It came from Africa.
No, it wasn’t an animal trying to eat me, or a disease for which no one has a cure (which is more scary). It was a question, one asked by a Facebook friend in Uganda.
Pastor Ndahayo Shine asked: “How are you?”
How am I? How does an American answer that question? I mean, seriously? What do I have to complain about?
Honestly, at the very moment Pastor Shine’s question popped up on Facebook Messenger I was eating a warmed-up piece of apple pie (as American as it gets).
Pie, I tell you!
I’m eating pie, and I get a question regarding how I’m doing from a man in Uganda. Africa! The place where famines kill more people than the NRA is blamed for!
So, I replied with the following answer:
“I am alive, not hungry, and not hurting. I have a roof over my head, a car in the driveway, and children who love me. My wife is faithful, the police are not after me, and the dog hasn’t chewed anything important in a long, long time. I guess you could say I’m doing better than I deserve.”
Am I Blessed?
So many times we answer questions like “How are you doing?” with things like, “I’m fine,” or “I’m blessed.” However, to be honest – which I try to be most of the time – I’d rather admit to being “fine” than “blessed.”
Why is that?
Saying that I’m blessed has a sneaky way of implying that those in other places – like Africa – are NOT blessed, at least not as much as me. I mean, what does it say about Christianity and the character of God when those who are “abundantly blessed” are the ones who rarely feel the need to trust God for their next meal? What I own or what’s parked in my driveway is not a mark of spirituality, nor should it insinuate I’ve lived a life more worthy of blessing than my brothers and sisters living in poverty.
If I am blessed at all, it’s not because of anything I’ve done or deserve; I am simply the recipient of God’s grace. I have been allowed, according to God’s sovereignty, to live in a country where leftover pie in a functioning refrigerator is commonplace.
Jesus made it pretty clear who the “blessed” really are. They are the poor in spirit, the meek, the merciful, the pure in heart, and the peacemakers (Matthew 5:3-9). And if that’s not enough, “…Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord…” (Revelation 14:13).
What I Don’t Deserve
While saying “fine,” I’d bet the temptation to answer the question “How are you doing?” with complaints is almost overwhelming for most. Oh, admit it – you say you’re “fine” because you don’t think the person asking is really that interested in hearing your list of ailments, worries, and irritations.
You probably answer with “fine” because you don’t want to sound like a cry baby or a hypochondriac, right? Because, admit it, you feel you deserve better than what you have; you don’t really feel “blessed,” do you?
Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t deserve anything but hell. Yet, for some reason God has allowed me to be the recipient of many good things which I don’t deserve, even if I have worked for a lot of it.
I don’t deserve a faithful wife, loving children, and a devoted dog. I don’t deserve to be a pastor, have a regular job, or to be respected in my community.
I don’t deserve electric appliances that make life easier, or even the split-level brick home in which I live. I don’t deserve the freedom to come and go as I please, not having to rely on public transportation or worry about being stopped by thugs demanding to search my car.
How am I doing? What can I say? I just ate pie…because it was there…and I wasn’t even hungry! If I’m blessed, it’s above and beyond what I need.
God is good, but His grace is Amazing!