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Giving "Luck" the Credit

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An article states: “A modern day miracle occurs each year as part of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade celebration when the Chicago River turns an incredible shade of Irish green. For over 40 years, the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers turn the Chicago River green for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade celebration1.”But the wearing of green clothes, drinking green beer, eating green food and even dying your hair green doesn’t just include the Irish or Chicagoans. This year millions of people will join the party across the U.S.A., Europe, the Far East and even in the city of Dubai.

Around the world, the seemingly harmless Irish tradition of wearing green so that the luck of the Irish will be with you has saturated our society. What’s all the fuss over a man called St. Patrick that has resulted in widespread partying and celebration?

Who was St. Patrick?

There are many legends and stories surrounding St. Patrick. Considering that he lived in the A.D. 400s,  it’s difficult to separate fact from fiction. One version states that he was kidnapped by pirates, taken to England to work as a slave, escaped, studied religion, had a vision to turn the Irish to Christianity, and then returned to Ireland to do just that. He is referred to as the patron saint of Ireland with the credit of converting Ireland to Christianity. It is believed that he died on March 17, 461, and that day has been commemorated as St. Patrick’s Day ever since.

Over the past 1,500 years, traditions have grown, folklore has spread, and luck has sprouted up in our everyday language. The leprechaun and icons such as the color green, three-leafed shamrock, pot of gold and Blarney’s stone all have come to be associated with the celebration of this day. St. Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the trinity. The three leaves represented the Catholic idea of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, thus his followers adopted the custom of wearing a shamrock on his feast day.

The four-leaf clover is also a traditional icon of St. Patrick’s Day. According to Celtic tradition, when a four-leaf clover is found, it is said to represent God’s grace; each leaf of the clover representing hope, faith, love andluck.

Speaking of luck…

So what about luck? We may use terms and phrases like, “Good luck with the job hunt,” or, “Good luck on that test.” We can even casually attribute good things in life to luck. “You’re so lucky,” one might say. We also may attribute bad things in life to having bad luck.

Perhaps you don’t personally use the word “luck,” but consider that the concept may still play a part in your life. Do you ever feel that you or your friends are “fortunate” or maybe “unfortunate” at times?  Those terms have the dictionary definition of “luck,” stemming from Fortuna, the Roman goddess of luck.

It’s safe to say that almost nobody is silently praying to Fortuna when they say, “Good luck,” But what does God think about it? Looking to the Bible, we find that it gives no credibility to luck. In the first of the Ten Commandments, God states, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). One aspect of this command is a warning to us to not accept a religion or philosophy that teaches that our life and well being originate or depend on anything other than the one true God. Even giving credit to luck casually in our speech is a slight to God, who is the true source of all blessings.

One possible consequence of anyone attributing aspects of their life to luck (or to being fortunate) is that it dismisses personal responsibility. Instead of zeal to succeed, trusting in “dumb luck” might be indicative of a tendency of laziness and lack of preparation, perseverance and trust in God. You take personal responsibility out of the picture when you give luck the credit. Whether it’s good luck or bad luck, one just lives his life the way he chooses and one form of luck will find you. For example, if you state that someone is lucky or fortunate to have a good marriage, it gives the impression that the consequences came as a result of external events. In reality, anyone with a strong marriage has followed biblical principles that speak of hard work, personal sacrifice, service and trust. But by what we say, we can substitute personal responsibility and God’s blessing for good fortune or luck.

The idea of a false “destiny” is a similar “good luck/bad luck” concept we should avoid. This type of destiny says that you have no control over the outcome of your life. Since our destiny is pre-set, no effort on our part is needed. When speaking about some who will receive the tree of life in Revelation 22:14, John states that those who exert godly effort and do the commandments are the ones to inherit eternal life. It’s not as simple as just hoping your destiny will take you there. We’re not destined in this false sense to greatness nor are we lucky to have success on our side. These phrases and concepts all remove God from the picture and remove any requirement for us to extend effort. Even worse, some equate this false idea of destiny with the term “God’s will.” When failing to succeed, they’ll distance personal responsibility by saying, “It wasn’t God’s will,” removing any personal responsibility for failure to succeed. True destiny as mentioned in the Bible is the destiny of eternal life in God’s family, but it requires much exertion on our part—answering God’s call and practicing His ways all from a motivation of godly love.

Sometimes we don’t even use those words, but we still have the “lucky” concept in mind when we speak. In some cases, even if we refer to blessings instead of luck, we may have the concept of luck in mind anyway. Conscientiously consider your speech habits and determine whether the things you say are said sincerely or if you can improve in any way. When blessings come upon an individual, they typically are linked to physical and/or spiritual obedience and good works. God plainly tells us that blessings are a result of our actions.

There are also times when we might say something like, “I know luck doesn’t exist, but good luck anyway!” Maybe we just don’t know how else to wish someone well. In those cases, we could say, “Do well” or, “All the best.” Or we could earnestly look to God and say, “God be with you,” or “God bless you.” We must be careful with not only our words, but also the concept behind our words.

No luck about it!

All of this can boil down to lack of personal responsibility. This is really where luck, fortune and destiny become entwined in our thoughts and language. But the Bible gives no credibility to these; instead God puts the emphasis on our actions.

God tells us that as we sow, that we will reap (Galatians 6:7). The results of our actions are not separate from the ingredients we put into our life. If we spiritually prepare, trust in God, have faith and patience in Him and obey His commands, then blessings will overtake us and overflow our lives (Deuteronomy 28:2, Malachi 3:10). The choice is ours—not luck, or good fortune, or destiny—as to how many blessings come our way! Sometimes those blessings God gives us aren’t plainly seen by others. Humanly, we tend to see things like financial well being and nice physical possessions as evidence of blessings, but blessings from God’s point of view can look much different.

God is the sole miracle-working being who provides blessings, hopes and the promised future of eternal life. God’s ultimate desire for you is to be in His eternal family, to be a God member serving alongside Jesus Christ (1 John 3:2). Wishing wells, wishing on a star, making a wish as you blow out birthday candles, the concept of luck, fortune and destiny are all devices Satan uses to skew and corrupt those who will be ensnared. Satan is offering you a replacement. Will you give credit to luck or God Himself? Are your thoughts and speech reflective of luck or the true blessings from God?

Steer clear of lucky charms and eliminate the idea of “luck,” with all its variants, from your speech. Keep your distance from the traditions and celebrations that attempt to replace God with fables and lies. Don’t be ashamed to call God your God, and to give credit to your God. Luck, wishing, destiny and fortune should have no place in your life. May true blessings from God be granted to you as you continue building a relationship with Him! 

1(source: http://www.chicagostpatsparade.com/river-dye.html)