“God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”
A man sat in an up-scale restaurant behind a table dressed in linen and the finest tableware. He ordered an exceptional wine from an extensive list and a la carte from a carefully crafted menu. The kitchen was staffed by a world-reknown chef and his team. When the wine came the man criticized its’ bouquet. When the food came he nit-picked each course, all the while fussing about the service.
A woman returned from visiting her missionary brother who served in a poverty-stricken country. Whe asked about the people there one of her comments was, “They praise God joyfully for things I could never eat.”
Among the casualties of our materialistic culture are joy and gratitude. These are predictable consequences when we devote ourselves to aquisition and the preening of our appetites. Our expectations run away with themselves. Look around you. Even if you live in a somewhat diminished scale, chances are your home is filled with more than you need. Under such circumstances you would think that your joy and gratitude would be epidemic, contagious. Are they?
I knew a man once who had reached great heights on the corporate ladder. According to the common wisdom he “had it all”. Over time, he lost his edge in business then his job. He was forced to downsize. His wife, who had become accustomed to the perks of affluence, left him, taking everything she could in the divorce. Eventually he found his way to the church door. He was living in a small apartment and working in a job well under his qualifications. As we sat having coffee after worship one Sunday he expressed gratitude for his new life. “I never thought I’d be saying this”, he told me, “but I’m actually glad everything fell apart. I see the little things now and I’m thankful for every day.”
Feeding the unrequited appetites of the self and living with a profound sense of gratitude tend to be mutually exclusive. There is nothing complicated about this. If you sow unto yourself and your wants, you will reap the weeds of ingratitude and insatiable desire. if you invest the day with the currency of gratitude, even the smallest thing can provide the occasion to praise God joyfully.
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”