Lucky or blessed?

This devotion addresses something that has been irritating me relatively recently - the widespread use of the word “luck” by Christians. The concept is so ingrained in our culture and vocabulary that we don’t even think about it when we say it.

Lucky, or Blessed?

I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.
Isaiah 45:6b, 7

Once you understand the difference between godless chance and divine providence, you begin to realize just how frequently the former manages to sprinkle our speech. I watch CNN to keep up with what’s happening in the world. They seem to have reporters stationed just about everywhere. Time and again, I hear one say to a survivor at some scene of human tragedy, “You were very lucky!” To which, sadly, the response is all too often, “Yes!” But was it luck? A mere coincidence? Not a chance!

The Lord, speaking through Isaiah, spells it out for us. “I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.” Then, to what, or to whom, are you going to turn for help in every situation? How are you going to make sense out of tragedy? Or understand the bountiful unearned, and certainly undeserved, goodness that comes into your life every day? All that exists, even light and darkness have come about not by chance, but were formed at God’s command. “I am the LORD, and there is no other.”

So, carefully think about the words you use. Rid your speech of anything that takes away the glory that belongs to God and him alone. Such words are the idolatrous vocabulary of those who do not know that he alone is the LORD! You’re not lucky! No one is! You are blessed! For you were saved, not by chance, but by way of the cross of Christ your Savior—according to God’s divine and eternal plan.

Prayer: Lord, forgive my careless use of words that rob you of glory. Thank you for providing for all my needs by means of your gracious providence. In you, I am truly blessed. Amen.

7 Responses to “Lucky or blessed?”

  1. Ron Olson, the Darth Swede Says:

    You’re right, Elle. But I don’t hold it too tightly. It’s a habit that’s hard to break for some. I don’t do it and I remind my wife of the same implications when she says it.

    Now, excuse me. I’m going to have lunch with my wife at the Wichita Eagle.

  2. Simon Says:

    I think the title of the piece should be “Chance or Blessed.” The argument is that those who are blessed are not blessed by random chance, but by God’s plan. It still makes sense to say that one has been lucky to have been blessed. That you’re lucky just means that something good has happened to you (or that something bad has avoided you) and *your* will had nothing to do with it. (eg, I was lucky that I had a great childhood — some people have awful childhoods — but it wasn’t purely by chance — it was by my parents’ design).

    Since the passage was about using language correctly, I thought I’d add that *it* is not doing so. It’s problem is with the language of chance, not luck.

    And best wishes, Elle, on your exciting new relationship.

  3. Theresa K. Says:

    This is always an interesting topic. That devotion (and your post) is a good reminder for all Christians about how our speech and actions affect others. However, in my many years as a generic “evangelical” Christian, I came across many people who OVERREACTED to that word. It was a sign that you weren’t trusting in Christ alone if that word went past your lips; in fact it went over like walking in the room with a beer in your hand. Now that I am a confessional Lutheran Christian, I try not to use that word because it is very inaccurate (except in hockey games) but I don’t beat myself up if I utter it.

  4. Sam Says:

    I agree that luck is not a Christian concept. I still say “good luck” to people sometimes. I don’t mean it in a pagan kind of way. I’d rather say something else but I don’t know that people would accept it if I said “God bless you” instead. Also, I feel weird telling God to bless someone. Should I say “I hope God blesses you”?

  5. Mike O Says:

    Add the word coincidence to your list of non-Christian concepts.

  6. Tim Says:

    I had a prof in seminary that refused to use the word luck and would correct anyone who he heard use it. He was often heard to say “go with God”.

  7. Mary Says:

    “Blessed” when translated from the Hebrew could not actually fit into one word. The original translation was actually a phrase….”How lucky am I”

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