I was working with one of our team members this week who had just met my Dad for the first time. After commenting profusely on how much we look alike and how kind my parents were, she turned serious for a moment and said, “You should really be grateful for the parents that you have – I never knew my Dad.” The look of longing in her eyes for a father daughter relationship was something that I will not forget for a long time. How easy it has been for me to take for granted my parents, my father and my heritage assuming that everyone has a family just like mine or similar in some way. Like many people, it has taken me years to see how blessed I really am.
For a long time, I think I have misunderstood the concept of abundance as simply having too much. It seemed selfish to pray for a life of abundance like it says in John 10:10 where Jesus said that He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. So much of my definition of abundance has been wrapped up in the western materialistic perspective of the world that I felt selfish even wanting that kind of life. If abundance means stuff, then I have plenty and thinking about it too much just makes me covet what I do not have yet.
Somehow though, I don’t think that this is what the Bible is talking about and this week, I realized how closely tied abundance is to contentment and joy. A life of true abundance seems to look a lot less about stuff and a lot more about people the older I get; and in that category God has blessed me beyond measure. If Jesus came to give me life when I was dead, then every day that I live is because of Him. The people in my life that He has placed there can be abundant sources of contentment and joy if I see them through His eyes.
So as we head into Thanksgiving, I am grateful for:
- A wife who loves me unconditionally
- Sons who stretch my faith and remind me daily of the sacrifices my earthly and heavenly fathers have made for me
- Parents who support me through thick and thin
- Siblings who love Jesus and are teaching their kids to love Him too
- Parents-in-law who faithfully pray for and support our family
- C0-workers in over 50 countries of the world that live sacrificially so the kingdom will be extended in their part of the world
- Men that hold me accountable in my small group
- A Pastor who preaches the word in a way that is bold and effective
- A church family that that cares about me and my family more than just on Sunday
- Friends that lend a listening ear, even when I ramble on
- Fellow leaders in ministry who long to see Jesus’ return and are living their lives in daily expectation.
Most importantly, I am supremely grateful that an incomprehensibly holy, just and loving God would devise a plan to send his one and only son to die and be my savior so that I might live and live more abundantly. By God’s definition I truly am a rich man and growing wealthier by the day. May I have eyes to see this when I am tempted to complain about some perceived lack of material possessions or thing I wished I had.