Thomas Jefferson once said, “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”
Do you remember Li’l Abner, Daisy Mae, and Mammy and Pappy Yokum? If not, they were all characters from the fictional hillbilly town of Dogpatch. Dogpatch was created in 1934 by Al Capp, and it was featured in his newspaper comic strip, Li’l Abner. Another memorable Dogpatch citizen was Joe Btfsplk (Btfsplk is a rude sound that can be made by closing your lips, sticking out your tongue, and blowing air through your lips.).
Joe Btfsplk was a well-meaning character who desperately wanted a friend, but he was always rejected by the folks in Dogpatch.
No one would befriend him, because it was believed that he was “the world’s worst jinx.” He was depicted with a dark cloud above his head, and this omen was infectious to anyone who crossed his path. It always brought them bad luck.
Some say that luck is an occurrence of random chance. It is a supernatural phenomena that is beyond our control. Do you believe this? Do horseshoes, four-leaf clovers, and rabbit’s feet really influence our future? Does the number seven really bring good luck? When someone knocks on wood, does this action really influence the outcome of an event? What about Friday the 13th, a black cat, or a broken mirror? Can they determine fate? I agree with a quote from the fictional Jedi Knight, Obi-Wan Kenobi. He said to Han Solo, “In my experience, there’s no such thing as luck.”
Since luck does not exist, is there any logical reason to wish someone good luck? I think not, yet this salutation is so ingrained in our English vocabulary, that it is used daily. When it is used in this context, I am certain that the origin and meaning of the word is not known by the well wisher.
Luck originated with the mythological goddess Fortuna who was initially worshipped as a fertility goddess. Her cult was introduced to Rome by the Etruscan King, Servius Tullius. Using a wheel of changeability (fortune) from her shrine in Antium, Fortuna supposedly granted good and evil favors to her pagan followers. She is depicted on a Roman coin (Trajan’s denarius) steering the course of destiny with a rudder in one hand and holding a cornucopia of abundance and prosperity in the other.
I do not know if Fortuna had an altar in Athens (Acts 17:16-34), but I am sure that the apostle Paul did not share in her salutation (Good Fortuna!). Like the other gods represented on the Areopagus, Fortuna was a counterfeit goddess (Isaiah 44:8-20). She was worshiped out of ignorance (Isaiah 40:18-26) and was nothing more than a myth.
It was Paul’s mission to proclaim the truth to those who followed such myths (Romans 15:17-21). Now that you know this, when Lady Luck comes knocking at your door, tell her to go away! Christian, are you up for the task?
“I know whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.” Daniel Whittle
Faith verses Luck