If you are reading this, you most likely live in one of the most wealthy societies on earth. You probably have enough food to eat, a cozy home that protects you from winter’s chill, friends who enjoy your company, and a family that will love you no matter what life brings. If you have enough food to eat, you are a privileged minority. Abundant food is worthy of thanksgiving! According to the World Food Program, some 805 million people on earth (1 in 9) do not have enough food to live a healthy, active life. Given our many blessings, why do we spend so much time complaining?
I am more Eeyore than Tigger. I notice problems because I am motivated to fix them. What is basically a good impulse makes it easy for me to miss the blessings that God so abundantly has given me. No matter where you are on the Eeyore—Tigger scale, I’m guessing your focus regularly moves from gratitude to frustration, discouragement, and on occasion, to despair. Life is filled with struggle. As the Man in Black says to Buttercup in The Princess Bride, “Life is pain, Highness! Anyone who says differently is selling something.” When we experience deep emotional pain, the fact that we have enough to eat may seem irrelevant. But it’s not.
Our daily struggles consume more attention than the incredibly privileged context in which we live—this is natural. There are also times we must endure grief. Sometimes we cannot scrape together enough scraps of blessing for which to be grateful. But most often we are surrounded by abundance. Look honestly at the blessings in your life. When you do, gratitude will rise in your soul. You will have reason to give thanks to God for His care and provision.
Gratitude is the most fragile of attitudes.