Appreciate What You Don’t Deserve
I’m on vacation at the beach this week. Today started with waking up at 10AM, then reading on the beach, swimming, biking with my wife, and finally an evening at a nice restaurant. Needless to say, I feel refreshed.
On our way down to the white sands of the panhandle of Florida (about a 12 hour drive for us), my wife and I discussed the fact that I deserved this getaway. I just finished another semester at the seminary and completed a large research project. After a long semester, I felt like I was entitled to a little break from the reality of life. But my morning devotional time, coupled with the book I was reading, made me think differently.
The book I started reading late this morning is called Raising Dad. It is a special book to me because my brother and father co-authored the book together.
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In the book my brother remarks that our family is such an undeserved blessing. Our father prayed daily with us as children. He taught us how to be godly men, and for the most part he modeled it as well. My mother is the linchpin of the family – it is her love for the four boys that shines so brightly on our family.
Reading about my own family in a book prompted me to a thought. I really didn’t deserve such an incredible family growing up. I don’t deserve my caring, kind, encouraging, and godly wife either.
These ponderings on family pushed my mind to a greater family. Come to think of it, I don’t deserve to be in God’s family. And Christ had no obligation to endure the tortuous pain on the cross for me. In fact, it was my sin that put Him there.
Sitting on the beach, not a care in the world, and relaxing in the bright Florida sun, I had a huge wave of reality hit me. Here I am, in one of the most beautiful places in the world, no earthly worries…and I actually thought that I deserved to get away. Sam, get over yourself.
I didn’t deserve the upbringing my family gave me. Too many people come from broken homes full of broken hearts for me to ever take Mom, Dad, Art, and Jess for granted. I certainly don’t deserve my wife. I am thankful that God created within her the desire for me, and the fortitude to live with me. And I am not even entitled to a vacation on the beach. Most importantly, in no way should I ever have the tiniest inkling of pride that leads me to the point that I think Christ’s sacrifice for me was obligatory.
My church, my God, my country, and my family – these are all HUGE blessings in my life. For whatever reason, God didn’t choose for me to be born in a place of war and oppression. God chose to give me a caring and loving family. God gave me the wife beyond my dreams. God chose for me the great calling of being a pastor despite my weaknesses.
The concept of a weekend is a recent phenomenon in our society. Not until the last 200 years did people begin to think in terms of a five day workweek. I’m sure the people in the first century church didn’t view Saturday and Sunday the same way we do. I doubt they had two weeks of paid vacation like I do.
Thinking on these things this morning convicted me. I am not a humble person at my core. Even though I pastor a church and am tasked to shepherd a flock of God’s people, I struggle with a sense of entitlement.
For a revival to begin in the Church, we all could use a dose of God’s humbling. The simplest of blessings can skip by us every day. We do not know what tomorrow will bring; we are but puffs of smoke in this life. Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for us should make us all appreciate the many things that we do not deserve. His death, burial, and resurrection mean that we have life abundantly. And sitting on the beach this morning I was certainly overwhelmed by His abundance.