I saw this illustration in Neal Plantinga’s latest (and typically stellar) book, Reading for Preaching, p. 32, and thought it would make a good start for a devotional for Our Daily Journey. I’d like to turn it in tomorrow, so if you see something, say something. Thanks!
Seth MacFarlane is the precocious creator of an animated cartoon called “The Family Guy,” which is one of the most cynical shows on television. MacFarlane was booked as a passenger on one of the airplanes that flew into the World Trade Center on 9/11, but he was late to the airport and missed the flight. Years later an interviewer asked, “After that narrow escape, do you think of the rest of your life as a gift?” MacFarlane answered, “No. That experience didn’t change me at all. It made no difference in the way I live my life. It made no difference in the way I look at things. It was just a coincidence.”
God says MacFarlane is a fool. Romans 1 declares that everyone knows God exists, but left to themselves they refuse to worship Him or even give thanks for the world He has made. Their ingratitude leads them “to think up foolish ideas of what God [is] like,” which makes their minds “dark and confused.” They become “utter fools” who worship themselves and commit whatever sin they feel like doing. Their “lives [become] full of every kind of wickedness, sin greed, hate” and so on.
How to avoid this debauched end? It starts with gratitude. Gratitude says I know I’m not God. I depend on you, who helped me, and God, who used you to help me. I can do nothing on my own. I can’t even control my own existence. I did not bring myself into existence; neither can I take myself out. If I were to commit suicide I would continue to exist somewhere, so long as God chooses to keep me around. And He will, because He’s given me His word (Psalm 16:10-11).
Only a fool can look straight into the blessings of God and blow it off as mere coincidence. Don’t be a fool. Thank God.