Thursday, November 15, 2007

Count your blessings

Anytime that Jesus says: for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. It's probably wise to pay attention.
Here's the full pericope:

9"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

I'm familiar with this passage, and find solace in knowing that God is a good father, who gives good gifts. But I was reminded on Tuesday night at Rob Bells, The God's Aren't Angry tour how much God has given me, and how hesitant I am to trust him with the future. I realize that it is dumb not to trust God, but it is insane to not trust a God who has showered blessings upon me.

A friend from Matilija who also attended Westmont with me, always reminds me of the goals for my life that I shared with him in College. I wanted to

1) Live in Ojai
2) Have a manicured front lawn
3) Own a truck

Add to that the non materialistic goals that I've always had

a) Get married to a woman who loves Jesus
b) Have two daughters
c) Be a pastor

Alright, so maybe I was/am a bit shallow, but these were my stated goals as an 18 year old, (mixed in there somewhere was the whole goal to teach others about Jesus, but this post isn't about that).

So, I'm sitting listening to Rob Bell while I realize that although I am in fact generous and share with others, my initial reaction is to horde. What makes it really messed up is that out of my 6 stated goals, I now have all of them, and had very little to do with receiving any of them.

1) We can only live in Ojai because family has opened homes up to us.
2) I only have a manicured front lawn because my mom trades tutor services for lawn services.
3) I only have a truck because my Grandpa gave it to my family.
4) Amber married me because...(who really knows how I pulled off that one?)
5) I have two daughters because of something having to do with X & Y chromosomes and God.
6) I'm a pastor because God chose to call me and send me back to my home church.

So, my 18 year old goals have been achieved as gifts from God, none of them were achieved by my pulling myself up by my boot straps, and my initial response to another need seems to be hording. That sucks.

May I recognize that everything I have is a gift from God, and may I hold them with an open hand, trusting in Him.


mandrews said...

Very cool Ryan! I like number four! It was very sweet!

Christine H. said...

I just love your openness. I am really enjoying the blog lately...a lot to think about...challenging yet not extremely heavy. Just good thoughts and good discussions.

frisky said...

Oh, I wish I could've gone to the Rob Bell thing. I just read on the link that it was about, "exploring how humans invented religion to make themselves feel better." I love that kind of discussion.
Another thing, it's hard for me to accept the fact that God has blessed me and Billy so much. I'm sure it has to do with the fact that maybe I haven't forgiven myself for things in the past and that God actually wants to bless our marriage and where we are now.

ATSmith said...

oh ... but how easy it is to clench our fists onto the things which we feel should be ours ... I am glad we get to grow through this together.

Brian said...

It is indeed easy to forget about those who have helped us when we are just starting out in life (newly married). "do to other what you would have them do to you"

It will be nice someday to return the favors that have been gifted.