UCOG Blog Logo
News and views from the German-language region of Europe

December 23, 2016

Taking things for granted

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

Can you imagine that beautiful scenery could ever become boring? Probably not. That's what a young couple thought that moved to one of Canada's vacation paradises, surrounded by majestic mountains in the Canadian Rockies.

People who live in a mountainous region know how the scenery changes with the seasons. In the winter the peaks sparkle in the snow, wildflowers appear in the spring in diverse colors, and fall brings golden leaves on the trees. The couple loved nature and in their first year of residence took regular walks in the new surroundings. It seemed they had to stop every time to admire the overwhelming beauty of their surroundings. The daily view had them thinking that they could never be bored with the scenery. But as is often the case with us humans, their surroundings gradually became routine for them and after a couple of years their environment had become routine for them. They took it for granted.

After the Israelites had been freed from bondage in Egypt, there were concerns about their food supply in the wilderness. God was aware of their situation and supplied them supernaturally with manna on six days of the week, and on the seventh day they enjoyed the extra manna they were able to gather on day six. Manna was the most perfect food that humans had ever eaten: nutritious, pure, not genetically modified or treated with pesticides, artificial fertilizers or hormones during the growth phase — it came straight from God!

Most likely the Israelites were initially excited about God's unbelievable "food delivery system". Every family had enough to eat. But we all know the rest of the story. After a few months they got tired of the most perfect food that humans had ever eaten. "Our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!" (Numbers 11:6). "Dried up" was not a reference to their physical condition, but rather their mental state of mind. They took for granted what they had become accustomed to.

How do avoid taking things for granted? In his first epistle to the Thessalonians Paul mentions an important characteristic in relation to happiness: "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Being thankful in all things helps us to rejoice and tends to prevent us from taking things for granted.

I thought about this after this week's tragic events in Berlin. This month marked me living longer than my dad, who died of cancer after having been a chain smoker. After more than 23,900 days on this earth I had to ask myself how often I have thanked God for His protection on all those days and hope to continue to experience in the future. It's one thing to ask God for protection, and another thing to remember to thank Him for what He has provided so we don't take it for granted.

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


internal links:


search blog: