New Boots

I have new boots, but not just any boots. They are Justin ropers, black, size 10 ½. About 10yrs. ago while home from Australia, my sister bought me a similar pair at an S.A. store for $10.00. I had tried them on, but wouldn't spend the money on them. She bought them and surprised me. I know you are not supposed to love things, so I didn't love those boots, but I liked them a whole lot! I had them resoled once, and they have been ready for the bin for the last few years, but I just couldn't give them up. Last week on one of our excursions to find a table to re-purpose for our TV Joyce mentioned a thrift shop we hadn't been to in over a year. Within 5 min. of walking in the door she comes smiling and holding a pair of Justin ropers, black, size 10 ½...like new! I gladly paid the $35.00! I thanked the Lord for them all the way home and still do every time I put them on!

 

That leads me to say this: it seems to me that there is a wide, wide chasm that separates the child of God and one who is not a child of God in the area of thankfulness and the joy it produces. Ravi Zacharias in quoting G. K. Chesterton said that joy is central to the believer but sorrow is peripheral. Why? Because the elemental questions of life are answered for him. And the answers have to do with absolutes. I believe in an absolutely real God who thoughtfully took the time to answer for us the basic questions...like who He is, how we got here and why we are here, why Christ died for us, instructions for us to daily live by, and what our life will be in the future world. He has even given us His Spirit to discern and understand it all...well, almost all! One command He gave is that we should be thankful for what we have knowing it comes from Him. “In everything give thanks.”

And this is where the chasm gets so wide and sobering. For the unbeliever it is just the opposite; sorrow is central to his life but joy or happiness is peripheral. Why? Because the elemental questions of life are unanswered. To whom does the unbeliever go? To whom is he thankful? Only himself, maybe others, but that is risky and amounts to depending on fortunate circumstances, good luck, being in the right place at the right time, hanging in there, doing the best you can, grabbing the brass ring, looking out for no.1, going along to get along, succeeding by hook or by crook, putting your best foot forward. It is all relative! I could go on and on, but you get the picture. John Whitehead calls it, “grasping for the wind.” It is all about being “free to live life the way I want with nobody telling me what to do.” They like to think they are “pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps.”

Unfortunately, most who live that way would read this and still say, “I'll take my chances that there is nothing after death, and if there is I'll talk God into letting me into heaven. After all, I am as good as anybody.” I see that thinking as nothing more than blind stubborn optimism, causing chronic anxiety and sorrow deep in the soul, and leading to a frantic searching for relief (happiness) wherever it can be found. Take a good look around!

Thankfulness is essential to true worship; it is being grateful to a holy God for things eternal and things temporal. It assures my frail humanity of His love and care, and produces the joy that strengthens me in my daily walk with Him. I truly believe that Christians who continually neglect the Scriptural admonition to “constantly be thankful” end up “grasping for the wind” just like those who are not children of God. They lose their joy, and in turn lose the spiritual strength needed to live the life God had planned for them.

“Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will declare what He has done for my soul. I cried to Him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear. But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God who has not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me!”
Psalm 66

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thess. 5:16,17

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