Page 327 began with all the appearances of an ordinary Tuesday. I arrived at work in the early morning darkness to clean bathrooms, floors, and other areas to get the building ready for the day. As I collected up the trash from throughout the building, I noticed a pink glow in the northern sky. Not wanting to miss the morning beauty, I took my camera with me when I took the trash out. When I got outside, it was obvious that the pink glow on the northern horizon was simply the overflow of the brilliant color coming up from the east. Today’s photo through the playground equipment was the first one I took after depositing the trash in the dumpster. I took others as well, but none seemed to capture the majesty of the morning better than this one. It was as if God was telling me not to judge a day as ordinary that He has created as special.
Much of the day was spent working on a sermon I’ll share at the North Wayne Mennonite Church this coming Sunday morning. As I continue a series that considers the idea of living as the Lord’s servant, this week I will address the need for the Lord’s servant to give thanks. We seem to live in a time when thankfulness appears to be in short supply. I suspect that a culture that teaches us that we deserve whatever we have and whatever we want, isn’t going to create a fertile ground for gratitude to grow in. When contentment is just out of our grasp, we tend to not only become ungrateful but that lack of giving thanks soon turns into resentment. As I thought about gratitude and contentment, a brief conversation that took place last week at ICOM came to my mind. A person reacted to my giving out free books to anyone who would use them with a response that indicated it would be more helpful if I could make college free. I’m pretty sure there was no thought that I would have any influence in making that happen but instead of saying thank you, the response came across as a feeling that my offer wasn’t all that useful. I share that not to come down on this person, but as an example of how easy it is to miss out on a life of thankfulness simply because we are focused on what we don’t have rather than on what we’ve been given.
In addition to the sermon prep, today was filled with a variety of tasks. Some of the tasks were pleasant but others would be better described as unwanted. One of those tasks included a considerable amount of blood — not mine, by the way. After making sure the appropriate people were aware someone had been bleeding, and being assured a couple people in the building are susceptible to significant nosebleeds so it was likely not an emergency, I began the clean-up process. For most people that may not be a big deal, but I tend to not do well when blood is visible. Most of the time the fainting that occurs when I see blood tends to be a mind game more than anything else, so as I cleaned I not only prayed for whoever had left the mess but I also thanked God that I have work that enables me to serve others and also lead the prayer ministry He has called me to. By keeping my mind focused on thankfulness and serving rather than on the details of what had happened, I got the blood cleaned up and didn’t even feel light-headed during the process.
I pray that you and I would realize that the ordinary days of our life are just opportunities for God to reveal His extraordinary character in ways that may well surprise us. I pray that we would give careful consideration to just how thankful we are. I pray that we would pay more attention to what we have been given than to what we don’t have that we want. I pray that we would learn the secret of contentment as we come to know that God is enough. I pray that we would live thankful lives even when the tasks we must do are difficult.