks for a reason (Psalm 78:72). He rejected Saul for a reason. Sanctification is not parallel to justification — all by God’s grace! We work out our salvation (Philippians 2:12), never our justification. Sanctification is not passive; it is active! Go “passive” and see where that leads!
Can the Lord fight for us? He has, and He does. But men and women died fighting in real battles! He can slay an army overnight, and has! But He has also roused and raised up men and women to fight with sword and shield. In those fights, wives were widowed, and children lost their parents!
David hid from Saul for a reason! The reason was not that God could not protect David had he shown up at the palace dinner table. Upon Saul’s death, David called upon his men to learn the bow, not because only such a proficiency could or would save the lives of men.
Men come to know the Lord because of His established means — our prayers, our lives, our testimony, and the words of Scripture. Yet, the Spirit blows where He will!
This tendency to play down “means” is part of the theological-ideology of the present-day Calvinistic and New Calvinist movement. It runs parallel with the warping of God’s sovereignty!
The false implication is that God works via some supernatural aura that descends from above to meet the needs of people — and His special people. He can, and He does do that — and more so — and less so — throughout the Bible (Judges 6:13). Nevertheless, there is no mystical cloud that naturally descends from heaven that replaces God’s ordained means when we have been given the means and ought to have the will!
Work, and work hard to establish and strengthen the local church and its people! There is a reason that some churches, ministries, youth groups, and/or activities do not show real growth! Don’t put the aggregate responsibility on the Lord, as if that is His will. Not to point out that our ministries are in America, not in an occultism-laden land. God created a world where growth is a natural principle of life and of all things that are living.
Laziness comes at a price; the price is a lost world, the ministry, meaningful growth, and the needs of God’s people.
Unless the Lord makes it clear otherwise, we are called on to do all we can and should as a spouse, parents, workers, witnesses, pastors, members, citizens — and as lights in an unjust and twisted world.
1. Put that together with this, if you can . . . .
It sounds like “leading” and “preparation” matter.
Why not let God alone make SB proud? Just preach the Word, feed the flock, and proclaim the Gospel!