When you hang around kids for any length of time, you realize how eager they are to display their accomplishments. This is probably in part the result of their parents rejoicing in what they have done, but it is also likely a sign of our natural inclination to boast in ourselves. Even when a child has received help in writing their name, or accomplishing a gymnastic fete, they say “look what I have done” as if the outside intervention wasn’t required for their success.
Like many things, this tendency often doesn’t wane as we reach adulthood. We are quick to claim credit for the good things that happen to us, and to blame God for the bad things. Somehow we are convinced that all the pleasant things that happen in our lives are the just rewards for how smart we are, how kind we are, or just the mere fact that we exist. Even though Scripture teaches directly contrary to this, it often doesn’t stop us from acting as if God’s good gifts are expected rather than exceptional.
We see this tendency in Scripture through the life of Sarah. As you may know, Sarah was advanced in years and without a child. God, however, promised she would have one. Her response was one of laughter (Gen. 18:11-12), and of trying to arrange her own plan to have a child through a surrogate (Gen. 16:1-6). When she finally did have the child that God had promised, these were her words:
“Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.” (Gen. 21:7)
Who would have said? God had told her. Who gave her the son? God had. Yet, Sarah seems to disregard all of this, and seemingly claims credit for bearing the son God had promised and provided.
May we not respond in the same way. May we faithfully acknowledge the good things that God has given us, and give Him praise for them. When He keeps His promises, as He has said that He would (Num. 23:19), let us rejoice in the faithfulness of our God. May we not claim credit for the good things that come as a work of His hand, but may our hearts overflow with gratitude and praise for His generous goodness towards us.