Posted by: Rachel | July 28, 2011

Does He take care of us?

*this post was written many weeks ago. I’ve finally gotten the nerve to publish it.

Some time ago I watched the BBC documentary ‘Trouble in Amish Paradise.’ It was very well done, I thought it did a great job of showing the downfalls of the Amish without being an all-out bashfest. So many times the Amish are portrayed as ‘oh-so-perfect-can-do-no-wrong’ or ‘evil-puppy-killers-child-abusers-clueless-freaks.’ And as usual the truth lies somewhere in between.

this is the first video in the Trouble in Amish Paradise series. There are a total of 6 videos on Youtube.

Anyway there is now a follow up series called ‘Leaving Amish Paradise.’ For those who haven’t seen the show it follows 2 families as they struggle with the decision to leave the Amish. The one family, Ephraim and Amanda and their little offspring, have been attending the Charity Church for sometime when the second series starts. They were likable in the first series, their struggles seemed very real. But now Ephraim has decided that he will no longer work, he is going to let God take care of them while he concentrates on spreading the Gospel. So he prays that they will be able to find a place to live rent free. They are able to find a place where they can live for free during the summer months in exchange for taking care of the roadside stand and feeding the heifers. They survive on donations.

this is the first of the Leaving Amish Paradise series.

After some time Ephraim realizes this roadside stand is taking more work than he hoped it would. Then his landlord tells him that if they sell extra produce they will be able to live rent free for the winter too. Ephraim’s first thought is to put up lots of signs and try to drum up more business. Instead he decides to let God take care of them, that if God wants them to survive He will send the customers their way. Well, surprise, surprise, they didn’t sell more produce. And then Ephraim seems disappointed that God wasn’t providing and that he has to get a job.

Now I believe that God takes care of us, that He sees our needs. But I believe also that God will not simply shovel the food in our mouths while we sit there. If we do not plant the seeds in the garden it doesn’t matter how much rain and sunshine God sends our way, all we will have is weeds. Also I realize that there are people who for various reasons cannot work and must rely on donations for survival. That is entirely different. Ephraim was a well-bodied man who chose not to get a paying job.

I’m not sure if Ephraim thought that because he wanted to spread the Gospel that God should provide for all his needs, but the truth is, that as Christians we should all be trying to spread the gospel, and we can’t just all live rent free. And Ephraim implies that one Sunday he went to church thinking that surely today somebody would give him the money to pay the rent. Nobody gave him money. So really, Ephraim wants God to move others to give him money.

It is somehow implied that because Ephraim will be doing the Lord’s work that this will take so much time that he will be unable to work for a living. I am going to use the ministers at the church I attend for an example here. They all have jobs, or businesses that require their attention. Jobs that bring in income. And yet they spend so much time tending to the needs of the church. Sunday services, Sunday evening services,  Prayer meetings, they visit the sick, the elderly, they are the speakers at revival meetings at other churches, I could go on and there are so many things that I’m sure I don’t even know about. I have great admiration for these men (and their families who surely sacrifice). We do not pay them a salary although there are times when an offering is taken to bless them with.

I do not feel that these men’s jobs are a detriment to their calling as ministers. I’m sure that it is difficult at times to juggle all their responsibilities. And I’m sure that they would say it is only with the help of God that they manage. And that strikes me as much more noble than wanting to live rent free so that one can spread God’s word.

So tell me, what thinketh you?



  1. We watched this series too and were also disappointed in Ephraim’s view ‘that God will provide’. We are required to do our part! Good post.

    • Thank you, Lisa.

  2. I couldn’t watch the video clips at the moment, but I have a couple of thoughts on what you wrote. Many missionaries do actually live by faith and trust God to provide. They usually have some great stories about how God did provide for them. But it’s not the normal Christian life. You’re right that most of us are called to work a normal job.

    You asked what people think, so here’s my thought: It’s sad how many conservative Anabaptist don’t realize that the Bible clearly addresses the subject of ministers and pay. They have a right to be paid for what they do. Seriously, study 1 Corinthians 9. The scriptures are clear on this. Different churches have different levels of workload for there ministry, but I think it’s really unfair for a church to essentially expect there ministry to work a second full time or part time job without pay.

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