By DANNY MINTON
I walked through our atrium a week ago and noticed a large damp spot on the concrete and water along the house’s edge. Later that day, the area had disappeared, so the incident faded from my mind. The next morning, I discovered another wet section and decided to call a plumber, who informed me $400 later, that a valve leaked approximately 1 gallon a minute. I called our waterline warranty service, who sent out another plumber two days later. He agreed that the valve was leaking, but closer to 1.6 gallons a minute after careful checking. (I guess that’s why the grass grew taller and greener on one side of my yard!) After all this, we discovered that the job could not be done until four days later. For the past two days, I have grabbed the water wrench and trekked the short distance to the meter to turn the water on for about an hour at a time to shower, do dishes, etc. After an hour or so, I make the trek again to cut the water off. I make the trip several times a day and will for the next few days.
My first thoughts about having to do this were of how inconvenient this would become for four days. Then I thought about a group we had helped collect money to build a well in Africa, providing water for families with no running water in their homes but who cheerfully made the daily journey to get water for cooking, drinking, and family needs. How blessed I felt with my minor inconvenience. I believe we forget how blessed most of us can find ourselves if we take the time to look around.
We complain about having nothing to eat while our pantries, refrigerators, and freezers hold food many in this world would see as a treasure of life. The price of gasoline has skyrocketed, and we complain about the extra money to fill the tank, while for millions of people, the mode of transportation is to walk everywhere. How blessed are we to even own a car to supply with fuel! We go to our closets, lined with choices of clothes and shoes, and decide what to wear, finding ourselves at times complaining, “I have nothing to wear.” We try to select the best shoes for the occasion. I own dress shoes, casual shoes, golf shoes, house shoes, and shoes for outside work and cold winters. I am blessed to have them, while some yearn for just one pair, any kind, any size, to cover their feet. We complain about the heat as we enter our air-conditioned homes for relief. Others find coolness mainly in the shade of a tree away from the sun’s hot rays. When Trump served as president, people complained. Now that Biden has become president, people complain. We find ourselves blessed to live in a country where we can complain about our leaders’ decisions without fear of going to jail.
As we’ve seen in the news over the past few years, thousands of people attempt to cross our borders. Why are so many trying to get here? They want what you and I enjoy in life; choices for what to eat, automobiles and high-priced gasoline, cool homes, clothes, shoes, and the freedom to at least have an option to vote for their leaders, things we either complain about or take for granted. As Paul went about preaching, he expected his needs to be met by those in the various towns. In response, he shared that God would also take care of their needs. Paul did not preach to gain wealth but knew that God would provide what he needed. He wrote in a letter to the Philippians, “But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” Philippians 4:18-20 (NASB)
As blessed as we find ourselves, we still complain about what we don’t have or what isn’t going our way. We fail to appreciate the things with which we find ourselves blessed daily. We need to learn to appreciate the blessings we enjoy each day of our lives.
I am blessed! You are blessed! But you know what? Sometimes, the man who owns one pair of shoes and doesn’t have to go barefooted also feels blessed. The woman who has a well to gather water feels blessed. The boy who has one coat feels as blessed as those who own several. Even those who must eat the same food every day feeling blessed to have something on their stomachs. Do you ever stop and wonder why those with little feel more blessed than those with a lot? It may be because of the simple fact of finding comfort in what you possess and not living in a world of needing more.
Later today, I’ll make my trek to the water meter, water wrench in hand, to turn the water on to take care of a few chores. I’ll march an hour later, again, water wrench in hand, to turn the meter off. I’ll make the journey many times until Monday when the men arrive to fix the leak. Each time I turn the valve, I’m going to think of those women thousands of miles away whose life includes a journey to the well every day. As I fill my car with gasoline, I’ll think of those who must walk everywhere. When I peer into my closet, I’ll find thanksgiving in having clothes and shoes to wear. I’ll try to remind myself throughout each day of those less fortunate.
I am blessed! Next time before I open my mouth and complain, I pray that God will make me stop and remember the abundant blessings I have from Him.
Danny Minton is an Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ