Yesterday our family went to the county fair. Fairs are not cheap. Getting a family of 8 through the doors cost us $100. We then forked over more to get bracelets for the rides. Of course no one escapes the smell of freshly fried Oreos!
It was a night of fun and Wendy and I were glad to do it. But our youngest, still 4 years old, found it hard to enjoy the moment. We were there for a family memory, but he was convinced it was all about him.
After a thrilling string of rides, he wanted more. He wanted for us to pay for those impossible games that steal your money. You know…fork over $10 for 5 ping balls you have to throw perfectly into a glass jar 20 feet away in a stiff wind. When we said no he threw a fit. He was out of sorts when we didn’t buy the $20 camel ride. When we said no to the glow sticks, toy swords, and plastic gizmos by the exit, he again stomped his feet.
I tried to explain the financials. I told him he should be more thankful instead of demanding. My sermonette was a bomb. Gratitude was not in his heart. Sadly he slumped in his car seat saying, “All the other kids get whatever they want, but not me.”
That’s OK. He’s growing, and I’m here to help. Here’s a question for us. Is that same spirit in us? Surrounded by God’s incredible goodness, are we comparing and complaining, wanting more? Do we feel bitter because we’re not getting what we think we deserve?
Here’s the crazy truth. The more we have the less thankful we are. Robert Morgan writes, “We tend to exhibit a degree of thanksgiving in reverse proportion to the amount of blessings we’ve received. A hungry man is more thankful for his morsel than a rich man for his heavily-laden table. A lonely woman in a nursing home will appreciate a visit more than a popular woman with a party thrown in her honor. If the birds only burst into song once a year, we’d all pay close attention. But because they are singing every morning, we scarcely bother to listen.”
That’s a recipe for a sad life. Here’s what God’s Word tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Now is a good time to intentionally give thanks to God. Count your blessings today. Name them one by one. If you will, you’ll find your heart wanting what you already have. As the old song by Johnson Oatman says…
When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost
Count your many blessings name the one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done
Are you ever burdened with a load of care
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear
Count your many blessings every doubt will fly
And you will be singing as the days go by