With St. Patrick’s Day upon us, I wanted to explore the word “luck.” We talk about the “luck of the Irish” in our discussions about this holiday. Patrick was a Christian missionary to Ireland, probably of British descent. The traditional date of his death is March 17, which we call St. Patrick’s Day. But we also tend to associate the theme of luck when talking about the Irish, shamrocks, and St. Patrick.
Let’s define the word from the American Heritage Dictionary: “The chance happening of fortunate or adverse events. Good fortune or prosperity; success….to gain success or something desirable by chance. For example, ‘I lucked out in finding that rare book.’”
So the question becomes, do things happen by chance, by luck? Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 has some wise words about the subject.
“I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.
Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.”
Much of what Ecclesiastes shares is from the perspective of a person who looks at life on earth without God, or life “under the sun.” From such a perspective—leaving God out of the picture—there seems to be good luck and bad luck.
Looking at this passage again, a runner in a race may be the swiftest, but someone stumbling in front of him may cause him to fall also. He finds himself unlucky. Or a warrior king may have the strongest army, but some “chance” arrow shot up into the air at random by an enemy soldier happens to pierce his armor, killing him, resulting in a lucky shot and an unlucky death.
Proverbs 16:33 states, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”
So, is luck an actual occurrence? This Proverb indicates that something as random as the rolling of the dice or the tossing of a coin is not outside of God’s sovereign control. Therefore, its results are not merely of chance.
God’s sovereignty involves two aspects. First, God’s active will or sovereignty would involve something He causes to happen For example, the wicked King Ahab was led into battle, not randomly, but by God-directed events that brought about the result of his death.
Second, God’s passive will involves Him allowing, rather than causing, something to happen. We see this from God allowing Satan to affect the life of Job. Another example is the evil that God allowed Joseph’s brothers to do to Joseph in order to accomplish a greater good, which was not apparent to Joseph until years later.
We cannot know everything that is taking place in heaven. We cannot always determine whether it is God’s active or passive will is involved in the events of our lives. But we do know that all things that take place under the umbrella of His will, and are therefore not by chance or luck.
Our earthly perspective begs us to see random events as by chance or by luck. But Scriptural wisdom clears up the controversy by letting us see that He is in control of all creation, and even seemingly random acts, mankind’s free will, and wicked intent. God uses all things to accomplish His will, and we are promised that all things work together for the good of those that love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) David
During the last several weeks, our Women's Bible Study has been going through the book God Loves Broken People by Sheila Walsh. As they have gone through the chapters, I've been developing sermons based on each week's study.
As we consider who broken people are, we begin to understand that each person is broken in some way. As we look at our brokenness, we also begin to see things involved with our everyday life like doubts, suffering, and trials. These are the types of things that may convince us that active church participation and service is not possible because we are less than perfect.
While it is easy to look at ourselves and see all the problems and mistakes we have made or caused, we must learn to look past those things. Our brokenness can LEAD us into service for Christ. That's right.....It is our brokenness that leads us into unique situations and ministry opportunities that we would not have had otherwise.
You might think that you are so unique in your failings as a person that God could never use you. Look at people like Moses (a murderer and stutterer), David (adulterer and murderer), Paul (religious zealot and slaughterer of early Christians). I think you can see a theme.
You do not have to be perfect to serve God. In fact, broken people is what God wants for service.
Think about the great Christian people in your own life that cast an impression on you. They too were broken people, serving God despite their broken condition. Don't believe for one second that your problems somehow disqualify you from service to the King. Quite the contrary, your unique problems qualify you for unique service.
God does not call perfect people to serve. He calls the broken to serve, through perseverance and faith in the Master, with the desire to become mature and complete in the Savior. Come to Him today with your failings, and offer yourself to Christ's service.
We are now one week away from an important election day, and while I will not say who I think should win, or who I want to win the Presidency, I can say a few things about how and why we vote:
1. Voting is a privilege for every American citizen that is 18 and older. It should not be taken for granted, nor should it be shrugged off like it does not matter. It is my honor to go to the polls and vote for the candidate that I believe will lead America in the right direction.
2. Every election brings out the special interest groups, and yes, Christians have been viewed as a special interest group. Many Christians I know are supporting Romney over Obama because they believe Romney to be the better choice due to religious beliefs. However, while Obama's religious background has been shaky, Romney is a Mormon, and their belief system has unusual views on some items that most fundamental Christians would disagree with. If we as Christians are going to base our vote purely on a religious argument, then we need to find a fundamental Christian that supports our view and vote for that person.
3. When I vote on November 6, I will vote for the candidate that I believe will do the best job of representing the United States of America at home and abroad.
4. I appreciate seeing people place their opinions on facebook and other outlets, but only when those opinions are useful to helping others make an informed decision. There is so much rumor and destructive stories floating on the internet about both candidates. Please consider those objectively.
5. This is most important: PRAY God to lead you to vote in a way that would honor Him. It is YOUR duty to vote in a way that glorifies God, both by the time spent in prayer prior to your vote and by your behavior after your candidate wins or loses. We should always pray for the person that is President, that God may guide them as they make decisions.
It is choice time everyone. Are you prepared to choose?