Some words are so offensive we mention them only by their first letter. I want to talk about the “L” word – that commonly used obscenity, “luck”. I can understand unbelievers speaking of luck, but it ought not to pass through the lips of Christians.
Australia used to be called the lucky country. Employment was plentiful and even low income earners could afford to purchase a house at a manageable cost. Those days are long gone. Then there is the luck of the Irish. Apparently this saying has its origin in the 19th century gold rush when some of the most successful prospectors were Irish or of Irish descent. It is a fallacy however to think that Australia was the lucky country or people are lucky in certain situations. The concept of luck relates to chance; in other words indiscriminate, impersonal forces at work which just happen to be favourable. Whether it is the state of the nation or the state of our lives, luck doesn’t come into it. Countries are blessed and people are blessed by the true and living God. There are two aspects to the blessings we receive.
A. God’s providence: by providence we are referring to God sovereignly ordering all things according to His own will and purpose. He sends the sun and rain; He maintains law and order; He grants health and strength. We all experience kind providence in lots of different ways including the wicked (Psalm 73). Someone who receives a huge inheritance left by a great aunt they never met, experiences an especially kind providence!
B. Wise living: we enjoy God’s favour when we walk according to his commands. In Psalm 1 the psalmist likens the person who meditates upon God’s Word to a tree planted by a river. They live fruitful lives as a consequence of applying the truths of scripture. It is not a hard and fast rule without exceptions, but a general principle.
Many Christians speak of luck – they were lucky not to get seriously hurt; they were lucky to land their job; they wish their friends luck. It is a poor choice of words. They may not intend to convey the idea of chance happening, but that is what luck means. It closes the door to thankfulness and personal responsibility. Christians need to develop a biblical mindset and vocabulary. Words are important because they convey ideas. We need to think and speak in terms of grace, mercy, providence, etc. as though God is actually involved in this world and we are utterly dependent upon Him – because that is the case.