Compare and Contrast July 2018
Dissatisfaction and ingratitude can really mess you up. We are given so much and often appreciate it so little. The older I get, the more I realize that many of the things I have accomplished in life were neither by chance, nor by luck. Oh, I definitely worked hard to get all of it done, but divine provision was there all the way along. When I lose the gratitude appropriate for those blessings, I have cut off their source.
When it comes to my home, there will always be people that have more than I do, and others that have less. With clean water coming from a tap, a bathroom inside my home, heat and airconditioning, a little house for my car, refrigeration for my food, a kitchen in the house, an almost complete lack of bugs, and a roof that doesn’t leak, I am in the top one percent of all the people in the world. Yet my mind wanders to dreams of a vanishing edge swimming pool, a second bathroom, a deep freezer, more garage space for my storage, and a front room to entertain guests which isn’t filled with computers and filing cabinets. All these thoughts make me less appreciative of what I have.
When it comes to power, I hope for more control over my destiny. I covet others’ ability to do what they wish because they own a business with good employees. They can take off to Cabo San Lucas, or Italy, or a river cruise down the Mississippi. They can take a break while I must stay here to manage my affairs on a personal basis. Yet, the people I know with those freedoms are bound up with other worries. Worries that might crush a lesser person like myself. They must borrow money to keep their business afloat during the “off” season, their adult children are a handful, every day holds the threat of disaster from an industrial accident or a supervisor who makes a bad choice. I am really well off.
When it comes to my crimes, I am reminded of my responsibility for a retail store in a corner of the hotel I managed.. We installed a video camera to provide some protection for our clerks. Since the hotel was one block from the city jail, when someone was released he would often come immediately to this store to buy cigarettes and a pint of hard liquor. It was captured on the videos. Our clerks were adept at spotting them and often asked, “So you just got out? What were you in for?” We saw this on the video tapes. Without fail, the parolee would say, “You know what they had me in there for?” Followed by something like, “I only shot him once and he made me do it.” “I only had 30 traffic tickets. It wasn’t like I was a murderer or something.” “I only stabbed her once. I wasn’t trying to kill her or anything.” Every one of them considered himself innocent, at least innocent in relationship to someone that was more guilty than he was. I too compare my offenses to those of others as a way to excuse what I have done.
I am far better off to be who God made me and to take responsibility for my own actions. More than that I should have gratitude for all with which I have been blessed. I have decided not to let the enemy of man deprive me of my joy or the peace of satisfaction which is the ultimate blessing. I am happy with what I have because I chose to be. I am grateful.