Envy vs. Gratitude

Photo: Waterfall located at Colorado Bend State Park in Texas.  Taken March of 2012.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!  I hope this holiday finds you happy, healthy and most importantly thankful.  Every holiday season, specifically Thanksgiving, we reflect back on the things that we are thankful for in our life.  I sometimes wonder why we as a culture only take one day to reflect and be thankful.  This is something that we should change.   Being thankful year round is a great way to humble yourself.  Instead of thinking of everything you don't have, you begin to be grateful for what you do have.

After the Thanksgiving feasts all around the country, many people will head out in droves to tackle the stores.  They will stand in line, spend lots of money and some even fight over items.  In this example, the people at these stores are fixated on what they don't have.  These actions can be explained from many bible verses, specifically this one:

“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.”
— James 3:16

Notice how the bible points out selfish ambition.  Too often we focus on our selves and never turn our heads toward the Lord.  We live in a culture that focusses too much on "me, me, me," instead of living a life for the Lord.  It is amazing at how relevant the bible is at times.  It talks about jealousy and selfishness leading to disorder and vile practice.  I would call Black Friday a disorderly event, when people are fighting over unimportant objects.  Another quote from Will Rogers talks about this Envy word:

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things that they don’t want to impress people they don’t like”
— Will Rogers

Here is the big issues with envy, it gets you into trouble.  You try to have the next best thing to impress all of your friends and neighbors.  How will living this way ever make you happy?  You will always continue to focus on having the newest thing.  You will always be worried about what people think about your stuff.  You get your happiness from seeing other people envy your stuff.  

To be honest, that's just too much for me.  I couldn't live that way.  Instead of being envious, be thankful.  Be grateful.  There are so many things to be grateful daily, that there is no need to be envious.  I am grateful for my wife, my family, my dog, my job, my shelter, my ability to walk, my ability to see, and my ability to read.  There are many more things to be grateful for and not all people have all of these things.  You can't take this life and the things that you have been given for granted.  The bible puts it perfectly:

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
— James 1:17

Everything that we have was given to us by the Lord, and we should continue to thank him for the blessings in our lives.  That's not just for this wonderful holiday that reminds us to be thankful.  We should be thanking the Lord for everything he has given us daily.  He allows us to work or see or eat.  He is the provider and we should never forget that.

Over the next month, I challenge you to find at least one thing that you are thankful or grateful to have in your live.  This will make you happier. less envious, more content and grateful.  Let me know what you are grateful for in the comments box below.

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