An ancient proverb reads, “Trust in God, but tie up your camel.” We might snicker, but there is much truth in that statement. Simply put, we are to do all we can do and commit the rest to the Lord. Some people think that these two concepts, faith and common sense, are mutually exclusive propositions. Some may even go as far to say that if you are spiritual, you will simply trust the Lord, while others will say if it is going to happen, it depends on my efforts. The question is can we meld the strong right hand of faith with a strong left hand of common sense? I think the answer is yes.

A familiar story is given to us in the book of Exodus that illustrates this point perfectly. Threatened by the ever-growing Hebrew nation that was enslaved by Egypt, Pharaoh ordered that all Hebrew male babies be thrown into the Nile River. This meant imminent death as river currents and wild predators would certainly ensure each baby’s demise. Baby Moses’ parents, Amram and Jochebed, trusted the Lord to preserve the life of their young infant son, but they were determined to use the resources God had given them. They immediately began to devise a plan and make preparations to do all they could do and leave the rest in God’s hands.

We read over this account so often that we do not read between the lines and consider what is not told to us in Scripture. God gave them the amazing ability to plan, prepare, and strategize for the moment that baby Moses would be placed in a basket and into the Nile River. They thought through details and devised a plan down to the smallest of details. Think about it. Moses’ family knew the time of day and the exact location that Pharaoh’s daughter would come down to the river. They knew the currents of the river. They knew the habits of the deadly wildlife. They planned an “up-sell presentation” to ensure that Moses’ sister and his mother would be chosen for service. They knew where to position themselves so that at just the right time they could spring into action and offer assistance to Pharaoh’s daughter when the baby was found.

But…they trusted the Lord. To any outsider, this plan would have seemed like a desperate measure that was a long shot to work. They did all they could do with the skill and understanding that came from the Lord. They prayed hard! But in the end, they had to give it over to the Lord. Make no mistake, the best laid plans are never enough. We must work and pray, pray and work. Moses’ family prayed like crazy for God to work…and He did!

In his classic work My Utmost for His Highest , Oswald Chambers says:

Faith in active opposition to common sense is mistaken enthusiasm and narrow-mindedness, and common sense in opposition to faith demonstrates a mistaken reliance on reason as the basis for truth. The life of faith brings the two of these into the proper relationship.

May we pray as if all depends upon God and work as if it all depends on us. It is not one or the other. It is both. God graciously gives us abilities. We do not rely solely on them…but we use them to help us serve Him. He gives us the ability to reason, plan, think, and organize. We use the faculties divinely given to us, and we ask for God’s favor and for Him to do what only He can do.

Isaiah 11:12 says, And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;

If God’s Spirit is resting upon you, don’t ignore it and not put into use the wisdom and understanding He has granted you. Always work and pray. Trust in God…but tie up your camel.