David Nelson column Deal or no deal?
One positive side effect of having to recuperate from my recent shoulder surgery is that time shifts into an idle mode. Perhaps because of a blessing of sorts, I seem to be able to tolerate pain. I am simply more uncomfortable than I am racked with pain. The result is that sitting around, regular napping and being unproductive are new experiences. My dear wife has to remind me that I am not to overdo and run the risk of negating the good work of my orthopedic surgeon.
But guess what? I am now becoming a fan of “The Price is Right,” “Millionaire”, “Judge Judy,” “ESPN Sports Network” and “Deal or No Deal.” It is almost as if these programs have become the source of meaning and routine for my daily existence. However, I cannot overlook the reality that these fillers in my present life are just that.
My life is not based upon an offer to make a good deal by risking everything for the chance that the odds are on my side. Too often the participants on “Deal or No Deal” give up a guaranteed cash prize in the hope of making a better deal. It is as if they believe they can better themselves by taking the calculated risk. The clear motivator seems to be greed rather than any modicum of reason.
What is there about the human spirit that drives us to take chances? Is it that we are looking for the next level of euphoria in order to claim that we are special or more favored than others? Isn’t that what drives young people to binge drink on their 21st birthday by downing 21 drinks? What about motorcyclists who push the envelope to speeds in excess of 100 mph ó all for the thrill of it ó without regard to safety or common sense? Not only the young, but all of us through life are tempted to press our luck by risking heavily in order to make what we hope is the next better deal.
Thank goodness, our Lord does not subject us to a “deal or no deal” arrangement. Our loving God, who we know through Jesus the Christ, offers us the whole deal through his saving love for us. He gives us the promise of his heavenly kingdom whereby we can live in the hope and certainty of life everlasting with him. In the meantime, we are not taunted to somehow make a better deal in order to have more peace, blessings and happiness.
Perhaps it would do well to savor God’s offer as it stands. Why not really enjoy it rather than being driven to try to make some better deal. God does not shower his blessings on us because we have made a calculated risk and won. He simply blesses us because he loves us and wants the best for us. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”
May our praise and gratitude be to our Gracious God who gives us the “real deal of a lifetime.” May we be accepting and serving because we are counted with Christ’s believing followers who know a fabulous deal when we experience it.
Dr. David P. Nelson is interim pastor at Grace Lutheran Church