Wednesday, May 19, 2010

On Gratitude

Today I find myself in Oneonta, New York - the biggest town in the county where I grew up. Yesterday was a long trip in the rain - bouncing over the broken pavement on most of route 17/I-86 across the southern edge of western New York State. My parents will arrive in a few hours and we will get to work opening up their house at Saddlebag Lake. But since I arrived I have been alone, out of my beloved routines and quiet - more than usually introspective.

The girl at the hotel desk yesterday asked me if I needed directions. I said, "No thanks. I grew up here." I am very familiar with this area and it brings back memories of my childhood and the span of my whole life. That "girl" was somewhere between high school and college age. No doubt she saw me as a pretty old guy. :-) I guess I am!

I feel like I am in the prime of my life at 54. My age gives me perspective. As a child and as an immature adult I was always daydreaming about future goals - future experiences - future successes - future prosperity - future recognition. Now I've had plenty of experiences. :-) I also know that throughout my life I have been RICH beyond everything I could have possibly imagined. I've been rich - but discontent. How sad!

But now - from this vantage point - I am more and more appreciative and grateful. I'm grateful to God. I'm grateful for the wonderful people He's put into my life over the whole course of life. I'm grateful for the education, for the experiences, for the difficulties, for the successes. I'm grateful for life!
(2 Samuel 7:18) Then King David went in and sat before the LORD; and he said: “Who am I, O Lord GOD? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far?
Above it all, I have been blessed to know God. What could be greater? He has guided me, called me, put me in His service and promised me ETERNAL LIFE. Wow! Who am I and what is my house, that God has brought me this far?

The goal of life should always be to know God better in the present moment - to learn the lessons that the present circumstances are teaching us - to appreciate the blessings. There is nothing in the future that is better than knowing God in the present. Godliness with contentment is GREAT GAIN!
(Philippians 3:7–8) But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
What will my future hold? God knows! But whatever it is, I am RICH!
(Psalms 107:8) Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

AMEN! Praise the Lord!

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