Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Deeper Level of Thankfulness?

Over the years, I’ve mostly gotten used to not having the nicest stuff, or even having a lot of flexibility in our budget to afford spending much money on new “things”. Being unemployed for six months certainly didn’t help, and now although I have a good job with decent pay, we’re still trying to get caught up from the unemployment time, our relocation expenses, our recent trip to Florida for my brother’s 30th birthday, and on and on.

This morning though, the Cincinnati Enquirer has “5 pounds worth of savings for Black Friday” in it. So I looked in the Target ad, and instantly wanted the 50” 1080p TV for $350, and the 61-key keyboard for $70, and to get the Canon Rebel camera package for Amanda (including memory card and telephoto lens) for $500. Man, what deals! And I started to see how people get so caught up that they wait in lines overnight or longer to conquer these savings and get this new stuff!

I have no doubt that the perspective of our financial status is based on our culture (what we see on TV, in the ads, etc), and on those around us (our neighbors, friends, co-workers, etc). So it’s difficult if not impossible to think that we ever have “enough”, or to not want more, because we see all of the things around us that we don’t have.

The perspective of our gratitude though, is dependent of our heart, and of our relationship to God.  I’m currently reading a book (that Amanda has already read), called “One Thousand Gifts”. In it, the author talks about the original text that is written to describe Jesus “giving thanks” at the last supper in Luke 22:19, which is eucharisteo. Jesus knew He was going to be tortured, crucified, and (even worse?) separated from God, yet still He was able to be grateful for what He had at that very moment.  Numerous other verses are cited too, where Jesus thanks God after or during difficult times. Then too, when Jesus healed the 10 lepers in Luke 17 and only one came back to thank Him, Jesus replied “Stand up and go, your faith has saved you” (the most literal translation).

They were all physically healed, but the one who was thankful was saved. Of course, this doesn't mean that thankfulness is the source of salvation. But our ability to focus on God is very largely dependent on turning our attention and our desires away from our culture and/or our friends. Then we can be thankful for all of the things that we have, instead of looking longingly at that which we do not.

And you might want to put down those ads.  They'll get you every time!  

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