For a season in my life, I wasn’t able to get a particular thought out of my mind. Maybe it’s relevant for you, too. Here it is: I need to be more grateful for what I have than concerned about what I don’t have.
I think it’s easy to focus on what we don’t have that we think we need. I think it’s very easy for children to do the same. After all, they learn a lot from observing and listening to adults, don’t they? (Listen to your language. Do you complain often about what you’re lacking?)
God has reminded me over-and-over again that we can always choose gratitude, optimism, faith, and other responses that honor Him over those that may be more common in the world.
We moved our offices in 2006. It was a lot of work and it was emotionally taxing because we didn’t really want to move. We had a beautifully decorated suite in a building with a fabulous atmosphere and it was home to us. We were productive there.
The building was sold and we couldn’t afford the new rent so we looked for alternative space. We found what we thought would work well, but within days of our move-in date, this space fell through. God directed us elsewhere and we’re now in and working. But, it’s our third choice.
We are choosing to make the space work. We are choosing to be more grateful for what we have than concerned about what we don’t have. We are choosing to see it as God’s best for us. This choice makes a difference!
Before we moved, I shared a devotional with my staff based on Mark 6:34-44 which accounts the miracle of Jesus feeding 5,000 men (plus women and children) with just five small loaves of bread and two fish. There are many parallels between this miracle and our situation.
When Jesus’ disciples talked with Him about all the people who needed something to eat, Jesus told them, in Mark 6:38, to “go and see” how many loaves of bread they had. While packing for our move, we were able to do a thorough inventory. One staff person found pens in six different places in her office. Others located misplaced files and old ideas scribbled onto buried papers that they can develop into messages that matter. We are glad we have “gone and seen” what we have.
Before Jesus fed the 5,000 men, he directed His disciples to organize them into small groups. This made the distribution of the food more efficient and probably assured that every man received enough. We were all glad for this reminder that organization increases efficiency and stewardship. As we unpack and configure our offices and file cabinets, each of us can become more organized than we were. This will increase our stewardship.
After counting the bread and fish, the disciples gave them to Jesus. It was in His hands that the food was multiplied. We must give Jesus what we have. We are choosing anew to give Him our time, talents, ideas, and material blessings. We want to be good stewards of them all. We pray Jesus will multiply what we give Him so we can influence more people, just as He multiplied the fish and bread to feed more people.
More important than those parallels, though, is this one: I’m humbled when I see that Jesus took the bread and fish, looked up to heaven, and gave thanks. I don’t know about you, but I’m afraid I might have been very tempted to react differently. I might have assumed the food wasn’t even from God because there was so little for so many people. Therefore, I might not have looked to Him at all. And, would I have given thanks or might I have complained that there wasn’t enough food? I wonder.
I want the faith Jesus had to give thanks in those circumstances. I want children to have it, too. I think this deep faith starts with gratefulness. When I thank God for everything, it means I’ve seen God in everything. This will help me believe Him for anything.
Listen to your language.