God's Grace in Your Birthplace
How humbling is it to think that you didn't choose anything about yourself at the beginning of life? You didn't choose your hair color, eye color, nose shape, or the size of your ears. Even more than that, you didn't choose the country, city, or even the family you were born into. All of these things were given to you by God.
I often turn these thoughts over in my mind when I think about the opportunities I've been afforded. I was born to a Christian family (I didn't have to be). I was born in America (I didn't have to be). I was born to a family that sent me to college (I didn't have to be). All of these things are God's grace in my life. I was born in the Bible belt, but I could've been born in California, Maine, or any number of other places.
Now as I await the arrival of my second daughter, I think the same things about my children. I didn't choose what my daughters would like or what their personalities would be. They didn't choose to be born to a pastor. They have chosen nothing about the beginning of their lives, but God has created them beautifully in His image and given them as good gifts to me.
Being born into a family where we've received education and where our needs (and some of our wants) are fully met can have the tendency to make us proud. We can have the tendency to be arrogant and act like we've built ourselves from the ground up and others just haven't worked as hard as us. We can act like there was a level playing field to begin with.
This should not be the case. When we really grasp the reality of the truth that God has given us much grace in the family we're born to and the place of our birth, our response should be twofold. We should be humbled and we should be generous.
First, great humility comes with the realization that I did nothing to earn my family. I did nothing to earn my homeland. These were gifts from God in my life. How is it fair that I was born in America with access to first world amenities while there are others barely making it third world countries or even worse, dying every day? The simple answer is that it is not fair; it is God's grace.
Is God's grace given for me to live my best life now? Has He put me in this position so that I can make sure my life is the most comfortable it can be? No, of course not. Our second response should be that steward what God has given us in such a way that we help those who have not received that same amount of grace. God brings us in to His work in the world and we get to be His hands and feet; we get to be His grace in the lives of the people we serve.
A Sad Conclusion
Sadly, many Christians in America are missing these truths. God hasn't blessed us so we can buy the next new phone, car, bigger house, more luxurious vacation, etc. He has blessed us so we can join Him in His work of making Christ famous. We actually get more joy by getting to be a part of what He is doing than we would if we bought all of those new things.
God is inviting us into a greater joy and we are passing it up for cheap, temporary pleasures that will find their way into someone else's possession or a landfill one day. We're living for an eternal kingdom with eternal pleasure in the fellowship of our Savior. May we live in a way that says we believe that Christ is the greatest treasure for us and those He's sent us to tell.