Many manosphere and PUA blogs have harped on this point before. However, many Christians don’t consider this from the Christian perspective.
Donal had a post on this which explores some of the concepts, but this is my take.
Consider the story of Job. He is a blessed man, but God is the initiator in the discussion with Satan! God brings up his case before Satan, and then He allows Satan to tempt him. And yet, Job still has the correct perspective.
Job 1 (NASB)
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked I shall return there.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
We are blessed because God has given us life, and that He has chose us.
Romans 5 (NASB)
6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; [d]though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
What more then does He owe us?
The correct perspective is that we owe Him a huge debt that we can never repay. And there are many parables on this very fact such as the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, Parable of the Master and the Servant, etc.
Second, consider my favorite parable, the parable of the Talents. This parable is particularly illuminating in a variety of ways because of the way it goes against many modern concepts that Christians unknowingly fall prey to.
Matthew 25:14-30 (NASB) — Parable of the Talents
14 “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. 15 To one he gave five [a]talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. 16 Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. 17 In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. 18 But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his [b]master’s money.
The first revelation of the talents is that this parable is not talking literally about money. This parable is about your life. The talents are your life and what you do with it. The expression of the responsibility with money is also the responsibility you are to have with your life. What are you going to do with it?
The second is made immediately clear by the first point:
Personality responsibility Stewardship . Those of us entrusted with talents — and talents in the body of Christ are varied — and we have a personal responsibility to use them in a manner worthy of God.
The third point is that life is not fair. Why does one receive 5 talents? Why does one receive 2 talents? Why does one receive 1 talent? If we believe that God created us and formed us, and we know that God knows us better than ourselves and our own abilities then we know that “He gives to us each according to our abilities.” The key is not that some have received more and some have received less; it is that you are to do with your ability what God has given you.
19 “Now after a long time the master of those slaves *came and *settled accounts with them. 20 The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your [c]master.’
22 “Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
This is where the parable diverts into talking about the kingdom of God. We are to be responsible with what we have been given for God, and to reap a reward. We are to store up treasures in heaven, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be blessed here on earth insomuch as God deigns to bless ministries.
Many of God’s commands are conditional:
- Honor your father and mother… then you will live a long full life in the land that LORD your God is giving you.
- If you love me you will obey my commands.
- If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people [d]who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
24 “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’
26 “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. 27 Then you ought to have put my money [d]in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. 28 Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’
29 “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 30 Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Without even going into the consequences of the servant who hid his talents/life, the most interesting part of the last section of the parable to me has always been that to those who have shown responsibility with things God will often give more.
If you follow anything on the financial side of things Dave Ramsey recently had a column on 20 Things the Rich Do Every Day. The backlash from this blog is amazing (you can google it + the commentary that Dave has on the blog itself), but it shows that people don’t understand what personal responsibility is.
The habits that you build that encourage growth (reading your Bible, prayer, fasting, listening to God, serving others) are self perpetuating and build responsibility. Likewise, the habits that you don’t create in the list above are also self perpetuating. Out of the mindset come actions and actions for habits.
Therefore, riddle me this.
How can God entrust many “Christian nice guys” with wives when they aren’t personally responsible for growth in their own lives and don’t have experience serving others?