Every year, as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I see plenty of people I know and respect making lists of things they are thankful for. I understand their thinking and I share their gratefulness for all our “first world” blessings. No doubt about the fact that all of us owe some thanks for those things we mostly take for granted.
Because of the religious origins of Thanksgiving in this country, I also understand why our thankfulness is many times tied to God. Within the greater Christian community, being grateful seems to come with the parallel understanding that the blessings we get are a part of the healthy, wealthy, prosperous, and happy life that God truly wants for us. Our “best life now,” you might say. When things go our way, we are quick to add-on the heartfelt announcement that “God is so good!”
Being one that has his antennae up to detect cultural assumptions that find their way into the church, it occurred to me that this might just be one of them. After all, we are called to have “the mind of Christ,” and it was Christ who said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
So, if Jesus promised us we would have trouble:
- I’m wondering why would expect the Christian life to be without it …
- I’m wondering why we think we deserve “our best life now” …
- I’m wondering why we would think the words we speak have the power to make things turn out the way we desire them to be, when He never said any such thing …
- I’m wondering why we’re always trying to figure out “God’s will for our lives” when He has already told us very clearly and very simply that “[His] will is that we be sanctified.”
To be sanctified … or to be healthy, wealthy, prosperous, and happy? That is the question.
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