Sunday December 21, 2008
From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. John 1:16-17.
The controversial nature of this text is not its claim, but the attitude we bring to it. If we feel we have not received sufficient blessings in this life, we will disagree with it. On the other hand, our sense that we are very fortunate will find hearty agreement with its assertion. We are all aware of the apparent contradiction of some who are content with little and others who have much but are never satisfied. And it’s not necessarily that the former are simply acquiescent and the latter are ambitious—neither of those attitudes are necessarily good or bad—but whether we have an ongoing contentment with what life has handed us.
At our present stage of life—now in our seventies and with my souvenir from life (PC)—what is the balance of blessing compared with its opposite? Probably about 100 to 1 in favour of the blessings received “from the fullness of his grace.” Of course, we live in a very stable and prosperous part of the world, so we benefit from that, as opposed to those who live in poverty stricken lands. Are they exempt from this grace?
Not at all. Many who live in poverty and under persecution also find comfort and contentment from their faith in Christ Jesus. As Paul said, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Phil 4:11-12). But for me personally, I still have to answer the question: would I be content or complaining if my situation became serious? Have I really learnt that lesson? Only time will tell.