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  A Christian Faith Magazine August 2003, Volume 9, Issue 1  
The Gifts That God Has Given

Rev. Mark Connolly
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Whenever you have a person of refinement, whether educated or non-educated, two characteristics always seem to show -- their sense of appreciation and their sense of gratitude. It is amazing to me going from one hospital to the next, seeing people with cancer problems or heart problems or even some who are in dire pain, who have a sense of appreciation and gratitude for even a small thing as a glass of water. And others, no matter how much kindness and compassion you show, never seem to show a sign of appreciation or gratitude for what is being done.

Today I think all of us have to examine our conscience to find out how much appreciation and gratitude we have for the things that God has given us. Just examine your own families. In the vast majority of families, most parents try to be good parents. It is easy to single out those who are not good parents. But for most of us, we have great memories of our mothers and fathers and what they did for us oftentimes on very limited means. Since so many of them gave us unconditional love, we were not only rich, we were blessed in having them. If your children can think of you in this way after you leave this earth, then you and your children are both blessed.

We cannot go on day after day just taking for granted the gifts that God has given to us. When you think of the wonderful mechanism of our eyesight, how we can see the sunrise and the sunset, how we can see our own children grow in different ways. That miracle of eyesight is something that should find us constantly thanking God for that wonderful gift. You can say the same about the gift of hearing and the gift of speech that enables to us to communicate, socialize and understand people of all different colors, different countries and different creeds.

If you study the Gospels, you might remember there is one gospel story that all of us can learn a great deal from. It is the gospel story of the ten lepers. Remember when they came to the Son of God to be cured of their hideous disease of leprosy, He cured them all and all ten walked away with the exception of one. He came back to thank God for what God had done for him. Is it possible that in our lives, nine out of ten times, we walk away from God never appreciating, never showing our gratitude for all of the wonderful things that God has given to us? Oh yes, we might not have all the things we want in life, but most of us have the things we need. We cannot join any group or any gathering where we find 90% if the people taking for granted God's special gifts. Sometimes in life we have to be like that one cured leper that returns to God to say thank you for what you did. If we learn to take one day at a time, a day that God has given us, if we learn to appreciate daily the gifts that God has given to each one of us, if we learn to use every gift and every day to the best of our ability, then we are not only giving honor and glory to ourselves, but we are giving honor and glory to God. All we have to do is be grateful every day.

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