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Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...

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*Hopefully my minister won’t mind me using his sermon title from yesterday for this blog post. Nor, I hope, will the couple I’m using for the basis of it, mind their instant celebrity from being featured in this really awesome blog! 😀

Sitting in church listening to the sermon “From Poor and Pitiful to Praise” (Acts 3:1-11), I was struck by how much of a privilege certain things in life are, yet we treat them as if they are obligations (and by struck by, I mean my minister hit us over the head with it, or, as he likes to see he “dropped this” while he was “flying over”). People often treat going to church and school like obligations. We complain about our situations, even when we know they could be worse. Even when we have reasons to be thankful and full of praise, all we can do is complain about what we feel like we are lacking.

I knew that sermon was meant for me the second I heard it. I’ve been doing a lot of complaining lately–about trying to get things ready to move, not having enough money, and, most unforgivably, about what I deserve but don’t have. I am guilty of being able to praise, but choosing to still be poor and pitiful. Well, no more.

This was brought home to me even more by the *Smiths. The third Sunday of each month, the church van drives people to third Sunday fellowship after church, where local congregations get together and fellowship. This means that the van can’t take people home until after the fellowship, sometimes after evening service. The Smiths had rode on the van that morning, but needed to go home after morning service, as they had to work. The Smiths live on the same side of town as Mr. Perfect and I, so he graciously agreed to drive them home.

The Smiths graciously invited us inside. “This is the home that God blessed us with,” Mr. Smith said as he ushered us inside. I helped Mrs. Smith with the baby while the two men talked in the living room. I oohed and ahhed over a mountain of pink in the wardrobe. “All of these things were given to us for the baby,” she gushed, indicating the furnishings in the room.

Rejoining the men, she said, “can you believe just a few years ago we were homeless?”

I had known that, but somehow, I’d forgotten all about it. I remember when they first began coming to church, and it amazed me how very different they are now, how much faith they both have. They are both working to better themselves and their situation, but they are still so thankful and full of praise over what they have and how much further they are in life. They are so confident that things will continue to improve for them. It made me feel ashamed of myself for being such a complainer.

In the spirit of being thankful, as so many others are at this time of the year, I want to take a moment and just be thankful. I’m thankful that God has always been with me, even when I wasn’t with him. I’ve never been homeless or starving, never been without a means to care for myself. I have all my senses and mental capabilities. I have people in my life who care about me and who are willing to help me to improve. I may not have all I want, but I have what I truly need.  

What are you thankful for? What privileges have you been treating like obligations? How are you going to change your attitude into one of gratitude? Go on, inspire me!