It’s not surprising in tough times when people turn to God. They need someone bigger than them to help them with the situation and naturally God gets the call. But it’s also not surprising when things are good, one of the last things some folks think to do is to turn back to that very same God and offer Him thanks and worship. More often than not, the ones they worship are themselves. Their skills and experience pulled them through. Their tenacity and doggedness is what enabled them to have success. Their talents are why something came out so well. And yes, we’ve all been given these things in order to accomplish the tasks that come our way. But lest we forget, all of it comes from God. All of it is due to His hand. Therefore, there’s really nothing we can or should take credit for.
The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” So Abram moved his tent and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the LORD. – Genesis 13:14-18, ESV
God turns to Abram just after Abram gives Lot first choice of the land. And God says to Abram, “Look around, all of this is yours! Walk it and take a look.” Abram did just that. He walked around, found a new place to settle down, and as soon as that was done, he built an altar to the Lord. Notice Abram didn’t go and say, “Wow, all of this is mine!” Nor did he say, “I deserve this, because I took the high road with Lot. This is my reward for acting that way.” I’ve seen that happen too many times to count. Unfortunately, I’ve been the one guilty of that attitude and reaction some of those times. That’s not the way God would have us react. Instead, He would have us turn back to Him just as Abram did.
The Ambassador, an artist in the Gospel rap genre, has a song called Favor where the beginning of the hook is this, “It wasn’t a fancy car / It wasn’t a diamond ring / It wasn’t friends or lovers at the end of the day.” The point he makes, after a self-inflicted low period in his life, is that Christ brought him back out, and that at the end of the day, it’s Christ’s favor that we all need. In an interview he gave on the song and on the new album he made the point that favor is another word for blessing. As Christians we need Christ’s blessing. That’s what truly matters in our lives. We can have wealth. We can have friends. We can have the adoration of many. But none of that matters. None of that is worth anything compared to having Christ’s favor. The rest of the song reinforces that with example after example where we often take credit but it was really God’s hand that made it happen and therefore it is God we should be looking back to, not ourselves.
Just as quick as we are to go to God in times of trouble, we need to be just as quick to go to Him in times of goodness, too. We need to be ready to approach the altar of our hearts and truly give God praise and glory and worship for what He is doing in our lives. The fact of the matter is that none of us deserve anything in the way of blessing. Our sinfulness precludes any claim that we are deserving of any goodness when all we truly deserve is wrath. Stop and chew on that for a moment. We are quick to condemn criminals and say they aren’t deserving of certain rights, etc. How is that different with respect to us, especially since we’ve disobeyed and dishonored a holy, perfect, and righteous God? Therefore, any blessing that comes our way is solely because of His goodness and love. It isn’t because we’ve done anything to deserve anything. Let’s flush that foolishness out of our minds and hearts. Instead, let us be wholly thankful for the blessings we do experience. Let us be grateful for the positive things we do have in our lives. And if we’re sitting there and thinking, “There’s a lot going on. It’s a typical Monday. My spouse and I had a big fight right before I headed out the door. Money is tight. My teenager is in another world. What is there to be thankful for?” If we’re wallowing in self pity, the answer is salvation. The answer is His presence. The answer is adoption into His family. The answer is the Holy Spirit who guides us, gives us strength, provides His power to accomplish God’s will, and who prays for us even when we don’t know how to pray for ourselves. The answer is a fellowship of believers designed to share our burdens. The answer is the very breath that we take. There are so many answers that we could spend every second of every day thanking God for the many blessings He sends our way and still not have time to thank Him for it all.
What are the blessings you’ve taken for granted recently? What are the blessings that you’ve noted that He has heaped upon you in the last couple of days or weeks? Have you taken them to Him and offered your profound thanks for them? If not, why not now? Why not give Him the praise for what He has delivered, though we are undeserving? If you’re having trouble coming up with something, pray for discernment. Ask Him to show you what He provided that you didn’t even notice. The list is longer than we can comprehend. We just have to open the eyes of our hearts to see it.