Intro: A story
“There was a blind girl who hated herself because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She told her boyfriend, ‘If I could only see the world, I will marry you.’
One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her. When the bandages
came off, she was able to see everything, including her boyfriend.
He asked her, ‘Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?’ The girl looked at her boyfriend and saw that he was blind. The sight of his closed eyelids shocked her. She hadn’t expected that. The thought of looking at them the rest of her life led her to refuse to marry him.
Her boyfriend left in tears and days later wrote a note to her saying: ‘Take good care of your eyes, my dear, for before they were yours, they were mine.’
This is how the human brain often works when our status changes. Only a very few remember what life was like before, and who was always by their side in the most painful situations.
Life Is a Gift”
This story is a great reminder to all of us how we can take this life and everything in it for granted. Here are 3 broad areas of life that are most important that we tend to neglect and take for granted.
1. Things, Possessions and Lifestyle
We all at one point or another have taken this life for granted. We, here in the United states of America, the most blessed nation of all, enjoy freedoms and pleasure more than most. We have many opportunities to make a living and experience life through a comfortable view. everyone one of us here has a place to call home, we have running hot and cold water, food in the kitchen, technological appliances that make chores convenient. we have our health and strength. We can be comforted that we have health care if the need arises. everyone of us has an abundance of things in our life. even if we don’t have the latest we have more possessions that we actually need.
and that has been the story of our life. I know I can see God’s blessing hand in all that i have. Im sure you can as well. But what comes with that? with all the possessions we have? with all the luxuries and blessings? we can become ungrateful and forget how blessed we are and become a self centered unhappy rotten being. I think it is possible and I think it can happen too easily.
Remember God has blessed us with the true necessities in life and tomorrow isn’t promised and that our reality can be changed in a moments notice! Just ask Job… Yet sometimes we forget to think on these things and praise God for all we have. God knew that and reminded each and everyone of us who the real source of life and blessings.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
you see.. your blessings haven’t come from your hand, no matter how hard you worked. God has allowed that door to come open for you, He gave you your abilities, He gives you daily your needs, He heals you and sustains you. It is God not you or I. Lets stop taking these things for granted
2. People and Relationships
Now this could arguably be the most sensitive point on this topic. Humans were made to be in connection with each other. We are relational beings and needy for interaction. relationships are key to survival, and it is what produces physical life. everyone, and I mean everyone, from the infant to the elderly infant, from the wicked to the do gooders, all is in need of love. knowing this, it makes you wonder why we would take this vital key to existence for granted. If you’d ask someone what their top desires or goals in life are, I could have a strong guess that some would want friends, to find a spouse, have a family and enjoy life with those they love. No matter the geographical location, language or creed people want and desire these things.
yet, as a global society and community we are failing at being grateful for the blessing of friendship, companionship, and the holy union of marriage. Just look at the entertainment, our TV shows, music and movies, they all portray a society of failed relationships, loneliness and envy. instead of cherishing and fostering our relationships with each other we take them for granted and destroy them.
friends turning the backs on friends, people making relationships solely for personal gain, adultery, fornication, physical, emotional and verbal abuse, not forgiving, not uplifting and helping, not sharing and including, Lying lips. There are so many ways we take relationships for granted.
Colossians 3:12-14 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
look into your life and the relationships have and analyze what you have and be grateful brethren! Learn to love who you have in this life today, right now, we cant afford to let anger and hurt get the best of us. we may end up tomorrow in deep regret. Lets forgive one another, lets put away the things of the past and the trespasses of others, lets give everyone a fresh start with a blank slate, and rebuild our relationships with each other. a christian must be the bigger and first person to forgive.
3. Calling, Promises, The Kingdom
earlier this week I had the random desire to look at the life of John the Baptist. I found a article that explained His life is great detail and I found a few lessons we could learn from. Not much is said about him, but we do know he was a righteous man who served God and prepared the way for Jesus to start His ministry. Johns life was extraordinary in the sense that he was able to stay humble, focused and obedient more than any other in the bible. Christ mentioned so in Luke 7:28, saying that among those born of woman, meaning all man except Jesus, there isn’t a greater prophet. That is a monumental compliment and accolade from the savior of all mankind. Yet John was a simple man and humble, not taking His calling in vain or for granted. John chose to accept his calling and honor God with his life.
there are three distinct lessons we can take from him. first he wholeheartedly believed in the faith of Abraham and the promise of a messiah. This truth is what most in the world don’t understand and many who do are starting to forsake. Without this hope, brethren, our faith and life is in vain. we cant lose sight of this glorious day of Christ coming and our redemption.
secondly, He was a strong witness of Christ and the Kingdom. John did not hold back the truth that was given to him. he told everyone, even those who were the religious authorities at the time, that they need to repent and that the were wrong. He wasn’t afraid to rock the boat, make waves or to be what God called him to be, which was different. we to have to be different than this world, yes, that means our unconverted families, friends and coworkers. are you afraid to be different?
thirdly, He had faith that made men fear him and the power of God. there is a surprisingly common cause and effect throughout the bible. from Abraham to moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Paul and peter. from genesis to revelation, you will find that when men wholeheartedly trusted and relied on God and His salvation, that society feared them and God. if we have unwavering faith in the power of His spirit, and have the mindset of what can man do to me, people will respect, take heed and listen to God. but we have to be willing to be that living target, sacrifice and martyr. we have to want to preach the Gospel to the world without fear and with true faith.
I Timothy 4:14-16 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
If we model our life after Johns example of obedience, humility and faith we will not take this calling for granted. we in return fulfill our purpose, pass our test, and show the world God and His truth.
I want to end with the second half of that story I introduced this message with. its the practical application of gratitude not ungratefulness.
“Today before you say an unkind word – Think of someone who can’t speak.
Before you complain about the taste of your food – Think of someone who has nothing to eat.
Before you complain about your husband or wife – Think of someone who’s crying out to GOD for a companion.
Today before you complain about life – Think of someone who went too early to heaven.
Before whining about the distance you drive Think of someone who walks the same distance with their feet.
And when you are tired and complain about your job – Think of the unemployed, the disabled, and those who wish they had your job.
And when depressing thoughts seem to get you down – Put a smile on your face and think: you’re alive and still around”.