|Posted on September 8, 2019 at 11:40 AM|
I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD. Psalm 116:17
Thankfulness is a sacrifice because to be honest I am more quick to think of things I lack, the things I think I need to be happy, the people I wish would change because as we know I am so perfected but a sacrifice of thanksgiving is something I have to consciously decided to do. To purposely remind myself of all the good things God has done for me. I have it written down because it doesn’t come naturally to remember these things. They get pushed in the back of my thinking so with on the spot thanksgiving my words become few.
Here today and gone tomorrow even as I sit here and type these words gratefulness for the time I have been given to share, to write, the silence, the solitude to spend with God. My mind is not somewhere else thinking about what needs to be done, how much time in the day is left to do what I need to do. At that moment the sound of my 9 and 10 year old pups breathing under the couch. Part panda part raccoon. Their presence brings me joy. Except maybe those times they snap at me when I brush them or I have to clean up after them. They know the bathroom is outside but if we leave them alone for too long they become lazy or spiteful, still trying to decide.
Gratitude was the recurring message in my devotionals today. H is working on his day off and although in the past I would be quick to complain. I use this time to write. This time to spend more time in the presence of God. Grateful I was able to watch two teachings instead of one this morning because there was nothing that needed to be done or someplace I needed to be. Grateful I woke up before my alarm and shared devotionals over coffee before he left. Sharing thoughts and hopes and dreams, gratitude for all these things.
I wonder how long I could go through this day saying thank you for everything even the things I could complain about finding a reason to be thankful for it. Like my family, thankful they are here to witness life with me. Instead of focused on all the ways they could do a better job at taking care of themselves. Grateful for the health and wholeness of our son instead of focused on his faults and every area he doesn’t take personal responsibility for his life like finishing his driving classes, completing his schoolwork, and don't get me started on his personal space. And there goes my grateful heart.
Why is gratitude so hard to hold onto? Like holding the wind. Catching it in a kite watching it soar for a minute and then nose dive. My alarm sounds it is the hour of Reuben reminding me God sees my misery. He knows I struggle to hold this thing called gratitude. I am quicker to remember the plentiful things I am not grateful for than I am to remember what it is I am grateful for.
Sacrifice is defined as an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy. Could it be that I value the freedom to complain. That grumbling is my God given right that I am not quicker to give.
My ancestors grumbled in the desert. Their spirit still lives alive and well in me. In Exodus 15:22-27 at the bitter waters of Marah. Again in the wilderness of Sin in Exodus 16 when they were hungry for meat and missing their lives of slavery. That time in Exodus 17 when they complained of thirst once more where Moses named the place Massah which means test and Meribah which means arguing where they argued with Moses and tested the LORD. In Numbers 11 they complain about their hardships craving the “good” things of Egypt the word whining enters the scene to the point that Moses begs the LORD to end his life to save him from the misery yup a nagging person can do that. And God’s sent quail for a whole month till they were sick of it. Numbers 21 when they grew impatient with the long journey once again they made the mistake of cursing the manna so God sent them snakes to take them out one by one and whoever had faith to look up at the bronze snake would be saved often taught as a foreshadow of Jesus on the cross. Just look up.
Job said in 6:5 Don’t I have the right to complain? Don’t wild donkeys bray when they find no grass, and oxen bellow when they have no food? Don’t people complain about unsalted food? Does anyone want the tasteless white of an egg?
Repeatedly he cries out 7:11 I cannot keep from speaking. I must express my anguish. My bitter soul must complain. 10:1 I am disgusted with my life. Let me complain freely. My bitter soul must complain. But Paul reminds me in Philippians 2:14 Do everything without complaining and arguing so that no one can criticize me. Jude explains in verse 16 that people who grumble and complain are those who live only to satisfy their desires not the needs of others. So before I say another thing let gratitude be the words in my mouth not complaints.