“Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship – a different kind of “sacrifice” – that take place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets.”
Have you ever went on vacation and towards the end wish you were back home? We get excited at first, packing our bags and loading up the car, ready to leave the cold busy town for a quiet hot beach somewhere. But then after a while, once the excitement wears off, you start to miss your own bed, the familiarity of your town and life back home. You miss your friends and any pets you left behind. Suddenly the vacation is over and you not only return refreshed but you remember why you love your home so much. You learn not to take what you have for granted.
In America, we take everything for granted. The amount of complaining that can be heard shows just how ungrateful people have become. No one is content with what they have it seems, either they aren’t rich enough, aren’t skinny enough, aren’t popular enough, or at the end of it all, aren’t happy enough. The fact is, we all need to be reminded every now and then that everything we have is a gift, and those gifts can be taken back, thrown away, or destroyed if we don’t learn to value them properly.
We are on our second year owning a home, and it has been met with challenges. Expensive challenges, but we expected to have to sacrifice time and money into making this place a home. And despite the costs, I am grateful to live in the country. Growing up in a busy and ghetto-like town has made me even more grateful that I get to live away from all that, surrounded by nature instead of fences. If I started to take this place for granted, I would ignore its problems, forget what my life was like before, and the house would eventually come to ruin and neglect. If I’m not careful, I may just end back where I started, living in an apartment in town wishing I lived in the country.
It’s a never-ending cycle; on rainy days we miss the sunshine when it’s hot out we miss the snow, and when it’s snowy we miss the heat of summer. We want to leave town, we want to come home, we want to visit friends, we want to be alone, we want to be a kid, we want to be full grown, we want what we can’t have, and we have more than we know.
That is why we remind ourselves, why we have holidays and memorials, and history books. We must remember what it was like before, what was sacrificed, what decisions led to destruction, and what battles led to victory. We can’t afford to take what we have for granted and risk losing it all. Even the Israelites forgot what it was like in the wilderness, they forgot all that God had done for them, and it took considerable loss and devastation to bring them back to understanding.
I believe that Adam and Eve may just have taken the garden of Eden for granted. People keep saying, “If I would have been in the garden I wouldn’t have eaten from the tree.” If we were plucked from the present and placed in the garden today we wouldn’t eat of it, but if our memories and perceptions were wiped clean and we were placed as if just created beings into the garden, each and every one of us would have made the mistake Adam and Eve made. Why? We are living in the outcome of what that mistake cost. We know death and sin and suffering, and because of this we long for the time before all that, we want to get back to paradise. Eve, on the other hand, knew nothing of death or sin, she only knew the garden, she only knew beauty and peace and became curious about life outside of that.
She took for granted the blessings of God, and it cost her everything. She thought God was holding back from her and that one deception made her forget all that God had poured out on her. Every fruit and vegetable imaginable, every animal, nothing but sunshine and water springs, God walking in the evening breeze, Adam by her side. The tree of life, God never said to stay clear of that tree, and yet it was left untouched. Thrown away, discarded was the paradise God gave man.
And now, years later, many of us have taken the cross for granted. The great pain and suffering the Son of God went through to bring us back to him. On Easter, everyone seems to come out of hiding and flood the churches. If it wasn’t for that reminder, would people even give it a thought? If it wasn’t for Easter would people look to Jesus and say, “thank you.” Some people accept Christ like He’s a get out of jail free card. There is no love or recognition, just selfish desire to be in paradise again. A gift taken for granted will never be understood, valued, or cherished. People that take Christ for granted, don’t know Him, or what He gave to save them, they don’t care about the scars on His hands or the thorns on His brow. And yet, Jesus loves them still…why?
He never takes us for granted. He loves us, and values us, even though we don’t deserve it, even though apart from Him we have no value. He chases after us, fights for us, and died to know us.
Is there anything/anyone you have taken for granted?