Having been overseas into war zones, and other countries, I am a little perplexed at the way Australians grizzle and complain about the country they live in. Sure, our politicians don’t always seem to be the brightest tools in the shed, but we have stable and steady government. We may not always be able to work, but we have a social security and health system that is envied by other countries. We may not always be able to do the wild and extravagant things our imaginations conjure up, but we have shelter, food, clothing, and water, which many others in the world do not have. So I struggle with the ingratitude displayed by Australians.
Equally, I struggle with the ingratitude often found among Christians. They grumble and complain that the seats aren’t comfortable, it’s either too hot or too cold, the music is not to their taste, the Pastor is a bit strange, a visitor is sitting in the family pew, the coffee is instant, and so the list goes on. Worse still, they look at their budgets and lament that they don’t have enough money to keep the lights on, and so see mission as a strategy to support a waning budget than the sharing of the Gospel. It would seem the more we have the less content we become, and the more we wish we had.
Jesus doesn’t hold back when he addresses this fundamental flaw in our natures. He reminds us that God is in control, and that our first call is to seek out Him and His kingdom. The birds, flowers, and all of creation besides humanity, all know that God provides. He feeds, allows them to be adorn in a natural beauty, and sets the life span of joy and life. So why should we be anxious? Why look for more than what we need? God knows what we need, and will provide for it. Our greatest challenge is not looking for more, but finding God in the rich blessings he has already given.
But we know this here at St Luke’s. I am so grateful to many of you who when I waver and become anxious about things, you remind me that God has provided and he will continue to provide. Your faith strengthens my faith. When we look back over the past year, and even further back, God has provided for us abundantly at every stage of our journey. He provided us with the resources and people to set up Frontier. He gave us the financial means to employ a church planter. He allowed us the means to train and employ an administrator. He has opened doors that many of never knew even existed. He provided people, you, to seek first His kingdom, and open the door for others to find it through you.
What a message of gratitude and thanks we have to show the world around us. And not just the world, other Christian communities who have lost their way and forgotten to seek first God’s kingdom. It is a joy to know that with the overflow of blessings we have received, others can see God at work in amazing ways. Gratitude is contentment. It is the certainty of knowing God provides when we stop being anxious about ourselves and focus our attention on Him. Such a message is desperately needed in a country like ours, and the church that is struggling within it, that God is the one who provides. You just need to stop looking at yourself, and turn your eyes to Jesus.