It’s sort of an unspoken rule that good Christians refrain from using the word “luck” when describing happy circumstances. By far the more spiritual word is “blessed,” for it connotes divine intervention by God as opposed to mere chance. But I have wondered: what’s really the difference between these two words, and do Christians use the word “Blessed” too much? A blessing, according to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, is “the act or words of one that blesses,” or “a thing conducive to happiness or welfare.” The American Heritage Dictionary defines “luck” as follows: The chance happening of fortunate or adverse events. 2. Good fortune or prosperity; success….to gain success or something desirable by chance: “I lucked out in finding that rare book.”
The main question is, does everything happen by random chance? If they do, then one can speak of someone being lucky or unlucky. But if they do not happen by chance, then isn’t it inappropriate to use those terms for everything that happens?
I have learned that there is a huge difference between thinking and saying I’m just lucky or believing I am blessed. It lies in the difference in the mindset and heart of being one or the other. Being lucky is the idea that by chance, something in the universe made a situation go in your favor. Being blessed is attributing a given situation to the goodness of God or another person. I keep myself in the mindset of being blessed, because I know that things happen a reason, rather than the mindset that things happen by random chance. So to be a Christian, is to believe that there’s no such thing as luck. Saying it was luck or attributing everything to luck denies that God is in control. The credit for everything good that happens to us is God’s. There’s no such thing as luck, because God is alive and well. He cares about us, and wants to be involved in every area of our lives.
However, I can also relate to what Rachel Held Evans once noted: “For some reason, I feel like calling myself ‘blessed’ sends the message that I have somehow earned God’s special favor, that God is rewarding me for good behavior, and that the millions of people who suffer from war, famine, poverty, and sickness because they weren’t lucky (or blessed or fortunate) enough to be born in the wealthiest nation in the world are simply not as loved by God.” Remember that favoritism is partiality or bias. To show favoritism is to give preference to one person over others with equal claims. It is similar to discrimination and may be based on conditions such as social class, wealth, clothing, actions, etc. The Bible is clear that favoritism is not God’s will for our lives. First, favoritism is incongruent with God’s character: “God does not show favoritism” (Romans 2:11). All are equal before Him. Ephesians 6:9 says, “There is no favoritism with him.” Colossians 3:25 teaches God’s fairness in judgment: “Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.”
Second, the Bible teaches Christians are not to show favoritism: “My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism” (James 2:1). The context concerns the treatment of rich and poor in the church. James points out that treating someone differently based on his financial status or how he is dressed is wrong.
It also has a lot to say about curses. There are rules and regulations for everything. There are laws in our countries that our governments have set up to regulate the way that we drive, and if we drive the wrong way down a one way street, we are headed for trouble. Another example would be that when we lived at home, most of us had rules. If we followed those rules, things went well with us. If we did not follow the rules, there were consequences.
In the same way, God has set up certain laws that will govern whether we will live a good life here on this earth, or whether we are going to take our self out from under His protection. He very specifically stated in the Bible what things were good, and the things would get us into trouble. He gave us the choices, and said, “I set before you this day, Life and death, blessing and cursing,” and then, he told us what the right answer would be. He said, “Therefore, choose life, that you and your children shall live.” We can know what produces life, and what will produce death. You can find these things in Deuteronomy 28:1-61. the Bible calls these things “blessings” and “curses”. It was important for us to see the consequences of sin, and how it brings things into this earth that produce poverty, sickness, destruction and death. One thing that I think is important to point out, is that in the Old Testament Scriptures, where it says that God brought or sent these disasters upon the people, wasn’t translated correctly. The King James Bible does a good job for the most part, but where it says “The Lord will send” these plagues upon you, the original text was in the permissive sense. So what it was really saying was that God would “permit or allow” those things to come upon us, if we did not obey His will. But Thank God that He has redeemed us from the curse of the Law though Jesus. In Galatians 3:13 it tells us that “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us…”
As always, we must remember that we have an enemy to oppose; also to choose our words carefully and check our heart’s motives. Most importantly, we must consider, discern and judge between right and wrong, and the ultimate source of all that is good and evil. In John 10:10, Jesus reminds us that: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Also, Jesus wants to make sure we understand that the ones that are seen lucky, famous or rich in the world are not always the ones congratulated in the Kingdom of God. When we look at the things from His perspective, things suddenly get a different light.
So does faith and luck have anything to do with each other? Not if we think that luck has nothing to do with God. But if we see God as a giver of luck or blessings, then faith and luck are closely related. Even the beatitudes could be translated “Lucky are those”. The Greek word used here is ‘makarios’ and it means “the ones to be congratulated” or “the ones who are fortunate”.
Jesus starts his sermon on the Mount with congratulations, and He turned the idea of “blessing” on it head, teaching in Luke, Chapter six:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:3-12, NIV)
In the Book of James, Chapter 1: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business. Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
I believe that God’s original design in creation was for His creatures, including mankind, to experience prosperity, peace, and fulfillment, but that design was ruined when sin entered the world. Statements of blessing are a wish for God to restore His favor on others or a declaration of His inherent goodness. The ultimate blessing that God has given is the new life and forgiveness that comes through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. The material blessings we enjoy from day to day are temporary, but the spiritual blessings available to us in Christ encompass time and eternity, as well as material and immaterial things. We were meant to love people, not things; to use things, not people.
Sometimes blessings don’t come in the way we think they will or do, they come in disguise. I have found that it is true there is a silver lining in each dark cloud and that God can take something that was meant for evil and turn it into good (Romans 8:28).
Have you ever heard the song “Blessings” by Laura Story? Here are the main lyrics:
What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life is a revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy?
What if your blessings come through raindrops? What if your healing comes through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you’re near?
What if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise?
“The song shows that we still have more questions than answers,” Laura confesses. “But there’s a decision that I find God is asking us to make: Whether we’re going to judge God based on our circumstances, or whether we are going to choose to interpret our circumstances based on what we hold to be true about God.”
I have learned that God uses the law of sowing and reaping (seed time and harvest) to bestow His blessings. Would you ever call a farmer lucky? No, because you see the fruits of his labor at harvest time.
One of my own greatest blessings is knowing this: I know a God who gives hope and mercy to the hopeless, lost and broken. I know a God who loves the unlovable. I know a God who comforts the sorrowful, and heals the sick. And I know a God who has planted this same power within me. Within all of us. Being blessed has a lot to do with acknowledging that God or another person has done something for you, and being thankful for it. Having an attitude of gratitude can reap even more blessings.
And for His blessings, may our response always be: Heavenly Father, please use me (my gifts, talents and abundance) and everything that our savior Jesus paid for us, to bless others. We are blessed to be a blessing in someone’s life today!