Its Thursday here in Grahamstown. Also known as trash pickup day. This is a very fascinating day because I bear witness to a disheartening situation. On every corner as shop owners put out their rubbish, as they call it in South Africa, on the corner to await pickup many disadvantaged people in the city are seen rummaging through looking for bottles, plastics, and anything that can be salvageable. This is quite disturbing because it makes me think of the things I am throwing away. What would my life be like if that was my reality? Am I so comfortable with my privileged lifestyle that I am careless and wasteful? What if I had to collect someone else’s trash, which many people don’t think twice about, to sell for literally pennies in order so I can eat that week?
This is a huge eye opener for me. I have seen poverty before, and even the occasional homeless person digging through a trash can looking for anything to eat or sell. But when it is in your face each week and on every corner it is hard to ignore. It certainly makes you count your blessings, but also rethink how much you take for granted. It makes me very aware of how blessed I am. I don’t have to rummage through people’s left overs to find my next meal. I don’t have to beg for pennies from people passing by in the hopes that by the end of the day I will have enough money to buy a loaf of bread. The fact that I don’t have to do that in no way makes me better than the people who do. In fact, they seem more grateful for the little pocket change I may have then I am for the daily blessing I receive from God.
A few months ago I started a challenge to be intentional and conscious about saying ‘thank you’ to God for all of His many blessings. Each day I vowed to write 10 reasons why I was thankful. And each day those reasons had to be brand new reasons why I should be thankful. My goal was to write 1000 reasons why I am thankful to God. I have made it a little more than halfway to my goal. However, I must admit that I have missed a few days lately. I have no excuse other than my own neglect and laziness. But now I feel God coming to convict me once again and hold up the mirror of my shortcomings. I am reminded that He is not doing this to shame me, but to present opportunities to grow.
In this particular moment of reflection, He is reminding me of the importance of being grateful for every blessing no matter how big or small. Nothing is insignificant. Just the opportunity to buy new, or gently used, items is a blessing! I should never get to the point that anything I have or am able to do is common. It is a privilege and it can be taken away.
So what are you taking for granted? Yes you may have a good, secure job. But that job is only as secure as God allows it to be. It can be gone tomorrow, so it is so important that you are always thankful for it today.
You may have a clean and safe place to live. You may have a reliable car to drive. Are you constantly grateful for those things? Or have they become common, expected, a given? Be careful how you view the things you have. They can be here today and gone tomorrow. If you don’t appreciate them, believe me someone will be waiting with their shopping bag ready to appreciate them for you. Have you said “Thank you God” today?
*Check out my 1000 Reasons to be Thankful Challenge here! Make a commitment today and join me in being deliberate in my thankfulness to God!*