It’s Not Fair!

                                                                          

Why is it so hard to give thanks when we don’t feel thankful?  I know the Bible talks about sacrificial thanksgiving. But why should we give up what we think we need for a nebulous replacement?  

I’m not expecting a quick answer to my questions. But then, a small—not so still voice chimes in. “That’s what sacrifice is, dummy!  It’s trusting God enough to give up something of value for a higher purpose.”

I don’t think God would call me “dummy.” So, I assume this is a truth I already know but don’t always embrace. 

“You mean like this morning?” the voice adds. 

Ignoring the reference to my pity party, I attempt to explain myself. I’m tired.  I’m just plain weary from disappointments concerning my so-called writing life. For example, my writers group is an important source of encouragement to me. However, it meets on the second Thursday of every month. And it’s an hour away.

Here’s the hitch. My husband plays tennis on Thursdays. Of course, I want him to play. It’s good for him physically and he loves it. But, we only have one car.

At the time, there seems to be no viable solution to my dilemma. So guess who doesn’t get to go to writer’s group?  That’s right!  Me!  “Me” is wondering why I have to be the one to give up what I want.

I have to admit I don’t enjoy being a whining, selfish clod. So, sheepishly, I turn to my Shephered for help. And He makes me lie down in the green pasture of Psalm 50: 23.

He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.

Ouch! Okay, I’m willing to by faith give thanks for my circumstances. But, I wonder, do I have to give up my plan to pout about it?”

“What do you think?”

My thoughts wander back to my question that started this dialogue. But why is it so hard?  

Another voice vies for my attention. “Elizabeth . . .” Now I know it’s either my mother or God speaking. I’m pretty sure it’s not my mother.

 “Elizabeth . . .” The voice resonates a little louder this time. On second thought, maybe it is my mother. 🙂

“When I ask you for a sacrificial thank offering, do you know what that means?”

“I think so.” Somewhat embarrassed, I hesitate. “Doesn’t it mean I’m to thank you even when I don’t feel thankful?”

“Yes, but I’ll be more explicit. When you sacrifice your desires for my will, you honor Me. This is your highest calling. Are you willing to give up what you want for what I want you to have?”

Shamefully, I think of all the times I’ve complained, “It’s not fair!”

“Remember, my thoughts are higher than yours. Fairness is the world’s concept of impartiality. I offer you much more than fairness. I offer you heavenly provisions for your earthly needs. But that’s not all. I want to show you something even more important.”

“More important? What could be more important?”

“Let’s read the verse again, together.”

He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.

“Let me explain. Your grateful heart prepares the way for what?”

“For you to show me your salvation. Haven’t I already seen that?”

“Yes, but I want to show you how to display the nature of your salvation to others.”

“What do you mean by the nature of my salvation?”

He smiles gently into my heart. “It means I want your lifestyle to manifest forgiveness, humility and selflessness.”

The good shepherd pauses to give me time to think. And then he pops the all-important question. “Is this too much to ask? Have you forgotten the sacrifice I made for you?”

Convicted, I’m at a loss for words. But then, I realize I don’t need them. I stand quietly at the foot of the cross awash with new understanding. My sacrificial thanksgiving isn’t a sacrifice at all. Why? Because I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. That’s not fairness. That’s grace!

                                                      

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:18

Note: I recorded this imaginary conversation with God on April 9, 2009. Since then, the writers group added a night meeting. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to attend two writer’s conferences. And a little over a year ago, I started Devos and Dumplings as an outlet for my writing. It’s been a huge boost for me. Your reading my blog encourages me to keep me going. God is faithful and so are you!  I thank Him, and I thank you!   

                                                                    

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Comments
2 Responses to “It’s Not Fair!”
  1. I love this post, Liz! “My sacrificial thanksgiving isn’t a sacrifice at all. Why? Because I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. That’s not fairness. That’s grace!” Beautiful truth!

    • Thanks, my friend. I appreciate your encouragement. God’s truth is beautiful and never ceases to amaze us. You’d think we’d learn it well enough to accept it readily every time. Oh well, that will be one of the joys of heaven, right?

      Love you, Liz

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