A little while ago, blogger Dave Ramsey wrote an article entitled “20 things rich people do every day”. He received  lot of criticism for it, but as he later pointed out, he was simply observing cause and effect. Good habits consciously applied make success more likely, and are found more often in people we would call successful.

Please don’t misunderstand. This is not an endorsement of the “prosperity gospel” and I continue to think it a dangerous distortion. Nevertheless scripture plainly teaches the just rewards of applied effort; Ramsey’s article merely points out the people who do these things generally do better in life. People who succeed in life are intentional; they don’t drift with circumstances but have goals and focus their attention and talents to reach them. They are lifelong learners, they plan, they dream and pray and give thanks. They don’t let life just happen: they make a life as stewards of God’s gift.

My first real encounter with God involved a calculated – and very unemotional – decision to learn and read the Bible for information, not out of a sense of guilt or religious duty, but because I simply wanted to know God better.

We are choosing creatures, and one of the significant ways we are made in God’s image is that we have a free will. We are not just victims of circumstance; we are not fatalists. We can make things happen – in fact, we are plainly commanded to do so in scripture, even while we give thanks for all life brings.

We can drift with the current of circumstance, or we can choose to learn, to seek, to change ourselves and the world. Life is a gift from God: what will we do with it?