I listen to Christian radio pretty much constantly in the car, with some detours for talk radio and some news. Now, I spend an average of an hour and a half in my vehicle every day, which gives me plenty of time for those activities. This past week, a morning show host gave a pretty simplistic, and very true, analogy for how we treat the blessings of God. I want to use that analogy, and expand on it as he did not.
Say you are a child, and every morning you grab a lunch box from the counter and race out the door to get to school. When lunch comes around, you open it up and there is your favorite sandwich, along with a nice juice box, some chips, and an apple, because you love apples. You don’t even question that it’s going to be there, because you trust that the maker of the lunch loves you and wants you to have a good lunch, and a good day.
So you thank the lunch box.
Now one day you went to the dentist, and the dentist tells your parents that you need to lay off the sugary drinks and because of some work you had done, you need to avoid things like apples for a few days. The next day, you grab your lunchbox without thinking, like you always do, and go to school. You get there, and there is a bottle of water in place of your juice box, and a pudding in place of your apple.
And you know exactly who to blame; Mom!
Why would you thank the lunch box when it was what you wanted, but blame mom when it was not? Both times your mom was looking out for your best interests. The apples might return next week, after your teeth have recovered from the work the dentist performed, and water is better for you than sugar-filled juice.
Often times in our lives we forget to thank God for the blessings we receive, and instead thank ourselves, or some other person, or even luck, or fate, or destiny, or even science for the things we have, or the situations that we enjoy. But if it truly is a spiritual blessing, or even a carnal one, something that we want, not necessarily need, it probably came from God, if it allows us to continue to be spiritual Christians.
However, if something in our lives goes the least bit wrong, how quickly do we shift the blame to God? It wasn’t Him who gave us all those blessings we enjoyed, but it certainly is Him taking them away. Didn’t get that promotion you wanted? Why did you take that away from me, God? Lost the money on that investment? I thought you were looking out for me? Relationship did not go as planned, and now you’re nursing a broken heart? God, you must not love me anymore.
Why can’t we get back to trusting God? Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” God knows what is good for you. God knows what you need, and what you do not need.
He also wants you to be thankful for those things that He allows you to have. When we cease to be thankful, He may cease to bless us. Maybe, your mom stops putting snacks at all in your lunch box, until you learn to give thanks for what you have. I Timothy tells us, “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” Throughout the New Testament, both Jesus and Paul tell us that contentment is a good thing.
But thankfulness is also a good thing. And in every thing we ought to give thanks. Remember, thank God for the things that you have, and when you have not, remember, God is likely doing that for your good as well.