I drive a nice truck, a 2007 Chevy Avalanche.
It was a generous gift from my Dad, has saved me a ton of money and has helped more people move than I can count.
But I find myself feeling guilty about having the truck.
The guilt started with the gas mileage / environmental footprint. But that was nothing.
As a missionary and a person in ministry, the guilt hung over my head. How can I ask people to support my ministry when I drive a vehicle with leather seats? Aren't we supposed to be poor, look poor?
I've told people so many times that the truck was a gift, my appreciation has been chipped away.
This is the way guilt goes. Guilt around gifts chips away at gratitude.
A car. An education. A relationship. A job. God's love. Guilt.
Guilt springs to life when we feel we have something we don't deserve. In this, it is a frequent companion to grace. God gives us life and love we don't deserve. And sometimes guilt just overwhelms us.
We respond to guilt in unhealthy ways, don't we? We soak in the guilt, cower. We hide the gift or ignore it, hoping the guilt will get bored and wander away. We rail against the guilt, claiming we deserved the gift, that the gift was a payment.
But some gifts refuse to let us cower. Some gifts refuse to wander away. Some gifts are so clearly gifts that no one can confuse them for payment. Some gifts are so great, our only appropriate response is gratitude.
The gospel of Jesus tells the story of a great gift from God. The gospel calls us to gratitude. Gratitude, not guilt, not shame. Gratitude, worship, attention. Isn't that better than guilt?
So perhaps gratitude is a right response to all gifts: love, health, work ... even a truck.
Do you find that guilt makes it harder for you to be grateful?