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"Good Luck to Ya"

As I reflect on our society this St. Patrick’s day, I think how arbitrary our lives are. “Stop it!” “Stop pulling on my leg!” No, I’m not talking to you; I’m talking to “Arby” the arbitrary leprechaun. This little sprite, randomly and without cause, keeps pulling on my leg and laughing. Now, where was I? Ah, yes. I was reflecting on our lives and how arbitrary they seem. “Wait!” you say. “I don’t believe that! I’m a Christian and I believe God created the world and orders it.” Ah, yes. I’ve heard that one before. However, do you really believe what you just said? “Of course I do! That’s just silly!” Really? “Arby, would you stop it!” Excuse me while I kick him off my leg. There. Now, back to our conversation. You were saying how you believe God created and orders this world. Well, if you truly believe God is the first and final cause of all things, why do your language and actions speak otherwise? How many times I have heard, “good luck out there!” or “that’s just the luck of the draw!” coming from the mouths of Christians? Too many to count. Has our God not ordained all things? Even worse, how often do we wait and hope for something else to happen even though God has given us clear direction on what we should be doing?

Let me first address our unbelief in God’s sovereign control reflected in our speech. As I mentioned above, the term “luck” should be a stricken from our vocabulary. In fact, you could say that “luck” is a replacement for God. Think about it. If you were to simply replace luck or fate with God, a lot of statements would still make perfect sense. Take the saying, “It is better to be born lucky than rich.” Now, make the switch. “It is better to be born godly than rich.” Wow, this works pretty well doesn’t it? “Arby? Arby! Arby, stop pulling on my leg!” Excuse me for a moment while I deal with the little pest! … Anyway, is it not better to be like God than to be rich? I would say so. Or let’s take another popular phrase. “That’s just the luck of the draw” becomes “That’s just the God of the draw.” You may be saying, “That doesn’t make any sense!” However, I beg to differ. What, or better “who” determined the draw? In the first case, it was luck. In the second case, we simply acknowledged that God determines the draw. Do you see? This is precisely what Scripture says. We throw the dice but God determines how it lands (Prov 16:33). Oh no, here we go again....”Down Arby! Uggh!” My point is simple. We believe that the events in history are either determined by some arbitrary force, luck or a personal power who has made Himself known, “God.” I would rather have the personal and benevolent God overseeing the future than some arbitrary power of luck.

Now let me address how we live. Too often we live our lives in a fatalistic, “as luck would have it” sort of way. As Christians we might alter the saying a bit. Do we live in a “let go and let God” fashion? This is too often a cop out for laziness and a retreat into fatalism. Such an attitude is not rooted in genuine trust in God. Paul rebuked the Thessalonians for waiting on the second coming of Christ and being idle. We are to pursue the things of the Lord. Starting in verse 11 of 2 Thessalonians 3, he says:

We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.

In Philippians 2:12-13 Paul says, “...continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

Therefore, we are to actively live out our faith. Yes, it is God who initiates our faith. But we are expected to grow and exercise that faith. A lackadaisical attitude about how we live our lives simply won’t cut it.

So, whether we’re guilty of allowing that nasty four letter word a home in our vocabulary (I mean “luck”!) or we’ve been living in a fatalistic fashion – in a way that uses God’s sovereignty to excuse our laziness – may God grant us the grace to realign our behavior with the truth. God is indeed sovereign! Nonetheless, He expects us to be busy about our Father's business. Hey... Have you seen Arby? He's been quiet for a while now. Good riddance! I couldn't stand his random pestering anyway. Uh, oh! (I look down and see Arby grabbing my leg and smiling). Well as for getting rid of Arby, I guess you can say I’m out of luck!

- Jordan McGehee