Do You Feel Lucky?

Some people have lucky charms or lucky numbers that they play in the lottery. Others feel “lucky” so they head off to the casino or other “game.”

Seth Godin has written an article called “The Difficult Choice” considering the relative potential of luck and intentional actions. Godin was responding to a very negative comment to his book titled The Dip. (The book deals with the question of “when to quit and when to stick.”)

In a review of The Dip, a listener writes, “I would argue that luck and randomness play at least as big a role as all of this dip stuff. “

Godin responded,

Either you believe that luck is dominant, in which case, why bother with effort?
You believe that luck is random, in which case it can be eliminated from your thinking and you can focus on all the stuff you can control.

That is a good assessment of the options that most people see. Personally, I do not believe in luck at all.

I do believe in providence. The Encarta Dictionary of North America offers the following definitions:

  • Luck is defined as (1) success that seems to happen by chance (2) the arbitrary distribution of events or outcomes
  • Providence is defined as (1) The wisdom, care, and guidance believed to be provided by a loving and caring God (2) good judgment and foresight in the management of affairs or resources

I believe that our loving Father in heaven has a plan for us.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Although that verse was specifically directed to Israel while they were in captivity, it does show that our God is intentional. That He is not disinterested & unengaged in the everyday life of His creation.

If God had a plan for Israel, and He IS interested and engaged with His creation, and since “God does not show favoritism” (Acts 10:34), then I believe that He has a plan for my life also. And that plan is for my good – even though sometimes, it is “good” for me to endure pain (cf Heb 12:11). (More on the issue of pain in another post.)

Believing in the providence of God does not equate to just setting down and accepting my “fate.” — I don’t believe in fate either. (Fate: the force or principle believed to predetermine events.) I have the power to choose what I will or will not do.

As Godin said,

“I can’t imagine how lonely and depressing it would be to view myself as nothing but a pinball, batted around by forces over which I have no influence.”

Instead, I recognize that God has a plan for my life and, my mission – if I choose to accept it (think, Mission Impossible) – is to “‘Put this money [talent] to work… until I come back.” (Luke 19:13, NIV, Jesus, speaking to the disciples) Or, as the KJV says “Occupy till I come.”

That concept  of “occupying” is difficult since we are faced with so many unclear choices in our lives. Bill Isaacs asked one of those questions on his Forward Leadership Blog

How do we – or should we – promote our churches or ministries while remaining true to the purity of our calling and vision?

He was concerned about the “marketing” of the church today. It is one of those ambiguous questions, but I think that he answered his own question – we must “[remain] true to the purity of our calling.” We must work within the parameters of the plan that God has for us.

I don’t have answers to all of the ambiguous questions in life. I just keep reminding myself of the concept of providence. Providence is defined as using “good judgment and foresight in the management of affairs.” God has a plan and I must occupy – by using good judgment & working within that plan.

So, listen to Dirty Harry talking to the punk,

“Ask yourself one question. ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do you…?”

I would answer, “No – I do not feel ‘lucky’ – I feel BLESSED!” Therefore I am going to keep on occupying a while longer.

What about you? Are you lucky – or blessed? How do you go about the “occupying” thing? Tell us in the comments area below…

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