Saturday, June 13, 2009

Birthday Theology

When it comes to being born, I had nothing to do with it. It was all a work of my parents. Simply put, by their own willful actions and desires, I was born.

Funny how birthdays, though, rarely celebrate the people truly responsible for the birth. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not suggesting a celebration reformation among birthdays (although my wife and I have jokingly talked about what it might look like if the kids gave the parents the gifts – we’re up for that! :) ). But let’s be honest – celebrating a birthday is more about expressing joy that, due to nothing on your part, you’re here!

There’s a theological lesson here, and you’re ahead of me, aren’t you? God birthed me spiritually. I had nothing to do with it. His grace alone brought about everything needed to birth me into God’s family. Consequently, our spiritual birthdays shouldn’t be centered on us – how “’we found Jesus” or what a good thing that happened when we “turned our life around with God.” That’s as crazy as a birthday party for a 2-year old and then thanking the little toddler for working with his/her parents and being born.

In ruminating on this one day, I was struck by the wording in Luke 15, where three things are found: a sheep, a coin, and a son. And in each case, it was all the work of the finder. The coin didn’t light a flare for the seeker; the sheep didn’t send out a S.O.S. And the son had no bargaining chips when he was seen from a long ways off. Yet, they were found, due to the grace and kindness of the finder. Period. And yes, a party followed, but not to reward the acts of the found, but rather to celebrate the fact of the find. Therein lies the best reason to throw a party – He found us!

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