What’s Luck Got to Do with It?

luck_ducks

What do four-leaf clovers, being Irish, horseshoes (ends pointing up), ladybugs, stars, the number 7, a rabbit’s foot, rainbows and coins all have in common? They’re believed to bring good luck.

What do black cats, Friday the 13th, breaking a mirror, horseshoes (ends pointing down), shoes on a table, walking under a ladder, opening an umbrella indoors all have in common? They’re believed to bring bad luck.

It’s believed that sometimes bad luck can turn into good luck. It’s also believed that sometimes good luck can turn into bad luck. For example, some think that if you take a pinch of salt and throw it over your left shoulder you will be able to get rid of bad luck. But don’t throw it over your right shoulder or you will have more bad luck. And if you do break a mirror, you must never throw away the pieces. Instead, grind them up into fine dust and scatter them to the wind if you want to change your luck. However if you’re too close to a full moon, you will still have some bad luck. On the other hand, if you reflect the moon with a mirror and gaze into it, you will then negate your bad luck.

Of course, what many believe about good or bad luck has a lot to do with superstition, chance, and folklore. Shamrocks and clovers, such as what we see around St. Patrick’s Day, are believed to bring good luck according to Celtic mythology. The four leaves are said to symbolize fame, wealth, love, and health. But what about people who’ve actually found fame, wealth, love, and health and never carried a shamrock or clover at all? Oh, well, maybe they carried a rabbit’s foot instead! Just sayin’! By the way, as someone quipped, depend on the rabbit’s foot if you will, but remember it didn’t work for the rabbit!

Luck, if there really is such a thing, doesn’t just happen. It’s written that luck is a wonderful thing. The harder a person works, the more of it he seems to have. It’s also said that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. In other words, real luck is when one works hard to accomplish success. And if you are not prepared for success, you may miss the opportunity to achieve it. Keep in mind these words: Good luck often has the odor of perspiration about it.

Although luck, whether good or bad, is attributed to chance—such as being in the right or wrong place at the right or wrong time—has nothing to do with success or failure if you are a Christian. Think about it in regard to Biblical accounts. Was Jonah having a case of bad luck when he was swallowed by the great fish many believe to be a whale (Jonah 1:1-2:10)? Was Noah and his family just lucky to escape the great flood and be the only ones saved from being drowned (Gen. 6:1-22)? Was Moses’ mother carrying a four-leaf clover when she placed her baby into a basket floating on the Nile River among the reeds only to be discovered and rescued by Pharoah’s daughter (Ex. 2:1-10)? We can think of many circumstances in the scriptures where certain persons received blessings and others didn’t, not because of luck, but because of God’s power and control over all situations.

Consider the casting of lots. It was common practice for the Israelites to make their decisions based on the Urim and Thummim, two precious stones carried by the high priest (Exodus 28:30; Numbers 27:21; 1 Samuel 28:6). It would seem that the casting of these two stones was left up to random chance or luck to decide important matters. But these were only tools to determine God’s will which were under his control. Proverbs 16:33 says, “The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the LORD,” (New American Standard Bible, NASB).

One may wonder about righteous Job. Was it a stroke of bad luck for him to suffer so much loss even though he didn’t deserve it? Not once did he complain about his misfortune as bad luck but, instead, accepted it as something that God allowed. Job lost his livestock, his servants died, and his sons and daughters were killed and yet he didn’t blame God. In his deepest sorrow, he opined, “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.” Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God,” (Job 1:21-22). Then, to add insult to injury, Job loses his health “with sore boils from the sole of his feet to the crown of his head,” (Job 2:7). The pain must have been unbearable. So what did Job do to deserve this? Was it because he needed to find his lucky stars? Or, rub a rabbit’s foot? Or, look over a four-leaf clover that he overlooked before?

Job’s wife was at wit’s end and she was ready to give up. “His wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!’ But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips,” (Job 2:9-10).

Job’s friends didn’t make it any easier. They blamed Job for something he must have done wrong to deserve what happened to him. But Job held to his position of innocence and still trusted God. In the end, God restored what Job had lost and “the LORD increased all that Job had twofold,” (Job 42:10). In the New Testament, James wrote, “Behold, we count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful,” (James 5:11).

God, not luck, is how we find comfort and guidance when things are not going our way. God, not luck, is who we turn to in order to find success and opportunity. Even in Ecclesiastes we find that “time and chance” (Eccl. 9:10-11) are, in the end, under God’s control for “God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil,” (Eccl. 12:14).

When we work hard, pray fervently, and put our faith into practice, God will reward us according to his will and his grace and his glory. Luck has nothing to do with it. But God’s blessings have everything to do with it. All blessings, not luck, flow forth from Almighty God our Maker (Psalm 103).

Here’s Gordon Mote and Jason Crabb singing, “Thank You, Lord, For Your Blessings on Me”: http://youtu.be/v0svXA-oRTk?list=PLHhwLX7B2qU7ijFfhKy1FLL4XjApxZZZe

Good News to YOU!
Pastor Michael

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