Meanderings of a Minister

Thankful for What We Have
July 3, 2013, 8:17 pm
Filed under: Articles

Haiti Team

Having just returned from another mission trip to Haiti, I have been reflecting on our time there and what we experienced.  In this rumination, I have been reminded to be thankful for what we have been entrusted with in America.

First, to have food.  I don’t mean just to have food we like or even prefer, but we should be thankful that we have food.  Even the poorest of Americans can usually find some food, if they look hard and far enough.  Stepping Stones Shelter feeds anyone in need in Liberal.  In June alone they fed 2250 meals.  There are food pantries, soup kitchens, and generous people that will often share with those in need.  We have grocery stores, restaurants, food stamp programs, WIC, and any other number of programs that can help to meet a need if someone should run out of food.  We should be thankful.

We should be thankful for clean water.  A lot of people I know turn their noses up at tap water.  They buy bottled water and pay handsomely for the privilege.  But even our tap water is clean.  We can bathe in it without fear of disease.  We can drink it without fear of parasites.  We can swim in it without fear of infection.  We have water in water fountains, fire hydrants, office water coolers, and sprinkler systems.  We should be thankful.

We have access to education.  While we often disagree on what should be taught in our public education, we are blessed to have programs and laws that make education available.  We have homeschooling, private schooling, church schooling, public schooling, apprenticeships, on-the-job training, technical education, colleges…the list goes on and on.  People can learn to read and write.  We have had it so long that we forget we should be thankful.

We have consistent police and fire protection.  For many other nations, the police are a group that preys upon those who cannot take care of themselves.  Our police are there to protect us and serve the greater good of the society in which we live.  They deter crime instead of remaining the instigators of it.  We have armed forces to protect us and our interests.  We are blessed and we should be thankful.

We have electricity, healthcare, clothing, toothpaste, deodorant, streets, traffic rules, neighbors, churches, freedom to express ourselves and participate in our own governance.  We are truly blessed.

So…why don’t we FEEL blessed?  Why is it that we always think about what we don’t have instead of being blessed by what we do have?  I believe the answer is simple.  We don’t thank God for what we have and we don’t share it enough with others.  Philemon 6 says, in the New International Version, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.”  In this verse, Paul tells Philemon that he would not truly understand all of the wonderful things we have in Christ until we share it with others.

As I return from Haiti and settle back into life in the United States, I am challenged to keep the light of gratitude and gratefulness burning.  The best way to do that is to share what I have with others, to share Who I have with others, and to find things to be thankful for as I search for what else I can share.


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