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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Taking gratitude for granted

There is a fine line between things we take for granted and those we are grateful for. This becomes more apparent as we get older.

For instance, I work with a local youth group in town. In talking with some of these teens, I am shocked at some of the things they take for granted. Things they expect that we as adults might see as a luxury for ourselves. Cell phones, MP3 players, A running vehicle and stylish clothes. These are some of the things teenagers expect and get quite upset when they are denied.

I think back to my own teenage years when I began working at the age of 14 as a mechanic at the Shell gas station in Mojave. I fudged the job application and listed my age as 16 because I really wanted a job. I worked there for several years and earned money to purchase myself a black and white TV for my bedroom. I bought myself a bicycle so I had something to ride to work and back. I eventually bought myself a car.

It looks good in print. In reality, I was not much different than the kids in my youth group. I demanded and received most everything I wanted. I never saved my money. I spent my money on things I felt I deserved. My Mom tried to encourage me to save money, yet I thumbed my nose at her and spent as I pleased. I denied myself nothing.

It is funny how each generation changes. When electricity was invented, only the lucky few had it in their homes. Those who had it were very grateful. Today we let our blood boil if there is an outage. At one time most families had one television set for the whole family to enjoy. Today we expect a television in each room complete with 400 cable channels. Think of it. Most everything we take for granted to today, someone was grateful to have a generation ago.

Shortly after our Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, we will be entering the Lenten season. Even if you are not Lutheran or Catholic. I challenge you to give up something you take for granted for the 40 days of Lent. Then see how grateful you are after Easter.

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