thanks for nothing

Thanks For Nothing God

Nathan Smith Life Skills, Perspective

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I remember the last episode I ever watched of The Simpsons. The crass cartoon family was very popular when I was younger and somehow permeated pop culture with their quips and characters. Though it probably wasn’t the best of entertainment choices, I certainly got a kick out of their craziness. On this occasion the Simpson family all sat at the table for dinner and Bart, the irreverent son of the family, was asked to say the blessing for the food. I remember it catching my attention because the show was anything but spiritual or wholesome and I had never seen or heard of prayer being referenced in the cartoon. I have never forgotten the scene as the cartoon family joined hands around the table; I’ll paraphrase Bart’s prayer from memory… “God, my dad has a job and paid for all of this food, my mom went to the store, bought it and cooked it… so really, thanks for nothing. Amen.”

How arrogant? How disrespectful? At first, an emotional blend of disgust, offense and frustration came over me. But then subtly, slowly, a sense of conviction emerged. Was that me sitting at the table? I would never say it in such a way or condone such blatant mockery but how often have I had the same attitude towards God’s provision in my life? Often, I have reflected back on that cartoon moment and remembered how it upset me. Ironically, the Lord has used it in my life as a visual reminder of how easily we can dismiss His presence and provision in our lives. Too often do I find myself coasting through the day, taking for granted all that I have and get to experience. The truth is, the more I take credit for all the blessings in my life, the less grateful of a person I am because, after all, it was all my hard work and brilliance that got me where I am. Right? But do we really play that scenario all the way through? (Click Here To Read My Post ‘Driven By Gratitude’)

What is Your ‘Giving Credit’ Score?

Funny enough, when we are taking credit for all the benefits we enjoy in life we don’t seem to want to take credit for the failures or the lack? That’s often where we bring God into the equation.  Since we are so amazing and are doing so well at supplying our own needs, making money, climbing the ladder and winning in life the only reason bad things would happen or we wouldn’t get our way would be because God didn’t come through or is somehow spoiling all of our fun. Again, maybe we wouldn’t say it in so many words or express the thought out loud at all but it shows up in our attitudes and outlooks. Perhaps you can’t imagine we can so easily jump to such a conclusion. I know I can. We can generally test our attitude by acknowledging how grateful we are and to whom we are grateful. Gratitude is like a compass. It will tell you where ‘true north’ is for your life. Ultimately, no matter the measure of our relationship with God (or lack thereof), we will acknowledge the ‘otherness’ of God. So if we are taking credit for all the good stuff going on in our lives, that often leaves Him to catch the blame for anything we don’t like. (Click Here To Read My Post ‘About This Time Tomorrow’)

Perhaps we don’t know as much as we think we know? Maybe we are much better at breaking things than we are fixing them? I know I am. What if the talents and skills we do have are blessings from a good God who loves us and delights in seeing us create and succeed? If so, then we have so much to be grateful for and so much we need His help with in our lives. Our brokenness and narcissism doesn’t do us any favors so instead of blaming the God who has proven Himself by loving us first and sending His Son to redeem us from our emptiness we can lean into His grace and trust that He is for us and not against us. We have so much to be grateful for. God has done so many good things for you and me. And yes, He has given us the grace and ability to do wonderful things as well. However, we must recognize the true source, give credit where credit is due and then trust that this same, good God will help us in our struggles and disappointments when we come to Him with a grateful heart. I have seen it in my own life and pray you will experience the same. (Click Here To Read My Post ‘Thankful for the Struggle’)

When we take all the credit we bear all the responsibility. Give God the credit, His shoulders are strong enough to carry the weight of responsibility. Then we will have capacity to simply receive His help and grace. For that, I am VERY grateful. Be grateful today. It looks good on you! God is for you today and so am I.

From the Bible

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? – Romans 8:31-32 NIV 

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. – 2 Corinthians 4:15 NIV 

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. – 2 Corinthians 9:10-11 NIV

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