When my son was 14 years old, he exhibited many outstanding qualities, except a yearning for hard work. That changed when he took a two-week mission trip to an orphanage in the Dominican Republic. He spent much of his time digging trenches, laying cinder blocks, and installing barbed wire fences.

When he returned, I asked what stood out most during his time there. He thought for a moment, then replied, “Americans complain too much.” He went on to describe a visit to a nearby barrio where he met a woman with four children.

“Their whole house could probably fit in my bedroom closet. They had one bed, a two-burner stove, a few pots and pans— and that was it. And they were happy to have us visit.”

The day after he returned from the DR a huge storm passed through our neighborhood, uprooting trees and knocking out power for days. In our temporary discomfort, our son kept things in perspective. “If this is the worst we have to live with, we are still incredibly blessed,” he said. “I don’t know why God favored me over the kids at the orphanage, but I’m thankful for what he’s given me.” The experience opened his eyes—and mine—and has given us a new sense of thankfulness.

That attitude of thankfulness is something we all need to cultivate daily. By practicing it regularly, we are less likely to ignore our blessings or take them for granted. The Bible says, “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father” (James 1:17). God provides all the benefits you and I enjoy. Have you thanked him? He is the one who makes life satisfying, full, and complete, and he wants to increase those joys. That happens when you dedicate your life to Christ. “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3).

Have you let him begin his work in you? It starts when you ask Christ to take the primary role in your life. Say to him, “God in heaven, I need you very much. Please save me today. I gratefully acknowledge you as my Lord and Savior.”

by Jim Kraus, originally appeared in Have a Good Day

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