Is there such a thing as luck? Some Christians say they don’t believe in luck. Some pastors lament, in their quiet moments, the good fortune of other churches while questioning why they haven’t received such blessing themselves. “How come they’re so lucky?” they wonder. By “luck” they are usually referring to some coincidence that happens to one’s advantage.
Well, if one doesn’t believe in luck, perhaps it’s OK to attribute these fortuitous happenstances to God. So the question the pastor’s soul asks becomes that of Esau: “Have you no blessing for me?” But, this leaves a question dangling: if it comes from God, why does God bless some with these holy happenstances more than others? Is it because they are more faithful? Is it because He is random with His favor–as some believe Him to be in blessing Jacob over Esau.
I don’t know.
God’s ways are mysterious. However, my experience has been the more ready you are, the more “lucky” you become. Even as we ready ourselves for Christ’s return, we need to ready ourselves for mission. Perhaps we can even say faithfulness in mission is part of readying ourselves for Christ’s return. The Parable of the Talents would suggest so. What we believe is “luck” is often God blessing those He hopes will be faithful in using that blessing to advance His Kingdom.
We can’t expect God to entrust His precious lost to churches in constant turmoil, treat people poorly, or are inwardly focused or lazy. We can’t expect God to pour out generosity if we’re misspending the money we have, lack faith God could do it, or have no plan for what we’d do with it if it happened.
Over the years, all churches receive what might be called random acts of blessing. However, they don’t all handle it the same.
Some aren’t ready for it. Their lamps aren’t lit. They are caught off-guard by it, so they watch it pass or get a poor ROL (return on ‘luck’–as Jim Collins refers to it). Others, I believe, handle blessing so poorly God begins to withhold it. “To whom much is given, much is required” and “He who is faithful with little will be given more,” deserve some serious reflection by every church leader. Taken alongside the Parable of the Talents, it seems God doesn’t promise equal blessing. He seeks equal preparation for and faithfulness in handling whatever blessing He provides–even as He admits a preference for good stewards in whom He chooses.
Faithfulness begets God’s blessing. This isn’t to say God offers no unmerited favor. The Cross teaches us better than that. It’s also not to say every recipient of God’s favor deserves it. Who does? It’s to say that God is in the blessing business, and our readiness and faithfulness in dealing with it may have a great deal to do with how God chooses to distribute His blessing in the future.
In his book, Great by Choice, Jim Collins analyzes the impact of luck on companies that outperform their competitors in times of chaos by 10X–those he calls those cases, “10X.” I highly recommend you read his analysis in full:
“Adding up all the evidence, we found that the 10X cases were not generally luckier than the comparison cases. The 10X cases and the comparisons both got luck, good and bad, in comparable amounts. The evidence leads us to conclude that luck does not cause 10X success. People do. The critical question is not “Are you lucky?” but “Do you get a high return on luck?”
Another way to say that is, “He who is faithful with little will be given more.” That’s not “health and wealth.” It’s Gospel. It’s Scripture. God desires faithfulness in handling what He entrusts to us. Faithfulness always pleases He who is the source of all blessing. So, forget “luck.” Choose God, ready yourself for mission, and be faithful with what He entrusts to you.
One last thing: We aren’t faithful so God will bless us. We are faithful because God is God and we want to live in obedience. When we do so, we are blessed.