Who has first given to me, that I should repay him?
Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine. — Job 41:11 ESV
God owes me! I’ve seldom heard someone make such a bold statement so openly, but I have heard the sentiment expressed in subtler ways all too often. Truth be told, I am guilty of thinking and saying this, or words similar.
I remember a time in my ministry when I doubted. While I did not doubt God’s existence or the saving work of Christ, I doubted whether I wanted to be an active worshiper much less a missionary. The work had been hard, the rewards few, the wounds painful and deep. All night I railed at God. The paraphrase of my cries can be expressed this way:
“I’ve worked hard. I’ve been faithful. I’ve sacrificed so much. You owe me!”
In the stillness that followed my tirade the thought entered my mind, “God doesn’t owe me anything.”
A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. — John 3:27 ESV
My family had eaten dinner that evening. We had a roof over our head. We were in relatively good health… No, there was nothing I had “sacrificed” to God which he had not first given me. My debt far outweighed any payment I might have made.
Life is often difficult. We often face disappointment, heartache, and tragedy. How do we respond to these trials? Do we focus on what we think we have lost and blame God for these or do we remember that they were never ours to begin with and praise the Giver of all good things for His generosity?