Appreciate what you have, not what you lack
November 24, 2010 - This week we celebrate Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a holiday started by early pioneers who came to the United States, then known as the New World, in search of a better life.
This "better life" would come with a great price. Many of the people who began the voyage from Europe did not make it to the New World. Many lost their lives through sickness or the danger of traveling by ship in those days.
Once the people landed in the New World, they had to deal with a whole new set of problems. I have traveled quite a bit in recent times and am amazed by the adjustments you have to make when traveling to another country.
Most of those adjustments have to do with tastes and routines, not life-threatening situations. I cannot even imagine traveling to a new land without knowing what I would find when I get there—especially knowing that I would be responsible for making provision for myself through farming and hunter gathering.
However, many people were willing to make that choice because of the offer of a better life for them and their children. The only real hope for comfort and strength was from their belief in God.
Even with all the loss and suffering, they wanted to take time to show their thankfulness to God for their very existence and meager provision. When we celebrate Thanksgiving, we will do so with much abundance.
Many will have prepared traditional meals along with their favorite desserts. It would have been so different on that first Thanksgiving and what an example for us to follow. What are you going to be thankful for this holiday season?
Many people are suffering from the protracted economic crisis that we have been facing. They have suffered loss of income, net worth, and many will even face uncertainty in the days ahead.
We must look back to our forefathers for an example of how to handle this present situation. First, we must not just look at our lack; we must look at what we do have. Then, we must learn to rejoice with our portion and give thanks to God.
Appreciating what you have will get you in the right frame of thinking to press towards a better day. It could certainly be argued that a big part of our problem today has been the lack of appreciation for what we have. Many people, businesses, and even the government overleveraged themselves to get things that they could not afford.
Many people bought houses that they could not afford and borrowed on their equity in order to satisfy an ever-increasing appetite for more.
When the correction came, it was much worse because people had no restraint in the reach for more. Now, we must get ourselves positioned for a better day by being thankful for what we have, so that our pursuit for more can be managed with sound principles and long-range planning.
If we had been a thankful people, we would not be in the position that we are in today. The question now becomes: where are we going to be?
I like the position of the holidays, with Thanksgiving opening the door for the Christmas season. With Christmas being the time of abundance, we should see Thanksgiving time as the pause to prepare for the blessings to come. This principle can guide our outlook in life and prepare us for the better days, which are sure to come. It is time to lift our vision high and worship God who is the source of all good things!
The Rev. Loren Covarrubias is pastor of Mt. Zion Church.