Abundance is not about possession; it is utterly, completely, and solely about gratitude. The richest men or women on this earth are paupers if they are not recklessly stunned by the gift of their good fortune. It is not really theirs - it is God's treasure, given to us. It is not due to their brilliance or hard work; it is due to the gift of God. It is not the result of fortune or luck; it is the sovereign will of God - that is, his sweet pleasure. The poorest man or woman on this earth is richer than the wealthiest if there is gratitude for the plate of rice and beans.
Dan Allender quotes statistics that indicate that it is the poorest Americans who give far more than the richest Americans.
What are we to learn from this data? The Sabbath is not a vacation; it is a grateful celebration. Who are you celebrating? To whom do you owe your life. . .Who marked you with kindness that has enabled you to offer care in return? Who has scarred you with heartache that has enabled you to enter the wounds of others with grace? We are called to bless those who love us and those who love to do us harm. Both groups escort us to the banquet of God, served on the Cross, for those who are not ashamed to be beggars and even less ashamed to be called sons and daughters of God.A maturing Christian should look back and see with gratefulness how the trials and triumphs were used by God to form his character. I am who I am today because of how I was raised and because of the relationships God allowed into my life. I was not raised by parents who taught me about God - but I can see the Hand of God in what happened to me as a child and teenager. I could write poetry and litanies about the sorrows and pain I endured - but what purpose would it serve?
My dad was a proper gentleman with a stiff upper lip. He rarely hugged me, and I can only remember one time that he ever told me he loved me. But I understand some of my children better because of the way my dad was - some aren't the cuddly sort, and that's okay. (I kiss 'em anyway!)
I was sent off to go to school at the age of 13; while in boarding school I encountered drugs and sex and other horrors. I was clearly made to feel the fact that I wasn't one of the rich kids, as I was not permitted to participate in most of the extra-curricular activites. I tried to write to my parents about things that bothered me, but they didn't know how to react, and their shocked response taught me to not be real. I kept my feelings to myself after that. Did it affect my life and my relationships? You betcha.
I wasn't encouraged to go to university nor given any guidance about my future. Even though I graduated with the top marks in the school, I had no idea how to go on in my education. No encouragement from my parents.
There are many more examples but I am not going to share them. Suffice it to say, I didn't have the perfect upbringing or the best opportunities in life.
Am I bitter? Angry? Disappointed?
Not at all! I look back and see all the positive things about my upbringing. I see the family dinners with laughter and much use of the dictionary or encyclopedia to prove a point in the arguments we always got into with Dad. I remember long trips on skidoos and hours of being pulled by Dad while we hung desperately to a rope and stayed on our skis. I remember days at the beach or working in a garden alongside my parents. I remember dancing to "Rocking around the Christmas tree" with my father as we enjoyed a trip home for Christmas.
I choose to see the positive. I choose to be grateful.
Parents are a bunch of sinners. They're going to mess up. They'll try to do their best, but inevitably there'll be misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
Cut them some slack. Forgive them. Move on. Be grateful for the good that they did in your life; for how God used the experiences of your family home to shape you into the person you are today.
De 5:16 “‘Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
1Th 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.