From the beginning we have been created to be receivers, not achievers. Nothing is more countercultural to contemporary Americans. We have been raised to set our goals high, work hard, and achieve our dreams. Clearly there is merit to this work ethic, but it has limits, and the greatest one is that it seduces us into thinking that we are the creators of our own destinies. The only destiny that comes from reaching for whatever we want is finding ourselves east of Eden. Every page of the Bible presents God as the achiever and us as the receivers of this sacred, good work. Every day this week you have to decide if you want to achieve your life or receive it. If you make achieving your goal, your constant companion will be complaint, because you will never achieve enough. If you make receiving the goal, your constant companion will be gratitude for all that God is achieving in your life. I’m not certain that there are such things as measures of our spirituality, but if there are, then gratitude is probably the best one. It indicates that we are paying attention.

M. Craig Barnes, The Pastor as Minor Poet

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