While out and about this morning, I drove past a yard sale and on a whim, decided to stop and have a quick look around. An antique store had gone out of business, and the stuff scattered across the porch and front yard were the odds and ends, remnants of the establishment that had thrived there for years. I looked over the selection, but the only thing of any interest to me was the antique barometer I bought for three dollars. Linda and I have commented often to each other about the stage of life in which we find ourselves. We used to like shopping together, picking up a bargain piece of furniture or something we needed for the house, but it's been quite awhile since we've spent any real money on stuff. There is just precious little we need.
Had we been born even a century ago, we who live a rather modest middle class life would have been considered fabulously wealthy. A couple centuries earlier, and we would be the envy of kings. Even today, compared to most of the world, we live in utter opulence.
There is a danger in such blessings. It is easy to imagine that we deserve them or that we have them merely because we've worked hard for them, not understanding that others have worked equally as hard, but without similar results. And as for deserving them, our Christian theology reminds us that if we received all we deserved, we would be forever damned. Grace is much to be preferred over reward. As Jesus said in one of his parables, when all is said and done, we say to the Master, "We are unprofitable servants," knowing there is no way we can begin to repay the debt we owe for our salvation.
We receive and are grateful for the blessings, but try hard to not place too much stock in them. All the things of this earth can be taken more quickly than they've been received, even as the story of Job reminds us. So we hold them loosely while we cling to Christ fiercely, bowing in humble gratitude for every manifestation of grace he bestows.