The Best Thing
As many of you know (mostly through Facebook I’m sure), today is my birthday. I heard somewhere once that if you count back the number of years, then count back 9 months, and plus or minus 15 days, you’ll pretty much have the day you were conceived within that range.
I don’t know why anyone would want to know that.
Celebrating my birthday isn’t a big deal to me. I know it can be quite an event for most people. I usually just go through what I would normally do, which is pray, work, read, practice piano or paint, workout or run or play tennis, and sleep longer than usual, preferably in another country with no distractions. I don’t expect people to alter their schedules or every day thought processes just for me. I am very grateful for those who did though, especially the ones that wrote me some really nice stuff, which I appreciate much more now that I’m a little older, an old 26 year old. Thank you for remembering and taking the time to greet me!
I don’t think the earth shook when I was born, or that an eclipse blocked the sun, or that I had some lucky birthmark, or that the wisemen prophesied how I would bring balance to the Force, but there is something I do celebrate every April 11 morning:
I celebrate God’s faithfulness. That in my faithlessness and unfaithfulness my Father remains faithful. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t deserve any of the things I enjoy. And I’m very very grateful for forgiveness, for grace, for love.
Faithfulness is a watered-down concept today. Many of us don’t really know the significance of the word anymore. I admit I have only come to understand it the past few months. When we miss the significance of something, whether it be a word, a person, an object, a position, or whatever, we will take it for granted, miss the complete benefit, and ultimately lose it.
I wrote in one of my older posts that faithfulness is not “not cheating”, that we can’t define something by what it is not. It’s just like asking someone, “Is she hot?” only to get the answer, “She’s not ugly.” I don’t know about you, but “not ugly” is not necessarily “HOT”. It’s just “not ugly”. Faithfulness is more than “not cheating”. Faithfulness is complete devotion.
When we talk about God’s faithfulness, and this is what I celebrate, this is what it means: that God is completely devoted to us. And when He says in Timothy that though we are faithless, He remains completely devoted to us.
Some of you may probably be thinking, “Easy for you to say. You’re not poor, or hungry, or dying. You’re not hurt, or indebted, or deformed. You’re this and that. You have this and that. Easy for you to talk about God’s faithfulness.”
And you’re right that sometimes it is easier to talk about God’s faithfulness when things are well. But you’d be wrong on two accounts: 1. things are not always well, not with me, not with you, not with anyone, and 2. having things, being full, being healthy, being comfortable, or having abundance, or no deformities is not the basis of God’s faithfulness, neither is it the proof. If our basis for God’s faithfulness is material, physical, emotional, political, financial, ecological, or whatever – you’ll miss it.
Because God’s faithfulness is spiritual, and spiritual things are witnessed by faith. If His faithfulness was about the world’s standards of success then where was His faithfulness with John the Baptist who was beheaded? Where was His faithfulness with Hosea who was cheated on? Where was His faithfulness with His own son Jesus who was crucified?
But it was there with them. His faithfulness was at work. He was reconciling and redeeming in the spirit what was broken in the flesh.
Let me get very practical here. How do I apply this to my life? How do I see God’s faithfulness in my life? Here’s where the Best Thing comes in. Remember, believe, that you have the best thing. You have Christ in you, the hope of glory. And when you’re convinced you already have the Best Thing having or not having the inferior things aren’t that important.
For example, I drive a Toyota and I have a friend who drives an incredibly nice Mercedes Benz. Not once have I heard him say, “David, you’re so much better off than me for having a Toyota.” I seriously doubt he’s envious of my car. Why? Because his car is way nicer than mine. Even if I teased him or argued with him that my car is better it wouldn’t really bother him because it’s not true – he already has a better thing. Imagine how ridiculous it would be, if I were to drive up to him in traffic, roll down my window, and say “Your car sucks!” But what would be even more ridiculous would be for him to be affected or be insecure or even worse, trade his car for mine. But we do this with our lives everyday, trading it in for something else, not necessarily bad things, but inferior things, because we forget that we not only have something better, we have the best in Jesus.
This is something I have to remind myself: That I have Jesus. If I have a house, great. If I don’t I’ll rent. Either way, I have the best thing. If my business grows, great. If it doesn’t grow, that would suck, but I don’t have to be insecure, I have the best thing. If my brothers become incredibly successful in the world, and I don’t, great for us. We have the best thing. If my kids are prodigies, great. If they’re average, fine. As long as they have Jesus they have the best thing. If I’m eating in Circles for dinner, beware, I’m going on a bombing run after. If we go hungry, that wouldn’t be pleasant. But either way I have the best thing. When you have the best thing, you are not bothered when you are deprived of the inferior things.
To conclude, I’ve realized:
When I’m envious or greedy or lustful it means I’ve forgotten that I already have the best thing.
When I’m arrogant it means I’ve forgotten that He is the best thing.
When I’m unforgiving and proud it means I’ve forgotten that I received the best thing despite not deserving.
When I’m worried or anxious or insecure it means that I’ve forgotten that He has already given me the best thing what won’t He give me? And further, what more do I need?
And when these things attack, and I am guilty of all the above, probably more than the average human being, I remind myself of something else I wrote:
Freedom that shouldn’t be
Love poured out freely
In a life that cannot be
I wish I could give you all goodie bags for all the greetings but that’s impossible. Besides, you don’t really need it. You already have the best thing.