For far too long now, our culture has been in an ongoing relationship with pessimism. Recently, I conducted an experiment which consisted of asking a few acquaintances to tell me anything good that was currently going on in their lives. Most of them hesitated, visibly struggling to produce a sufficient answer to my inquiry. But these same individuals, when asked about the bad things in their lives, were suddenly able to fluently deliver a laundry list of personal problems. In a few cases, I even had to interrupt their “sky is falling” tirade and strategically change the subject in order to spare us both from the onslaught of negativity. Ultimately, I walked away from this study with the understanding that people tend to focus more on what’s wrong than what’s right; a mindset that is detrimental to spiritual growth. Actually, this mentality has existed for ages and examples of it can be traced back to the Scriptures.
For instance, in Mark 6, Jesus performs yet another miracle when he fed 5,000 men with five loaves of bread and two fish. Immediately after this famous event, the disciples headed to Bethsaida in a boat, when a strong wind surfaced on the water, causing a panic aboard. It was then that Jesus walked on the water in a rescue effort and proceeded to calm the ravaging storm. Once normalcy had been restored, verse 52 states, “for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.” In other words, because the disciples did not fully comprehend just how amazing God had been in a prior miracle, they couldn’t quite grasp the water walking one. Basically, the magnitude of the miracles went right over their heads, in both cases. The culprit was a hardened heart. The message here is that a heart consumed with matters of hardship has difficulty recognizing and appreciating all of the constant blessings that God provides on a daily basis. A thankful heart is one that always remembers to give thanks for the many miracles that the Lord has performed in our lives, never allowing them to escape your memory. So as we transition from the Thanksgiving to the Christmas holidays, let us all pay homage to the One who has a proven track record of providing us all with so many blessings, including the greatest one of them all: life.