Monday, May 30, 2011

Are we thankful for what we have or resentful for what we don't have?

One thing I've learned in my almost 25 years of following Christ (Friday is my spiritual birthday) is that you can't teach gratitude--it has to come from within. As I mentioned on here a little over a month ago, I'd just lost my job, but thanks to a couple years of diligent food storage efforts, my family won't have to worry about food for several months. I started a new job almost two weeks ago, and I'm very grateful for it. The downside at the moment is that while it's a full-time job, I took a significant pay cut from my previous job and the wages at my new job will cover everything except gas and food costs. Now, I could be ungrateful for the fact that I'm shorter on cash than I'd like to be, but I have a little bit of cash to fall back on and, to emphasize the point again, no trips to the grocery will be needed for several months except for milk and (until we start making our own) bread, because we have plenty of food on hand. Now, at some point, our income will have to exceed our expenses, or else our reserves will be depleted--so from the perspectives of some people, I'd have every right to be upset. But let's think back to basic math--half of something is more than nothing, right? I'd rather have a job at half of my previous salary than nothing at all! Keeping at least some cash flowing in is stemming the financial blood loss, so to speak, and I'm very grateful for that!

Some people at my new place of work aren't so happy about the job, though. I'd never worked in a factory until now, and it's been a bit more strenuous physically than I'd anticipated. But because of that, I've slept really well at night the past couple weeks because I've been really tired! But I've been hearing one person after another at the factory say that they hate their jobs, with one man yesterday emphasizing his feelings about his job by frequent use of a four-letter F-word. (You'll have to take my word for it that his word of choice was not "fine"!) So as I'm standing there across the line from him putting our widgets together, I'm thinking to myself, "Dude, would you rather be unemployed and have even less money and less food?"

Remember that I mentioned in my first post a few months ago that I've been really hungry before and don't want to be hungry like that again? I'm guessing that this guy didn't get the memo! I've had a number of jobs that I really haven't liked, but I disliked starving more than I disliked my job! But then it all goes back to gratitude, which can't be taught or conditioned--it has to come from Christ. Take a look at what Paul wrote in Philippians 4:10-13:

"I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength."

You can have all the "stuff" in the world and still not have peace. But you can also be destitute and in abject poverty, but still have Christ's peace inside. It's not a matter of whether your cup is half empty or half full--it's a matter of Who is filling your cup! If Christ is not the one who is giving you strength and peace, then you don't have strength and peace--you have an imposter. But if He is the one filling you from the inside out, who or what in this world can stop it or take it away from you?

I'm thankful for my new job. I'm thankful for a family that loves me. But most importantly, I'm thankful for God's grace through Christ in my life, even though I don't deserve it. I'll update you guys soon on what the Lord is doing in my new job and in this next stage of my life. In the meantime, what is He doing in yours?


  1. What is He doing in my life?

    He's defeating my mom's cancer. We found out this week that she's early stage 1 and the doctor seems confident that he got to it before it spread to the surrounding tissue or lymph nodes.

  2. A Huge Amen!

    An attitude of gratitude is essential. Acknowledging that every good thing is a gift from God, putting our focus on Him and not on ourselves. We must remember that He is the creator, and we are the created. It's (life) not all about us. We must shed our self centered attitudes, and become Christ centered.

    Am I grateful? You bet I am. I thank God on a daily basis (at least once a day) for ALL of the blessings that he brings into my life.

    Beginning with salvation.....