I had another post in mind to share with you today, but a quick check on facebook this morning sent me in a whole new direction.
First I saw – and shared – this picture:
Then I scrolled down and saw my daughter Lauren’s – totally unrelated - status update:"stop thinking about what you don't have and start thinking about what you do have.well that's my convicting moment of today. thank you Jesus."
Seems a theme is going on today, yes?
When Lauren was on a mission trip in Uganda, she spent time teaching at an orphanage. The children there owned nothing but what could fit in a cigar box. And yet they eagerly shared their most prized possessions with the Americans. One young girl gave Lauren her baby picture so she would remember her. Another girl unraveled the end of the sleeve of her sweater to give Lauren a piece of yarn for a bracelet. She literally shared the clothes off her back.
Lauren didn’t want to take these treasures, but to refuse would crush these children’s hearts, as they’d mistakenly think she didn’t want to remember them.
It was a powerful lesson to appreciate what we have rather than longing for what we don’t have. Yet sadly, she – and we - have to learn this lesson over and over again.
And it’s not just “things” that we yearn for. With my mother-in-law and my dad experiencing devastating effects of aging, it’s easy to see how much they no longer have. It requires devoted effort to look past the infirmities and be thankful for the abilities that they still possess. Doing a crossword puzzle would be sheer joy to someone who lost their eyesight or mental acumen. Walking across the living room with a walker would be a thrill to one who is wheelchair-bound.
From prison, Paul wrote to his beloved friends in Phillipi, “Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him!
“Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
“Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” (Phil. 4:4-9 MSG)
If I measure my life by what I have, my measuring cup overflows - with Jesus, my loving family and friends. When I find myself contemplating what I don’t have, I make the choice to follow Paul’s advice to meditate on what’s true and gracious, best not worst, beautiful not ugly… for that's the secret to peace.
How do you measure your life?