When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. (Deuteronomy 8:10)
Relate: The problem with good times is that we think we deserve them, or that we have done something to deserve them. Some of you might be thinking that is too harsh a statement so let me back up a little bit…
A little boy is looking forward to Christmas. His parents love him very much and he has made his list. Wonder of wonders, they give him everything he’s asked for. Everything! They got him a hatchimal. Not only did he get the Star Wars interactive action figure but also a lego Millennium Falcon to add to his already immense lego collection. For those times that he must be outside, he can not drive around the remote controlled Nerf-N-Strike blaster (because actually holding that Nerf gun is your hand is sooooo yesterday). He has it made. Life is good.
Except he doesn’t clean his room. He has been warned, but somehow it just can’t come clean. he wants to obey his parents… there’s just too many distractions. There are too many great things to play with. Then one day, dad comes in and takes one of those toys away. Dad is so mean. Still, there are plenty of others, except… the next day another one is gone. And another the day after that. Soon, most have disappeared and the poor boy is sitting on his (unmade) bed crying about how unfair and cruel his dad is. Why does he make all these stupid rules. Doesn’t he know how hard it is to keep things clean?
React: Sometimes we sit on our beds, while everything around us is a mess, and complain about the cruelness of God (or life, or circumstances… whatever) The gifts, the blessings God has given us are ours. They are a gift. But they come with a responsibility. Only when we realize that any gifts we have been given are because we are loved by a Father who wants to give us good things. It is because He is loving, not because we are good (or smart, or talented, or… whatever) that we have been blessed.
The blessings of God, like gifts under the tree serve two purposes. 1) They are for the enjoyment of the one receiving the gift. 2) They serve to forge a deeper bond between those exchanging gifts. Too often we live with a sense of entitlement and rather than show gratitude and express love, the same gifts that have been lavished on us with love serve as a wedge between us and our Father. Let it not be.
If the gifts You have given me are keeping me from You, take them away. Your heart is what I want to pursue, not Your hand. Help me to remember that in my times of petulance. Help me not to forget that You give and take away, and let me always say, “Blessed be Your Name.” Help me to have an attitude of appreciation, a heart of gratitude for the good things I have been given. When I have eaten my fill, help me to praise You.