When you are struggling with a spirit of entitlement, when you are stuck at grumbling lane because you feel like God is holding out on you, when life really has thrown you lemon peels instead of lemons, one of the most sobering truths is that - these things that we hold onto so tightly, that we covet and idolise, that we kill to have, are just but gifts and for a moment. They can be given and taken away; or never given at all. A great education, a spouse, children, home, parents, siblings, careers, jobs, friends, titles… They are gifts for this life only. Sometimes they are not given at all. Sometimes they come and go.
The husband may never come. Jobs end. Careers come to a crushing halt. Money is here today and gone tomorrow. Children, the Lord gives at his pleasure. Sometimes they might be taken away. Spouses might turn out be who we never thought they would be. Our very lives are a gift. Like Jesus told the man building barns, 'This very night your life will be asked of you.'
When all our foundations are shaken, who are we? When husband, wife, children, jobs, houses, money no longer satisfy, what do we have to hold onto? I found my foundation on whom I am in God - a child forgiven, recipient of grace, redeemed of God, worshipper, follower of Christ. When all is stripped away, these are my bare bones- a child dearly beloved by her maker, dearly called out, dearly loving her maker and saviour. When all is stripped away, Christ is enough.
So we live with gratitude for big and small blessings. That we are alive is by God's providence. That we have what we have, are what we are- what do you have that you have not been given? Even your very breath is on loan. We appreciate that we are blessed because some things we have were once on our prayer lists and are on those of others. Remember going to Katoloni to pray for a spouse or children? Remember your tears before God for a job? There are many who would hashtag blessed that apartment you call dingy.
We live like stewards, knowing that we are taking care of our talents, skills, families, careers, planet earth, as stewards who need to be faithful, who need to give a good account, who need to represent the owner well.
We live with humble submission because we do not know why we are so favoured, or so stretched and pressed in certain ways. We live surrendered to the God who knows all, who does as he wishes. He is the owner of these lumps of clay. He knows why gives us which cross to carry. His burden is light. So we trust Him who knows the end from the beginning, who makes sense of all things, the giver of all good things, the God who will make everything count at the end.
Live gratefully. Live faithfully. Live humbly.