Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What Do We Strive For?

I was explaining to a young fellow what criminals we are--we all are.  I could see this was a totally foreign and disturbing notion to him.  We all tend to think we are victims--and that we are owed something.  Yet I could see a little light go off in his mind--over in a dark corner that had never really be lit before.

"Think of it," I said. "We breathe, get to enjoy good food, music, friendships. . . . Every moment we are sustained--our blood coursing, the fantastically complex and intricate biological workings of our bodies . . . we get to have individual identities, a history of our own on a planet sitting in vast, cosmic space . . . to view and enjoy and share existence with incredibly diverse animals and other creatures, flora and fauna . . . the blue sky, rain, clouds, sunshine, the moon, stars . . . the satisfaction of tasting and eating food. . . . God provides all this, however we don't give Him a thought or concern. . . ."

So much do we get to experience and share, including the very astonishing fact of bare existence itself.  How dull and smug we are to take it all for granted, and then complain and whine and demand more . . . as if we intrinsically deserved or merited special favor from the Creator.  Yet we never think of Him, or at most, rarely.  And usually again if we do, it is in some demanding fashion or with complaints. . . .

Gratefulness--thankfulness is far from our hearts.  If we had any idea or conception of what a profound miracle of sorts that LIFE itself it--that we exist and that we are ALIVE . . . even in our direst moments and real physical suffering, we would be ecstatically thankful for the barest extent of BEING.  To BE . . . is in and of itself . .   a most awesome, astounding gift, let alone the various trappings that go along with it.

Yet to the self-centered, the sinful and wicked and naturally God-hating . . . such talk as this is an insult and to be disparaged.  "Oh, I deserve more than just 'being'! I ought have all my needs met AND be given every dream and fantasy that crosses my mind.  How dare the Creator make me and then leave me wanting!  I shall revolt!"

What criminals--thieves, liars, blasphemers, murderers in heart, foul-mouthed and lustfully minded, impure, wretched . . . yet ever demanding, entitled, complaining, vying, conspiring--we are.

How gracious and merciful it is . . . that the Lord took it upon Himself to absolve us from our wickedness.  If a deep sense of gratitude and thankfulness is not there when you think of what He does and has done . . . well, even that He died and suffered for! 

We should constantly be shaking and awakening ourselves to be mindful of these things.  It is so easy to slip into apathy and smug entitlement. . . . It takes effort--determined and intentional effort to recall our real situation--our desperate need for a Savior.  Of all the things we work and opine over, strive and struggle for . . . love and appreciation and thankfulness to God ought be foremost!
Praise God, take care,
Happy, prayerful, thoughtful Thanksgiving:)


Lee in TN said...

Thanksgiving blessings to you and your family! - Lee

Gina Williams said...

Thank you brother Thomas for this very appropriate and timely Thanksgiving message. So very true, however much we are in denial, that the sinful nature can stealthly creep in and take over; but for the Grace of God there go I. God bless you and your loved ones. Your Spirit filled messages are a light for me and others. Take care

Leonid (aka smalls) said...

Hey, Brother Thomas, it's Smalls again. I haven't been lurking or nothin', just checking in on occasion. Honestly, I'm probably just waiting to see which of your predictions come about, which ones fizzle... (I was half-expecting a post on 'Somali terrorists' here, but maybe it's too soon (: ) It's a bad habit, I know. Ahh, 'prophesy smack' lol. It's not so bad now (or it's worse than ever, depending on perspective). I can't take dire predictions very seriously anymore, nor the people who've made it their life's work to disseminate them. I don't know that you've been doing it so much, but I would say that you are at least at risk of becoming 'one of those people'... like Jonathan Kleck, shouting every week that "This. is. it!" I don't know how it happens. Maybe God allows a man's ego to take over, maybe lying spirits are really that influential, maybe it's all just human imagination. But what do I know? I'm just me, trying to figure out how to live the life I've got.

A comment on this post: I agree that we should be in wonder of life, of existence (Though on the other side of it, existence is a kind of trauma.. but I digress.) Criminals? I'm not so sure. We're just humans. We have the capacity (and maybe even proclivity) to be ungrateful and self-serving, but we also have the natural capacity for gratefulness and grace and selflessness. We're not basically good or basically evil. We're both, and neither, and everything in between. And that, to misuse the words of C.S. Lewis, is both honor enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor. Or, you know, we could just chill and live life the best way we know how.

Brother Thomas ©2015

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