Appearing on the Conan O’Brien show, comedian Louis C. K. joked about how frustrated people get when technology gets slow. “Everything is amazing right now,” he said, “but nobody’s happy.” When people complain that their flight boarded 20 minutes late or that they had to sit on the runway for 40 minutes before takeoff, he asks a few additional questions like; “Oh really, what happened next? Did you fly through the air, incredibly, like a bird? Did you partake in the miracle of human flight?”
When we complain — rather than give thanks — we display how much we take for granted, how much thanksgiving we miss. For example…
If you woke up this morning with more health than illnesses, you’re more blessed than the million who won’t survive this week.
If you own inspirational books, you’re abundantly blessed. One-third of the world doesn’t have access to even one.
If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you’re more blessed than 500 million people around the world.
If you attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you’re more blessed than almost three billion people in the world.
If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head, and a place to sleep, you’re richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you’re among the 8% of the world’s wealthy.
If your parents are still alive and still married, you’re very rare, even in the US.
There are blessings all around us…that we do not see, that we simply take for granted. But perhaps it is not so much that we take these blessings for granted, perhaps it is that we think we deserve even more than we have been given. In her book, “The Gift of Thanks” Margaret Visser details the cultural differences of thanksgiving. The Japanese sometimes accept gifts — in essence saying, thank you — by saying, “I’m sorry.” Visser explains that the meaning behind the thought is, “I am fully aware of my debt to you. I can never repay it.”
Pride slays thanksgiving. Jon Ortberg writes, “Envy is dismissing God’s goodness to me and disliking God’s goodness to others.” In other words thanksgiving rarely finds fertile soil for growth in hearts filled with envy and pride. But humble hearts find that almost everything is a gift.
So if you are lacking thanks…
What blessings are you overlooking?
Are you struggling with envy or pride?
Take a moment… make a list… a gratitude list. You have more for which to be thankful, than you can even imagine.