September, 2016 – In Every Thing, Give Thanks

September, 2016 – In Every Thing, Give Thanks

I heard this recently – ‘What if when you got up every morning, all you had was what you had thanked God for the day before?’  That really resonated in my mind and heart, because not only am I not nearly as thankful as I need to be, but often I even forget to thank my Heavenly Father for all that I have asked Him.   And not only that, but I often grumble over my circumstances and what I do have.   As I look around me in both Europe and the States, on the whole I see a less than thankful people.  So many seem to be dissatisfied with what they have, or their lot in life.

‘Why don’t I have more money?’  ‘Why can’t I lose weight?’  ‘Why is my hair so curly (or straight)?’  ‘Why can’t I find a better job?’  ‘If only my boss would speak to me like I’m an adult?’  ‘Why doesn’t my chocolate pie recipe come out right?’  ‘My friend/family member drives me crazy!’

Why am I not naturally grateful with all that God blesses me?  I don’t know.  I have to use a discipline to teach myself to be more thankful and appreciative.  And I’m still not doing so well.  But I’m working on it – consciously disciplining myself to be grateful for everything I have – to say ‘Thank You, Lord.  You are so good to me – (no matter my circumstance)’.   William James, a pragmatist in the late 1800’s said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind”.   As a follower of Christ living in the 21st century, I have much to learn from that statement.

Secondly, I have much to learn from Amalia – from Cantea – from Elena – from Andrei.  These four are precious young people from one of the State-run orphanages LFA takes care of in Romania.  They are ‘lifers’ – mentally-challenged, disposable, thrown-away, unloved, even disregarded as humans – orphans who from birth have been under the State’s supervision.  Yet!  Amalia always has a smile on her face, helps the other orphans who are even less fortunate than she, loves deeply, and considers everyone else’s needs before her own.

Cantea’s life is desperate.  He was abandoned and abused from birth.  Yet!  He always has a smile for me.  He has taken it upon himself to feed, clean, and wipe an older man who has no legs or hands and lives in the same room with Cantea.  Can you imagine?  Elena’s posture is one of a poor little animal who has been beaten all its life.  Yet!  She loves, always wears a smile, and aims to please.  If Andrei were in the States, he could be working stocking shelves in a supermarket or working with his hands in some capacity.  Instead, his life is in an orphanage – one of the worst in Romania.  Yet!  He chooses to exercise his gift of ‘helps’ from feeding the most helpless and feeble ones, to stacking wood at the orphanage, to seeing a need and taking care of it before anyone else notices.   Amalia, Cantea, Elena and Andrei all do their ‘lot in life’ with a smile on their face, and without grumblingBoy 1 . . .

Lastly, and most importantly I have much to learn from Scripture.  I need to meditate on I Thessalonians 5.18.  I need to learn daily to ‘give thanks in every thing in my life.  And with my best interest in His mind, I need to do it because it is ‘the will of God in Christ Jesus for me’!