Yesterday through a podcast episode I was reminded of the value of gratitude, even more so the importance of writing it down.
When I woke up this morning, I had a WhatsApp message from a pastor in Egypt sharing an update and requesting prayer. I met him in 2018 on a couple of trips to Jordan. Anytime I hear from those Jordanian contacts I’m reminded of the differences in our worlds. West vs. Middle East. Levels of freedom, finances, housing, opportunities, health services-basically every facet of life.
As I prayed for him I was convicted of taking for granted these life blessings that are better than most people in the world. So I followed through with the prompting to write down what I’m grateful for, but I did it differently than before. I made a list of sentences that had a fill-in-the-blank. The sentence was, “My is better than most.” Got a little more real, more thankful, more humbling, more worshipful.
Here are some of my sentences:
- My finances are better than most
- My health is better than most
- My home is better than most
- My security is better than most
- My freedom is better than most
- My future is better than most
- My family is better than most
What words would you use to fill in the blank? How blessed are you better than most?
(Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash)
I’m really enjoying my current read, A Spirituality of Listening by Keith Anderson. If you’re attending First Baptist Bradenton tomorrow, you’ll hear some references.
I just finished chapter five, Story: Shaped by Biblical Narrative. Here are some examples of why you might enjoy this book:
God doesn’t ask that we rise above all of life’s pain; rather, he asks that we bring all of our story to God. God doesn’t ask that we walk around in disguise pretending there are no holes in our hearts; God asks that we bring those painful hearts to the throne of grace.
When someone says thank you for something you have done, it is a gift of gratitude from God. When someone shows you love, that love is a gift of grace from God. When someone tells you the truth, it is a gift of love because God cares to move you from your defenses, hiding, and resistance. Telling our story to one another is perhaps the most sacred thing we do because God shows up in the words, emotions, and crafting of our words.
This week I’ve been reminded not to take things for granted.
Tuesday while I was eating lunch at Firehouse, a former employee came in and was talking to the employees behind the counter. Everyone in the restaurant could overhear their conversation. One of them asked another one where they were living. When she answered, you could feel the pause in the air. From behind the work station, she said, “In a hotel.”
Note to self: everyone you encounter doesn’t necessarily live as comfortably you do.
Yesterday I received a text from a teacher at a school that our church partners with. She was asking if we had any toothpaste that we could provide for some students who didn’t have any. Because of their lack of a common hygiene item, they were being bullied.
Note to self: everyone you encounter doesn’t necessarily have the basic necessities for living.
This reminded me of these statistics from a couple of sources:
- If you earn $25,000 or more annually, you are in the top 10% of the world’s income-earners.***
- If have any money saved, a hobby that requires some equipment or supplies, a variety of clothes in your closet, two cars (in any condition), and live in your own home, you are in the top 5% of the world’s wealthy. **
- If you earn more than $50,000 annually, you are in the top 1% of the world’s income earners.***
**Money Possessions & Eternity by Randy Alcorn, pg 291
***The Hole in our Gospel by Richard Stearns, President of World Vision, pg 216
The fact that I’m typing this on an iPad while sitting at a table in a condo larger than homes that many large families live in around the world is humbling. And I have plenty of toothpaste. Not only should it not be taken for granted, but it should be routine to practice sharing what I have with others. Thank you, God, for this reminder.