Bible Truth Examiner

Graces of Christian Character

PROVIDENCE

 

Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.

 

“If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the

faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

 

1 Timothy 5: 8

 

The word providence has a variety of meanings, but we will discuss it here as a Christian grace

of character, which may be defined as the quality or action that acquires and preserves the means

for the present and future needs of ourselves, our dependents and the poor.

 

The Means of Providence

 

The means that providence acquires are such things as are required for supplying the present and

future needs of ourselves, our dependents and the to-us-known worthy poor. These means are

both secular and religious:

 

(1.) The secular needs of such are primarily food, clothing and shelter, and secondarily secular

education, training for one’s employment and securing one’s employment, which provide the

means, such as money, whereby one can secure those secular needs.

 

(2.) The religious needs of such are: (1) food for heart and mind, God’s Word; (2) clothing for

heart and mind, primarily Christ’s righteousness, and secondarily the graces of heart and mind;

and (3) shelter for heart and mind, which are needed for and in times of trouble, trial and

temptation. The means for securing the above are God’s spirit, Word and providence, which for

oneself implies the study and practice of God’s Word; and for our religious dependents and the

religiously poor, it means to spread the Word toward these, thus educating and training them for

their religious calling, as well as encouraging and comforting them.

 

The Parts of Providence

 

There are seven parts or elements of providence:

 

(1.) Enterprise, which makes one do the venturing necessary for the acquiring feature of

providence. For most forms of providence the proverb is true, “Nothing ventured, nothing

gained.”

 

(2.) Its gaining feature, which is seen by people using their livelihood to gain the means for the

needs of themselves and others.

 

(3.) The quality and practice of retaining the means of supplying one’s own and others’ needs.

 

(4.) Economy is the quality and activity whereby, avoiding all waste and excess, conserves the

means of providence within the limits of a sufficient supply for the involved needs.

 

(5.) Thrift is the quality of saving all surplus for one’s own and others’ future needs.

 

(6.) Frugality is the quality and activity that makes one’s own needs and those of others for

whom he is responsible avoid all excess and waste, and cultivate the quality of being satisfied

with the plain and simple.

 

(7.) Carefulness as to the use of its six preceding qualities and activities so that one’s providence

may be a blessing to oneself and others. Such carefulness will guard one from misdeveloping the

two extremes of providence.

 

The Abuse of Providence

 

But providence in its various elements may be abused, or exaggerated. Let us consider its secular

abuses, but recognize that it may also be overdone religiously:

 

(1.) Covetousness is the most frequent abuse of providence.

 

(2.) Greediness is the evil quality which seeks to get all it can and keep all it gets.

 

(3.) The grasping spirit, which seeks to gather to oneself and away from others their possessions,

positions, etc., by means fair or unfair.

 

(4.) Overreaching others is displayed in the businessman who overreaches others by cheating

them as to the quantity and quality of the goods or services that they offer to sell.

 

(5.) Penuriousness is manifested in some husbands, wives, fathers and mothers who withhold

from their spouses and children to the point where the latter suffer by not having enough for their

needs.

 

(6.) The worst form of exaggerated providence is miserliness, which is shown in the miser who

is known for his filth, misery, and lack as to proper food, clothing, shelter and reasonable

comforts of life.

 

Curbing Overdone Providence

 

Let us consider how overdeveloped providence, even unto its cultivating the evils of exaggerated

providence, may be curbed and overcome. These methods may be used against both the secular

and religious exaggerations of providence:

 

(1.) A firm, persevering consideration of their unprofitableness, their evil character, their

degrading effects upon oneself and others, God’s and Christ’s disapproval of them, Their charge

to destroy them, Their pleasure at their destruction and the pleasure of others at their destruction.

 

(2.) The exercise of generosity, liberality and the other Christian graces used against these

exaggerations of providence will also prove helpful.

 

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