I often think about a sermon about the lepers who were healed by Jesus and only one returned to thank him. As I age I have made an effort to be thankful for more and more things. While the Deuteronomists tell us that if we adhere to God’s laws we will receive his blessings, and inversely if we DON’T then, well life gets tough. In Matthew Jesus is asked by his disciples was it the sin of the man or of his parents that caused the building to fall down on him (I am too lazy to go look up the exact passage and would welcome a commenter that can give me chapter and verse.) Jesus tells them that neither, sometimes things happen to glorify God. What? Buildings falling down glorifies God? How can that be. I remember a sermon about a series of bad things that had happened in the story and then the broader perspective was revealed and things were way better that they had happened the way they did. So when I maintain a thankful outlook on life I begin to look for wisdom and blessing in random events. I have had a string of good things happen as well and for that I am profoundly grateful, and now when I pray I give thanks as the first thing I say to God.
The political events of the past few weeks is a case in point of folks not giving thanks. You have a political party that is infested with envy and coveting to the point of losing track of reality. When they scream about cuts in spending remember that there are no cuts only decrease in rate of growth one year over the next. They talk about the collateral damage to the “least among us” and the elderly and the poor. Well let’s look at the poor in America. The Heritage Foundation put out some statistics that are startling to say the least. Here is a sample:
“In 2005, the typical household defined as poor by the government had a car and air conditioning. For entertainment, the household had two color televisions, cable or satellite TV, a DVD player, and a VCR. If there were children, especially boys, in the home, the family had a game system, such as an Xbox or a PlayStation. In the kitchen, the household had a refrigerator, an oven and stove, and a microwave. Other household conveniences included a clothes washer, clothes dryer, ceiling fans, a cordless phone, and a coffee maker. The home of the typical poor family was not overcrowded and was in good repair. In fact, the typical poor American had more living space than the average European. The typical poor American family was also able to obtain medical care when needed. By its own report, the typical family was not hungry and had sufficient funds during the past year to meet all essential needs. Poor families certainly struggle to make ends meet, but in most cases, they are struggling to pay for air conditioning and the cable TV bill as well as to put food on the table. Their living standards are far different from the images of dire deprivation promoted by activists and the mainstream media.” From here
Instead of giving thanks for the prosperity there is a steady drumbeat of promoting coveting and envy by the media that somehow all of the above is not enough. So then how much is enough?
I give thanks for all that I have, and just as importantly all that I don’t have.