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People who are truly thankful don’t complain, they find a reason to be grateful. Matthew Henry, who wrote a commentary on every book of the Bible, was once robbed. The thieves took everything of value that he had. Later that evening he wrote in his diary these words, “I am thankful that during these years I have never been robbed before. Also, even though they took my money, they did not take my life. Although they took all I had, it was not much. Finally, I am grateful that it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”
Rejoice in the Shade! (08.16.05--Envy!--Duet. 5: 21)
Standing in the shadows can be lonely at times. When others are taking the bows and hearing the accolades it is sometimes impossible not to be envious. Recognition is something that each one of us by nature yearn for. To be recognized for what we do and how we do it is a pretty simple thing after all. It’s not like we are asking for trophies and plaques to line our walls and bookcases. Simply, to know that others appreciate what we do as much as they appreciate the efforts of others, is not too much to ask--is it?
Yet, life usually isn’t fair when it comes to recognition. We strive to achieve and then, just when we feel that we’ve reached our goal, someone else steals the limelight. They trot out on stage and take the bows that should have been ours. Or, at least, that is what we are prone to think. We plod and they gallop. We strive and they just always seem to get there with ease. There’s something inherently unfair about having to work hard and try our best and then receive nothing more than scant praise. If God is a just god and justice means that we get what we deserve, why is it that so often our strivings and longings find us standing in someone else’s shade? Would it be that bad to capture the spotlight occasionally?
The godly Scottish preacher Andrew Bonar penned a diary entry. He wrote, “This day 20 years ago I preached for the first time as an ordained minister. It is amazing that the Lord has spared me and used me at all. I have no reason to wonder that He used others far more than He does me. Yet envy is my hurt, and today I have been seeking grace to rejoice exceedingly over the usefulness of others, even where it cast me into the shade. Lord, take away this envy from me!” (Andrew Bonar.)
God, in His mercy, is constantly standing between us and ourselves. He knows what is best for us when, most of the time, we have little clue of it. Often He puts us in the “shade” of others just to protect us from ourselves and our own inability to dea...
It was Thanksgiving season in the nursing home. The small resident population was gathered about their humble Thanksgiving table, and the director asked each in turn to express one thing for which they were thankful. Thanks were expressed for a home in which to stay, families, etc. One little old lady in her turn said, ’I thank the Lord for...