Thursday, November 25, 2010
Thankful For What?
I'll admit, sometimes I'm guilty of a cynical attitude. I know I'm called to be grateful for the things I have, but my circumstances swallow me up and I end up taking a swim in the pool of self pity. I observe those around me who have more stuff and wonder why I can't afford to have the same things. I leave the grocery store peeved because there were a few items I really wanted to get that just didn't make the cut this week and will have to wait until next--or maybe not at all. I wish I had nicer furniture and a faster internet connection. When I see what others have, I'm envious and feel sorry for myself.
Oh, I'm grateful for what I have, I just wish I had more. There's a line in the children's book by Dr. Suess, Yertle the Turtle, where King Yertle says, "I'm ruler of all that I see, but I don't see enough. That's the trouble with me." He had everything he needed, but still wanted more.
I just finished reading a book called The Hole In Our Gospel, written by Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision. I hated this book. It was awful. You should read it. I'm not going to go into detail, because my point is not to write a book review. But, the book is about our call as Christians to help the poor and impoverished of this world. It's also about how RICH we are.
A large part of my problem of wanting more and not being thankful for what I have, is that all too often, I'm comparing myself to the wrong people. I look at those who have more than me and wonder why I don't have what they have, rather than considering those with less than me (which according to the book is 99% of all people in the world!) and being immensley grateful for what I've been entrusted with. I get bent out of shape because I don't have HD on my TV, when there are 1.2 billion people in our world who don't even have clean water. Ouch. That's something I certainly take for granted.
I thought about this today as we shared Thanksgiving dinner at our church with a small group of friends. With the cold weather and storms we've had, a pipe broke and we were forced to serve a turkey dinner with no running water. Let me tell ya, that was a challenge. I was inconvenienced by the fact that I had to haul some water in a huge jug from my house to the church. I had to pause and think of those that have to haul water, by hand, every day...and it's not even good water. Suddenly I feel a little more thankful.
With Christmas now coming and materialism kicking into high gear, I think I'll try to keep in perspective all that I've been given and recognize the riches that are mine in Christ Jesus.