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Sunday, January 15, 2012

What I want - or what I need

I listened to two sermons this morning on television. Two different takes on very similar themes: how do I get what I want? One was full of scriptural references. The other was based on a contemporary parable, an anecdotal approach to a scriptural truth.

The first preacher (I didn't catch his name so I won't impune anyone) said, "If you just believe God's hand is upon you, even before you see any evidence, you will see wondrous things done." He based his sermon on Nehemiah, and then also mentioned Job who praised God when things were at their worst. (and later was rewarded).

The other preacher spoke of a man who had lost everything. One New Year's Day, he heard a voice: Until you're thankful for what you have, you'll never have what you want. The man went on to write a thank you every day that year, and in the process transformed his thinking. I don't recall him quoting scripture, but it resonated from start to finish with the admonition, "In everything give thanks." The pastor cleverly ended with a twist: Until you're thankful for what you have, you'll never have what matters.

Of the two, the second sermon resonated with me far more. I confess, I have never understood the "health and wealth" school of thought, because it feels so patently untrue. Are they accusing the apostle Paul of lack of faith, when God didn't heal his thorn in the flesh?

This year I face physical disabilities that threaten to make me a recluse. My hospital stay added debt equal to half of the mortgage on my house.

And this I know: Like Job, I must praise God and give thanks, in the everything that includes crippling disabilities and debt. For God has not changed, and He is good and He is faithful.

And in return, I expect to receive what matters: daily bread--and a steadfast focus on the eternal God.

Anything more than that is only icing that makes the cake sweeter.

P.S. Tim Tebow of the Denver Broncos didn't get what he wanted--a win against the Patriots. But after the game he said he had received what mattered (not in those exact words, but close to it!). Grace under pressure.

P.P.S.: I have my author copies of A Ranger's Trail! Woo hoo!

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