Monday, August 4, 2014

Time for Work - Devotional - August 4, 2014

“I’m really dreading Monday,” my friend grumbled.

“Not me!” I smiled.

As I prepared for my first meeting of the day, I felt myself smiling as I went through my closet to pull out my dress shirt. 

I’ll never complain about Monday morning again

It’s interesting how circumstances change our perspective.  It’s easy to take for granted the blessings in our life – the job, spouse/partner, parents, children, friends, finances, health, sound mind – until they are taken away from us.  Can you imagine giving someone a gift and instead of a “thank you” they start listing off what’s missing?  Or, how the gift will burden them? 

It’s a slap in the face. 

Yet, that’s what we do with our blessings sometimes.  We grumble and complain without realizing we are slapping the blessing-giver, God, in the face.

But trust me, we are in good company.  The people of Israel were enslaved to Egypt for over 400 years; generations and generations subjected to slavery and dehumanizing treatment.  And, when God heard their desperate pleas and showed up in miraculous ways to deliver them out of bondage, what was their response?

"If only the LORD had killed us back in Egypt," they moaned. "There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted...” – Exodus 16:3
“Give us water to drink!’ – Exodus 17:2
“If only we had meat to eat!’ – Numbers 11:4
               "Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?" they complained. "There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!" – Numbers 21:5
Complaint. Complaint. Complaint.

How easily we forget how blessed we truly are.

Last Monday, and for six months’ worth of Mondays before today, I had no job to go to.   And through this season, God has put me in Gratitude Bootcamp.

When I lost my job, my response to God was, “thank you Lord, I still have the roof over my head.” 

And when I lost that roof, my response to God was, “thank you Lord, for the love and support you have surrounded me with.”

And each day, I have grown a greater appreciation of who He is.
Each day, I have become more aware of my response to Him.

How do you respond to God? 

Is it like the Israelites?
Or like Jeremiah?

In Lamentations 3, Jeremiah describes himself in the midst of very rough conditions.  But rather than be defeated by his “afflictions” (v.1) Jeremiah comes to a conclusion that is echoed in hymns and Christian songs to this day, “the LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22,23).

As God adds and subtracts to your life, will you still say “great is Your faithfulness”?

Stop waiting for a better day to come.  Gratitude has no prerequisite other than a change in your attitude.   We often think gratitude comes from favorable circumstances, when in fact it is our gratitude that looks upon both ups and downs alike and says, “I’m blessed.”

So today, it’s time to go to work.

Not just for me, but for you as well….for all of us.

Time to work on that attitude of gratitude. 

God is going to give you 86,400 seconds today.   You can spend them complaining or rejoicing.  Spreading joy or polluting the air with criticism.  Telling God about your little problems or telling your little problems about your BIG God!

We are always blessed.  I know that now.  Sometimes it takes a pit for us to realize it.  To see fullness in emptiness. To see plenty in the midst of lack. To see grace in the midst of misfortune. To see His faithfulness at all times.  I will never look at another Monday morning the same again.

What about you? 

It’s time to go to work.  But let the first assignment of your day always be giving God thanks.   

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