Many years ago there was a poem that went something like this: "There was a time when faith began to slip, when I had lost all that I could afford to lose. I had no home, no food, no shoes. And suddenly I chanced to meet upon the busy highway of life a man who had no feet."
The last line of that poem, "I complained because I had no shoes, until I meet a man who had no feet," serves as a reminder of the generosity God has shown to us over the years. There is no war in our country. We have problems, but they are not like the problems of Bosnia, Sarajevo and Calcutta. There is no question that we have a lot of people struggling to make ends meet, but again, we do not have the poverty of many of the third world nations throughout the world. For many of us, however, gratitude has become a virtue for the future. We will be thankful when everything in our life is stabilized, and we have everything we want.
If you look at the gospel story of the ten lepers, where is the gratitude that Christ deserved on this occasion? Imagine, he cured ten men who had a hideous disease of leprosy. No one was going near them. He did. Nine walked away never to thank him or show any gratitude for what he did. But Christ didn't cure them in order to be thanked. He cured them because of who He is and because of what He had received from the Father.
No one wants to see any one live in poverty. No one wants to see any one living in pain. All of us should help any one in that kind of situation. Whether you are poor or not, whether you are in pain or not, don't forget that in gratitude for the spiritual riches you have received, you can care for those more unfortunate than yourself -- including the poor, homeless beggar on the street. Everyone deserves respect. Every life has value in God's eyes; no one should be taken for granted.
Gratitude reminds us of what God has given us. Gratitude reminds us that more of us may not have all the things we want, but most of us have the things that we need.
Originally published in the August 1995 issue
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