The people of Israel have a short memory. First, they didn’t have this buffet of fish and vegetables every day. Second, when they did get the good stuff it was far from free: they somehow had forgotten they were slaves.
One of the most important words we can learn, use, and embrace in our relational and spiritual lives is: “Thanks.” One way to experience dissatisfaction in life is when we focus our attention on what we do not have. God provided manna (מָן – literally means “what is it?”) for the people in the wilderness. It was what they needed. It wasn’t fish or vegetables, but it was more than enough. Instead of being grateful for what they had—manna—they focused on what they didn’t have—fish and vegetables. And there went any opportunity for contentment in their life.
Are we grateful for what we have or are we always longing for what we don’t have or what we would like to have? We should never allow our unfulfilled desires to cause us to forget God’s gifts of life, food, health, work and friends. I encourage you to write a list of things you are grateful for this year. Here is mine:
- For the simple things in life: a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear.
- For being able to run again. Having to walk up and down the steps with the help of the railing last spring wasn’t much fun.
- For laughter.
- For all the volunteers who make ministry possible. It is so cool to see the extraordinary things that an amazing God can do through ordinary people.
- For the small group that Amber and I lead. You all make me a better husband, dad, and person. I look forward to Sunday nights.
- For being a pastor and for the church. I wake up every morning excited about leading a ministry that is growing and thriving. So many of you are so generous with your resources, time, and energy. I am truly blessed to serve with you.
- For friends who share my burdens and celebrate in times of joy.
- For Benjamin and David. For the joy they bring and for teaching me about love, life, and God.
- For Amber. For her ministry as therapist, mom, and wife
- For God. Not much else needs to be said.