I find it amazing that I can find things to complain about even when things are going well. Do you do the same thing? It has become popular to label some of the things that we complain about as “First World Problems,” meaning that they really aren’t problems at all in comparison to someone who lives in an impoverished country.
For instance. I am really upset that the microphone on my Android Tablet doesn’t work so I can’t Skype or Hangout on Google or use the voice to text feature. Arhhhggggh! (My spell checker isn’t working either).
That is a first world problem. As I sit here in Starbucks with my Black Tea Lemonade (I don’t drink coffee) ready to complain that the AC is too low and the music too loud and the chair is too hard…well, you get my point. This is not to say that people who have “much” can’t suffer or have real problems. It is to say that we need to guard what we consider a legitimate gripe or complaint.
A real first world problem is that we have a superabundance of material blessings for which to be grateful. (Check out the Global Rich List to see where you rank among the world’s wealthy) And we should be grateful. But the lesson is that no amount of physical and material wealth and blessing will bring true satisfaction and this base dissatisfaction will drive us to greed, consumerism, materialism, the constant pursuit of wealth above everything else, and , ultimately, a lack of contentment. There are different arenas in which we give thanks. We give thanks for things. We give thanks for people/relationships. We give thanks for beauty. We give thanks for spiritual things. Those things are all proper and good.
But there is another area of thanks that is necessary and more basic than all the rest, that is thankfulness for personal creation. It is this area of gratitude that will make sure that you will be a thankful person no matter the circumstances external to you.
Are you thankful for how God has put you together?
Before we finish the Grace Challenge and so that it isn’t just a passing activity that we involve ourselves in, this feature of Grace-Gratitude-Graciousness demands exploration. This is how we move from Gratitude simply being something that we do and make it into something that we are: truly Gracious people.
So here is a Grace Challenge Prayer that needs to be fleshed out by you, but let’s start with a simple phrase to pray:
“Father, thank you for making me the way you did.”