October 22, 2016

Gratitude Potential

A gift I gave one of my nephews for Christmas stands out in his memory. He had been giving his folks some grief that year and while I meant his gift topper as a joke, he thought I was being MEAN and he said it was the worse Christmas he ever had and to this day, points me out as his MEAN OLD AUNT. I made him a bundle of sticks.
One of my best Christmas gifts was a big box of craft goodies that I was supposed to share with my sisters and brother. At first, I was resentful that I had to share, but they could not see the fun to be had in dumb ole school supplies such as a paint box, crayons, scissors, construction paper, paste, coloring books, etc., so eventually they left the box for other playthings and I was able to create with them all by myself.  Like my ungrateful nephew, they could not see the potential for fun in my parents' gift.
I don't remember what I created from the items in that box, but I do remember the delight in crafting. You could say that I had the creative bent even then. I asked my nephew what he did with the sticks and he said he threw them away. Just think of opportunity he tossed out.  He could have gained new skills as he MacGyver'ed  new things from those sticks -- he could have drilled out the center and made hillbilly pens, sold them and gained pocket money for what he wanted to buy; he could have carved them into miniature chains, beads, or made jewelry as novelty gifts; he could have made a whistle with them, he could have made drumsticks or toothpicks with them, and so forth. It's all in how you "see" things.
Gratitude is like that. Sometimes it's a real struggle to see what we have to be grateful for. We have either never been able to see the gratitude potential or haven't trained ourselves long enough to see it. I think that's part of the struggle I've had this last year. I was stretching for fantastic things to be thankful for and couldn't see any. I was ungrateful for the ordinary things I was taking for granted.  I realized that Sunday, when my pastor read out of 1 Timothy 2:1-4 -- "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God Our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."

While everyone is out there mudslinging about the next President-elect and other officials, who should we be grateful and praying for now? For the hearts and minds of our present elected authorities, the ones we already have and for the people under them -- that we behave ourselves, live in harmony, and make their jobs easier as overseers. Some day they will have to give an account as to how they ruled over us, just as we have to give an account for how we spent our lives to God.  But since everyone has a free will, some may not say yes to God, but then again some might and even though we might never know in our lifetime who has, that doesn't mean we shouldn't pray for them anyway.  Lord, help us to "see" the potential here, turned around hearts because we  prayed  grateful intercessory prayers.  Amen!

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"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe." (Hebrews 12:28).