Oh my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing!     – Psalm 103:2  (MSG)

Praise the LORD, I tell myself, and never forget the good things he does for me.  -Psalm 103:2 (NLT)

I had fun today.  I got to give the Chapel lesson for our church’s preschool.  I LOVE going back to the preschool, seeing the teachers (friends from when my son was there) and the precious, beautiful children so eager to learn, be taught, and to grow in God’s love. 

One of their themes this month is ‘be thankful’.  That’s what I spoke about.  I began by sharing a story with them that Karen Ehman shared at She Speaks! 08.  She told of the little boy next door who was always out riding around on his bike.  He LOVED his bike!  His bike wasn’t shiny or fancy.  In fact, it was an old bike that had belonged to his brother, but he loved his bicycle.  Karen said he was always out riding around on his bike, so she was surprised when he came home one day, angrily threw his bike on the ground, and then kicked it.  She went over to see what he was so upset about.  He told her that his bike was stupid and he didn’t like it.  He’d been over at a friend’s house who had just gotten a shiny, new bike that seemed much better, so he didn’t like his anymore. 

Doesn’t this happen to us as adults, too?  We can be going along just fine until we see something that seems more desirable than what we already have.  It can be about houses, cars, titles, positions, good fortunes, bank accounts, spouses, children, …. I could go on and on. 

Too often we get so caught up in what we DON’T have, that we fail to be thankful for what we DO have!

In the Book of Exodus, Moses wrote about God’s gift of manna to the Israelite people.  God had rescued the Israelites from Pharoah, an oppressive Egyptian king, and was leading them to the Promised Land.  They had been wandering around in a desert area so long that they were getting tired and hungry.  God heard their cries for food, and when they awoke the next morning, they watched a flaky-white substance emerge as the morning dew evaporated away.  They didn’t know what it was!  The Bible tells us it was a sweet bread-like substance called manna. 

God gave plenty of manna for everyone to eat.  His instructions were for them to take as much as they needed, but ONLY as much as they needed.  They weren’t to take extra.  However, some people weren’t satisfied with taking only what they needed.  They wanted more! So they saved their manna in a jar.  Do you know what they found when they opened the jars of manna they saved?  They found disgusting, smelly maggots instead of manna!  I guess God showed them!

Friends, too often we’re unable to be thankful for what we have because we’re too concerned about what we don’t have.  This year especially, when times are tough for many, I pray (and I really mean it when I say that) that we (you and I), will truly give thanks to God for what He has allowed to be in our lives.  It’s ok to aspire for bigger and better things, but don’t let your focus on gaining take away from your focus on giving thanks for the many blessings God has already shared with you, your loved ones, in your home, and in your lives.

Dear God, Help us find pleasure, joy, satisfaction, and thanksgiving in the things You’ve already given us.  Help us to be satisfied with what we have and thankful for You and Your presence in our lives.    In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.