I’ll make a confession. When I was still a child I once visited my cousins in Korea. They lavished on me, their American family, with food, gifts, affection. They shared everything with me. I was so blessed. And so ungrateful. One day someone bought a couple of robot toys for us cousins. They were dispersed among us, but came up one short. The last one was in the hands of my cousin Raymond (not his Korean name FYI) and I promptly snatched it out of his hands, took it to myself, coddled it, and turned my back to him. I remember the bewildered look on his face out the corner of my eye.
And that is my confession.
I am a sinner too. Being grateful for what God has blessed me with. This is something I continually struggle with. I look at what God has given others, at what God has gifted and blessed others with. And I think I deserve it. It’s mine too. I must have what is theirs. That is why ungratefulness is sinfulness. Because it is also covetousness, entitlement, stealing, envy as well. It is the same sin King David fell into when he took another man’s wife, as if he didn’t have enough already. Whatever end of the spectrum I am on, whether having more or less, either way, wanting what is others is a destructive pastime to engage in.
Conversely, I find that the antidote is celebrating others’ successes. It is in becoming truly happy for another that we find happiness ourselves. And more than just being happy, it also means being engaged with them.
When I am truly grateful today I recognize: God has gifted me with so much; I am immensely blessed, I have a quality of life that I wouldn’t trade anything for; a wonderful congregation, beautiful and enriching friendships, and a God-blessed drive for work and creativity – which I get a chance to exercise through my vocation. I am the luckiest man alive.
Will you exercise gratitude with me today? Be more aware of the blessings God has placed in your life? Let’s think hard and count our many blessings today. Thank you, Lord.