Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Have you seen the famous Nascar prayer yet?
When I saw this video I cracked up. A lot. But one thing hit me! At a fundamental level he was honest about what he was thankful for.
Really, you are thankful for ‘GM performance technology?’ The social justice lovin’ Anabaptist hipster (according to a survey I recently did, not so sure though) in me cringed. I wanted to think that he was thankful for some lame pieces of machinery that do not have much to do with God’s desire for redemption and restoration for humanity and creation. That, and I’m not a fan of Nascar racing.
Then I got to thinking after a comment I read online… am I being honest to God?
If I’m brutally honest, when I’m thankful I feel selfish. This reality makes the 1 Thessalonians text a bit awkward. Here are a few examples. I would pray and be thankful for a warm place to sleep in the brutal prairie winters, a car to drive, a tv to watch, food to eat, a mountain bike to ride, video games to play, a wife to love, a son to father, a great brother and sister, wonderful parents, friends to chill out with, and a smartphone to play with. The list goes on and on and it is not some super holy list of things to be thankful for. It has some of the ‘right’ things, but if I am brutally honest, it does carry a significant element of selfishness.
Think of a relationship. Any kind of relationship. Now think of that relationship and how it would function without the presence of honesty. A brutal place full of deception and wondering if what you are getting is ‘as advertised’. That is what we do when we are not honest with God. It’s as if we are trying to pose as something we are not. But the thing is, God knows who we are so you might as well be honest anyway even if it means you are thankful for living in the first world of North America. To be honest with God facilitates the opportunity to invite God’s transformative and redemptive presence in those places and spaces that may indeed be selfish. Honesty presents the opportunity to incarnate the message of Jesus in a holistic way. When we come honestly, there is a strong push to move into confession. With confession we remove that which disconnects us from God and become embraced and reconnected with a God whom loves us. It’s a beautiful opportunity to give God our baggage.
Prayer is a way in which we connect with God. To do so without honesty is to subvert our connection and in turn disconnect us from God’s presence. I admire the honesty of the guy in the video. Pray your next prayer of thankfulness with honesty and be open to God’s transformation.
“Oogity boogity boogity.” Amen.