There is an old preacher story, probably totally apocryphal, but I still chuckle every time I hear it. Here is how the story goes:
There was a man who loved old books. He was talking with an acquaintance who had just thrown away a Bible that had been stored in the attic of his ancestral home for generations. “I threw it out because I couldn’t read it,” the friend explained. “Somebody named Guten-something had printed it.” “Not Gutenberg!” the book lover exclaimed in horror. “That Bible was one of the first books ever printed. Why, a copy just sold for over two million dollars!”
His friend was unimpressed. “Mine wouldn’t have brought a dollar. Some fellow named Martin Luther had scribbled notes all over it in German.”
Even if the story is not true, what it reminds me of is the truth that sometimes the things we have right before us have incredible value. We are much happier people when we are thankful for those things that are right before us, wonderful gifts of God, rather than wanting something more or something else.
So, what is on my list of those things?
- Every day of life. We can take life for granted. Psalm 118:24, “This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Be thankful that God wakes you up in the morning and puts before you another amazing day of life to live, enjoy, and serve him.
- People. What a privilege for me to walk through life with Diane, our sons and their wives, our grandchildren. Our extended family is a treasure. God has also gifted us with friends who are with us through great times and tough times. II Peter 3 talks about the day when this earth on which we live will be destroyed by fire. What does God take out of here when everything else is gone? People. God gave his Son to redeem people. God finds people to be incredibly valuable. We should follow his lead and cherish the people who are right in front of us.
- Ministry experiences. It is never a matter of not having ministry opportunities or God not providing ministry opportunities – but it can be an issue of not seeing what the Lord has placed before us to do. Put your antennae up and walk through life with a servant heart, open to what the Lord wants you to do, and you will be thanking him every day for using your life.
- The church. I feel so incredibly blessed to be part of the Madison Christian Church segment of the Body of Christ. Here, the Bible is loved, the truth is spoken, and the fellowship is as rich as it gets. I genuinely feel bad for ministry colleagues who are always looking and longing for the next place. It is awesome to be overwhelmed with gratitude for what is right in front of you, where you are. Thank God for where he has placed you and bloom where you are planted.
I am certain that if you reflect on this truth you can personally create an expansive list of blessings that are right before your very eyes. Why not spend some time thanking God for those things?