Thursday, September 29, 2016
It’s about God, not ME and MY faith!
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. Luke 17:5-6
Have you ever seen anyone uproot a mulberry tree, by faith, and throw it into the sea?
No? Neither have I.
Why would one want to do such a thing? That is beyond me. Atheists would like to point out that this is just one of a thousand reasons why Jesus was just a delusional man, because they have never seen a mulberry tree thrown into a sea by faith either.
Good grief. It is an illustration, people, and it is not about the stupid mulberry tree being thrown into the sea! It is an illustration about the power of God.
Wait, what? You thought that this parable is about your faith, didn’t you. It isn’t. It is about the pre-eminence and power of God.
It is very easy to misunderstand this parable of the mulberry tree as though Jesus is placing the emphasis on MY faith as the catalyst for the miraculous movements in the world. However, one must always remember to place these lessons in their appropriate context. In this case, the concern of the disciples about offending a little person of faith precipitated this parable (Luke 17:1-4). Jesus turned the conversation on its head, demonstrating that it is the disciples who were the people of small faith. Nevertheless, regardless of their small baby like faith, miraculous things could still happen because miraculous events are about the power of God, not the size of my faith.
Miraculous events occur despite the smallness of my faith because it is God does that does the miracle. Therefore, stop worrying about the size of your faith. Amazing things happen every day because of God’s power, not my faith. I find that a great relief of burden. It ultimately is all about God, not about us.
Thursday, September 22, 2016
Congratulations! You just won the LOTTERY of Life!
You will receive 138,000 blessings today and every day for the rest of your life.
I am serious.
You are alive and breathing.
Every day, your heart beats 115,000 blessings, and your lungs fill with 23,000 precious gifts.
You just had a fender bender? That’s one sad thing in a day filled with blessings. Your blessings still outnumber your disappointments by at least 138,000 to 1!
It is for this reason that I am baffled by the emphasis of some of us Christians who go to church on Sunday in hopes of receiving our “blessing from God.” We are like Dursley in the Harry Potter franchise, who, while celebrating his birthday, counts the packages in front of him and throws a fit once he realized that he had one less present than the previous year. Doesn’t that seem like a lack of gratitude?
This is a lottery mentality, like those of us who spend our last dollar to buy a ticket in hopes of winning happiness.
Here is the news flash: if we don’t realize that we have already received the blessings and riches of God, then winning the lottery is not going to fix our problems. What we need is a heart change, not the change of our physical or financial circumstances. We have already been blessed with everything we need for this life.
I know this sounds trite and dismissive of those real-life challenges that face all of us. We do struggle with serious concerns about health-care, education, the safety of our children, life changing physical challenges, violence in our neighborhoods and more.
In 2011, Roko Belic directed a feature documentary called “Happy,” certainly well worth your time to watch. Roko found that contentment had little to do with the amount of money one has, or with the physical circumstances of one’s surroundings. Some of the most content people he found were those living in the slums of Kolkata in a tin box, and some of the least content lived in the US and were surrounded by great wealth. He found that contentment is the result of gratitude for what one has along with the daily presence of supportive friends.
We have already received our blessing from God. Rather than spending our lives looking for something that we do not need, we need to learn to be grateful for what we already have.
Close your eyes. Breathe in, breath out. Feel your heart beating in your chest. Reach out and hug the friend, child or spouse sitting next to you. You are wealthy beyond all belief. Acknowledge the God who loves you so. You just won the lottery!