Did you ever have an “AHA!” moment?
You know, “AHA!” I get it? Or, “AHA! I never thought of it that way before, but now that I do, I get it!”
While reading through some commentary on the birth of Jesus, I had one of those “AHA!” moments. In speaking of the exchange between Mary and the angel at the annunciation, it was noted that God’s message was not “Do this and I will bless you.” It was “You have been blessed. Do this.”
God’s love is not conditional—as in, “If you are a good child, I’ll reward you with a blessing.” God, instead points out that we’re already blessed. God bombards us with blessings. There’s no conditional quality about it. . . God just keeps blessing and blessing and blessing us.
So if we can’t avoid being blessed. If there’s nothing we can do to stop God from giving us good gift after good gift, then that radically changes how we look at our relationship to God. If we don’t have to do good things to receive our share of blessings from God, then what’s the motivation to live as God calls us to live? Why should we bother worshiping God and serving God and neighbor?
It requires a change of view. What if we could look at every opportunity to serve God–to make a sacrifice for God–as confirmation that we have been blessed? What if we see God’s presence in our lives not as an inconvenience, but the greatest gift that prompts our glad and grateful response?
What if we could look at obedience to God’s call to live faithfully, not as a dreary chore of following a list of rules, but as a chance to show him how grateful we are for his love? Our gratitude becomes the driving force to live in a way that’s pleasing to him—not to gain any reward, but just because pleasing him makes God happy—and we enjoy pleasing God because he loves us so wildly and expansively.
What if we viewed Christ’s body—his church—as a significant vehicle to use to when it comes to expressing our gratitude and offering our thanks to God? Our gratitude to God provides the impetus to say yes when Christ’s church calls us to serve, to lead, to give in ways large and small? Then the task at hand is no longer an obligation to get a job done at church, but is a song of Thanksgiving to the One who can’t stop loving us now, and eternally.