How’s your Thanksgiving? Have you had a really happy one so far? Did you get a chance to get together with family or friends–eat a nice piece of turkey, maybe a slice of pumpkin pie; be part of some really nice holiday traditions? Or do you feel left out?
It’s no secret–we in the U.S. have an attitude of entitlement, and even those of us who weren’t born into great wealth seem to feel life owes us. Maybe it’s the commercials that make us think we’re missing out on something if we don’t get a new car with a huge bow on top of it outside our front door on Christmas morning, but we seem to have the bar set way too high.
“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord. And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of his discipline:” (Lamentations 3:22-27 NLT)
The truth is that life–hence its Giver, God Almighty–owes us nothing. We came naked into this world and we will leave with nothing but what we have stored up in heaven, so our expectations are completely unreasonable. Have you recently glanced at some of the images of starving children that are the result of war in Yemen? Granted, there seem to have always been starving children (and teens and adults), but we somehow manage to ignore them as we scroll past and go about our daily business. Yet any one of us, placed up against those images, is saturated in material wealth beyond anything they can hope to experience! We forget life isn’t a sliding scale–we don’t compare ourselves to those who are better off to see if we’re blessed; if we should be grateful. No, we should all be grateful! But why?
The reason we should all be profoundly grateful is that the best Gift–the one Prize that is the only Prize it will matter we have gotten throughout the entirety of our existence–is free to any and all who accept Him!
Today’s verse says, “…the Lord is my inheritance;” older versions phrase it, “…the Lord is my portion.” The point is that whatever else we have or don’t have, He’s the only one we really need, and without Him none of the rest of it will ultimately matter. We must, “gain Christ and be found in Him” at our dying breath, or absolutely totally nothing else we accomplish or acquire will mean anything to us–to the contrary; it will count against us that we were such fools in spending our time and energies pursing that which does not ultimately matter while rejecting that which does!
Does this mean we “accept Christ” and stop going to work, stop going to school? How ridiculous–absolutely not! But as we do the things we do each day, we begin our day (or end it, however it works best for you) by reading a portion of what God says to us–we open the Bible, where ever or however you access it, and hear what He says.
Then we respond back to Him–we call out to Him! It might be a pained heartfelt sound only He understands; it might be worship of all that He is, thankfulness for all He gives you beginning with life and breath and opportunity and absence of pain and war (of whatever else you have from His graciousness). It might be a request, for help, for wisdom. It might simply be you calling out saying, “Lord, I’m lonely; give me Yourself; help me not be alone anymore!”
Because gaining Christ is both simple and complex. It’s simple enough that a little child can do it because all it requires is a desire to know Him–remember that Jesus told us, “Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” (John 17:3 NIV) Eternal life is knowing our heavenly Father God and Jesus Christ!
But it’s also complex because it involves trusting Him enough, in His incredible love for ME PERSONALLY–each and every “ME” reading this–that we let go of everything else; that we let Him steer the ship of our life and trust He won’t run it aground. And He won’t.
It may, at times, seem like I don’t like what’s happening; I may actually think my life is a mess, that’s it’s not just running aground but stuck beyond any possible help, that things aren’t nice and pretty and clean with a big bow on top. But that’s exactly what He’s doing, what He wants in our life! You see, our life is not an upward climb of self-gratification–it’s a road of God-discovery. God uses the many and varied experiences–good and even (and especially) downright miserable–to help us get to know and experience Him better; to see how much exceeding power and goodness He has toward us; to experience how He comes through for us and loves us back to Himself!
And when we get to the end of our life, when we stand on the precipice of eternity, we will be neither afraid nor ashamed. Not afraid because we are covered with Jesus; we have “Christ in me, the hope of glory,” and the Father sees the holiness and perfection of Christ, not my failings and imperfections and mess. And not ashamed because while diligently doing the things He set before me within my earthly physical life, I pursued Him–I loved Him and valued Him above everything else which will be rendered meaningless at that point; because I stored up treasures not here, but in heaven (that which I did for Christ, not self).
So, how’s your Thanksgiving so far? Is Christ yours–your portion, your inheritance? If He is, you really do have it all!
Dear Lord Jesus Christ,
Let me be able to honestly say that You are mine! Amen.