Finally, a few synapses in my brain connected and I grudgingly admitted how thankless I was for having a career and the resources to buy and maintain a vehicle.
Famed novelist Aldous Huxley (best known for Brave New World) once said “Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.”
I think I’m a charter member of that group.
Journalist Robert Brault notes, “There is no such thing as gratitude unexpressed. If it is unexpressed, it is plain, old-fashioned ingratitude.”
Wow, I have a gold-plated, lifetime membership to that club, too.
This past summer, my wife & I visited an RV dealer to inquire about repairs to our two-year-old, storm-damaged tent trailer. While there, we happened to check out some new models on the showroom floor and fell in love with a trailer which didn’t have to be put up and taken down, and came with the luxury of a full bathroom.
Were we grateful for the tent trailer we already had? Are you kidding? We talked about that showroom model for weeks, examining potential payment schemes, considering our other financial obligations, how much we could get in trade for the tent trailer, how much longer and more comfortable our camping season could be, and on and on.
Gradually (I think the glaciers lost a few inches while this process meandered along), we concluded the purchase didn’t make sense and the tent trailer was quite adequate. Indeed, we used it in September for a wonderful week of mountain camping.
What happened to us? For awhile, we bought into the message our culture pushes with hurricane-like relentlessness: You deserve it. Go ahead and be selfish.
This message suggests we should have everything. Now. No matter what the financial, relational, or environmental cost. Because we’re worth it. And – goes the subtle inference – since we’re worth it, why should we be grateful?
My commitment to following Jesus tells me that, on my own, I don’t deserve it. I drop the ball more often than a bad outfielder. I’m worse than a blindfolded darts player when it comes to hitting the target of what I’m meant to be.
But, if you take any stock in what’s in the Bible, consider this excerpt: God loves the world [that includes me and you] so much, “He gave his Son, His one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in Him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.”
This means Jesus, God’s son, makes up for all my screw-ups, all my pettiness, all my selfishness. And by following Jesus, I’m opening the door to Him making me a better person.
So, when my wife and I sit down for Thanksgiving dinner, we know we have a lot more than a tent trailer to be grateful for. And we’ve figured out to whom we should express thanks. Have you?