Pastor Alan Smith tells the story of two old friends who bumped into one another on the street one day. One of them looked forlorn, almost on the verge of tears. His friend asked, “What has the world done to you, my old friend?”
The sad fellow said, “Let me tell you. Three weeks ago, an uncle died and left me $40,000.”
“That’s a lot of money.”
“But you see, two weeks ago, a cousin I never even knew died, and left me $85,000 free and clear.”
“Sounds like you’ve been blessed…”
“You don’t understand!” he interrupted. “Last week my great-aunt passed away. I inherited almost a quarter of a million.”
Now he was really confused. “Then, why do you look so glum?”
“This week… nothing!”
That’s the trouble with receiving something on a regular basis. Even if it is a gift, we eventually come to expect it. Someone once suggested to me a way to test someone’s character. Give him (or her) $5 a day for a month. Then stop, and see what his reaction is. The natural tendency is that if we receive a gift long enough, we come to view it as an entitlement. We feel hurt, even angry, if we don’t receive it any longer.
It’s the same way with the blessings God gives us every day. I don’t deserve the comfortable home I live in, the beautiful scenery around me, the clean water that I drink. But after receiving these gifts (and a multitude of others) for years, I sometimes fail to be grateful. I’ve come to expect these good things. When one of them is removed for a short while (like the water being cut off), I get upset.
Make an effort today to recognize the blessings you’ve come to take for granted. Focus on what you have rather than on what you don’t have, and see if it doesn’t improve your attitude. (Visit Alan Smith’s Thought for the Day.)