“It’s just not fair God! I do this for You and I have done such-and-such for You. I tithe. I go to the nursing home. I play/sing for You. And this is all the thanks I get?”
Been there, done that, sometimes still writing that song. Chances are good you have also. We have been conditioned almost all our lives to expect a blessing…especially because we are being obedient.
I believe one of the most insidious lies we have been taught and are still teaching is obedience merits blessing. We are taught from a very young age. Often my dad would leave for work leaving behind a list of things we were supposed to get done. Pull weeds. We had to use a kitchen knife and dig out the weeds by their roots. Hated it, hated it, hated it. Since I am not supposed to use the word “hate” then I will say “I despised it greatly.” Cut grass. Didn’t mind that but pulling weeds was part of that. Sweep and water the back porch (what for since flowers don’t grow on concrete?) Oh…I’m supposed to wipe it down. Clean our rooms. When we were done then, and only then, could we
GO PLAY BASEBALL!
GO TO OUR FRIEND’S HOUSE!
GO TO OUR FRIEND’S HOUSE TO PLAY BASEBALL!
Every once in a while, but not very, there was an allowance that was given.
OBEDIENCE. MERITS. BLESSING!
That never left me. It followed me into my Christian walk. If I want to receive God’s blessing, then I have to be obedient. No one ever told me that life was different and didn’t play by fair rules. Bad things happened…even to those who were obedient. Good Christian people died in car wrecks. Good Christian parents had deformed babies. Good servants of God had cancer. Those kinds of events are enough to make even the heartiest of Christ-followers to sit up and take note that life is not all peaches and cream.
I think we see this a lot in the religious world today. Bling, and more bling, is seen as evidence of God’s approval upon us. In the words of some immortal philosopher somewhere: HOGWASH! So many people who want to be followers of Jesus find themselves trapped in prisons of their own making because they just don’t seem to measure up. “How can God do this to me? I read my Bible. I go to church. I help out and volunteer.” And yet, ugly things still happen.
Truth is: God has never promised He would treat us all the same. Sometimes what happens to us doesn’t seem fair. It doesn’t to fit into our tight little box of “Fairness Cereal.” Speaking with someone recently, someone going through a tougher test than ever before, I said, “We do not see the big picture, but we trust the ONE who does.”
Obedience doesn’t always merit blessing. It does merit God’s pleasure though. And that is worth it. Any thoughts?