Blessed and unhappy …

It’s Thanksgiving Day and some people are miserable in spite of being blessed by God.

That’s because they want different blessings than the ones God has chosen to give them.

Their complaints may include they aren’t living where they would like to live, with the people they would prefer being with, or in the fashion they would like. Or they aren’t doing with their lives what they would really like. Or they don’t have specifically what they want, or as much as they want.

God has blessed them, but they insist on being miserable as long as they don’t get what they really want.

To be unhappy with life because God hasn’t given you life on your terms is to truly be ungrateful.

That was the problem with a rich young man we read about in Mark 10:17-22. He had about all a person could want in life, but there was yet one more thing he wanted.

“As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Mark 10:17.

This young man was looking into the face of  the very Source of life, and was having offered to him the very thing he was asking for — a means to eternal life.

“Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. ‘There is still one thing you haven’t done,’ he told him. ‘Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me’,” Mark 10:21.

Jesus answers the young man directly with a way to have exactly what he’s asking for. But the young man didn’t like the terms for achieving what he wanted.

“At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions,” Mark 10:22.

We can be a lot like that young man. We have a lot of things in our lives, yet we’re still unhappy because God isn’t giving us what we really want on our terms. We cannot be truly grateful to God when we’re disappointed with what He has given us.

It’s like a story told by Jeff Strite about a Polish railroad worker named Jan Grzebski who was hit by a train back in 1988. He lived, but only barely. For the next 19 years, Grzebski was in a coma.

Grzebski awoke from his coma in 2007 to a whole new world. Nineteen years earlier, Poland was a communist state. Grzebski noted back then meat was rationed and there were huge lines at nearly every gas station. And, “there was only tea and vinegar in the shops.”

But 19 years later, he awoke to a free nation where he said there were “people on the streets with cell phones, and there are so many goods in the shops it makes my head spin!”

But something puzzled him.

“What amazes me is all these people who walk around with their mobile phones and yet they never stop moaning,” he said.

These people had freedom, food, and wealth greater than Poland had had for decades, and yet Grzebski woke from his coma to find that all they seemed to want to do was grumble!

If you don’t get into the habit of thanking God for what you DO have, you’ll soon become ungrateful because of what you DON’T have. And you can’t honestly be grateful while really wanting something different.

What are you doing today – genuinely thanking God for what you do have, or wanting something different on your own terms?