My wife and I are in the process of buying a new house. If you’ve ever gone through this before, you know it can be a pretty huge and daunting task. Finding the right house is a pretty big challenge by itself, but then you get to do all sorts of fun things with insurance and warranties and inspections and appraisals and roofers and electricians — and who even knows what escrow actually is?
For our little family, this move is an exciting blessing. Ever since we had our first kiddo six months ago, we realized how quickly we outgrew our space. Babies don’t actually take up that much square footage, but my goodness they actually kind of do! When I start daydreaming of what our lives will be like with a basement and an extra bedroom and actual storage space, I get pretty giddy with excitement.
- I remember the backyard is full of dead grass and weeds.
- We’ve never had a basement, but this one is kind of small.
- Our bedroom has its own bathroom, but the door is in an annoyingly inconvenient spot.
- The kitchen is fine, but it sure would be nice to have better countertops.
Before long, my mind is racing with Joanna Gaines-esque sketches of knocking down walls and adding floor-to-ceiling windows and backsplash and French doors and shiplap, shiplap, shiplap.
For me, it’s unfortunately way too easy to take a ginormous blessing and turn it into a long list of complaints.
Isn’t that ridiculous? You never do that, do you?
Holidays and Commandments
“Being thankful” is just one in a long list of really simple things that are really hard to actually do. We have so much to be thankful for. I don’t care where you live, what job you have, what your relationship status is or really anything else. If you’re fortunate enough to have access to a device (which you likely own) connected to the internet to read these words, you are blessed.
I thought about throwing a bunch of stats at you about what percentage of people in the world own their own cars and how many people live on less than a dollar a day, but you don’t need that. Even without knowing those exact numbers, you know you are blessed and have a lot to be thankful for.
I know that too, but I don’t always feel it. Despite all that head knowledge, sometimes it takes real mental exercise to feel thankful.
Have you ever taken a minute to think about Thanksgiving? Isn’t it a little strange that we have a national holiday celebrating a feeling? We never take time to applaud traits like honesty or integrity or purity, but for some (wise) reason, our founding fathers realized it was a good idea to step back and take time to be thankful.
Have you ever taken time to think about the Ten Commandments? When God was giving His people the most important rules for them to follow, including the “big ones” about not killing and lying and stealing, God also instructed His people to not covet others’ stuff.
Thankfulness is really important. Especially in our world today where we see eight quadrillion advertising messages every second (… or whatever the most recent stat is), it is so easy to drift into discontentment.
There’s a really fascinating story in the book of Luke where Jesus approaches 10 people inflicted with leprosy. Especially in that time of history, these guys would have been untouchable outcasts with very little hope for a better life. When Jesus came near, these 10 raised their voices and shouted to Jesus, asking Him to have mercy on them. Jesus looked at them with love and told them to visit a priest. As soon as they did, all 10 of them were miraculously healed.
But the story doesn’t end there.
Out of those 10, only one went back to thank Jesus. This was ridiculous, and Jesus pointed it out by saying, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?” (Luke 19:17). After this life-changing miracle of saving them from an incurable disease, only one chose to express gratitude.
All You Need
My square-footage-hogging baby I mentioned earlier sometimes has little fussing spells. For no particular reason, she will sometimes burst into tears and fuss and fuss and fuss. In those moments when she seems inconsolable, I often tell her, “You have everything you need.”
You have everything you need.
I have everything I need.
It is incredibly easy to look at your house or your job or your family or your friends or your stuff and find yourself lacking. With my career choices, I will likely always have friends who make more money than I do. We’ll never have the nicest house. We rarely go on exciting vacations or exuberant shopping excursions. There’s a lot of stuff I’ll never have and things I’ll never get to do.
But I have everything I need. I have way more than I need. I shouldn’t covet anything, but I should take time to be thankful way more than just one day in November. Our God is a good, good Father whose grace is truly amazing. I don’t have everything I want, but my goodness — my basic needs are always met and I have my fair share of fun toys.
Remember the lepers in Luke. Don’t be the nine; be the one. Don’t covet; be thankful.
The grass is not always greener on the other side; your (dead) grass is greener when you choose to be grateful.