Summary: Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. So what do you have? What blessings has God given you? And are those blessings the same as what David speaks of in this Psalm? The answers may surprise you.
OPEN: Years ago, there was a popular song called “Big Yellow Taxi”, by Joni Mitchell. In the chorus was this memorable line:
“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got, till it’s gone.”
You don’t know what you’ve got… till it’s gone.
You know, there is so much in our lives as Americans that we take for granted.
When I go home tonight, I’ll enter my house and turn on a light switch… and light up the room. I can open my refrigerator and there are all kinds of foods to eat and things to drink. When I get up in the morning, I can step into my shower and turn on the water and stand under hot water for a long time (and I do). And then I can get dressed, and go out and get into my car and drive on down the road anywhere I want to go. And when I run out of gas… I can pull into a gas station and fill up again.
I tend to just take those things for granted.
But that hasn’t been the way things have gone in New York and New Jersey. When Hurricane Sandy slammed into their coastline, everything you and I take for granted disappeared for those folks.
Houses were destroyed.
The electricity grid went off line leaves thousands without power.
Emergency supplies dwindled and disappeared.
Even drinkable water was in short supply
And gasoline… good luck finding any of that.
Gas stations either ran out of gas… or they had gas, but they had no power to pump it out of their tanks. Long lines developed at many stations … and one woman even ran out of gas waiting in line to get gas.
Some people just parked their cars in front of stations and made arrangements with the gas station owner would text them when a tanker was to arrive.
This was very upsetting for most people. They’d grown used to just driving up to the pump and getting gas when they needed it. But when they couldn’t anymore – tempers rose and fistfights broke out.
Most folks didn’t know what they had… until it was gone.
But then, there were other folks who knew what they had and what others wanted. So, they offered to help out - for a price. The average price of gasoline in New York is about $3.95 per gallon but with gas in such short supply, craigslist carried some of the following offerings:
· One ad offered 5 gallons for $75, or they’d deliver it for $90 ($15 per gallon)
· Another ad had 5 gallon jugs of gas for $100 ($20 per gallon)
· And still another one offered 10 gallons for $300, with free delivery ($30 per gallon)
Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got… till its gone.
And so, Psalm 103 David starts out praising God, and then it says:
“Praise the LORD, O my soul, and FORGET NOT all his benefits” Psalm 103:2
If we forget any of God’s benefits…
If we forget the blessings He’s given to us…
We can end up being ungrateful and taking what we have for granted
ILLUS: We can become like the woman who walked into a grocery store a day before Thanksgiving and was very upset with the size of the turkeys that were left.
She turned to the stock boy and asked snippishly, "Don’t these turkeys get any bigger?"
To which he calmly replied, "No ma’am. They’re dead!”
That woman had more food in front of her, than most 3rd world countries would ever see. And yet, she grew angry because
What she saw wasn’t good enough.
What she saw wasn’t BIG enough.
And she had every intention of letting the stock boy know she was unhappy.
You know, if you don’t get into the habit of thanking God for what you DO have, you’ll soon become ungrateful because of what you DON’T have.
ILLUS: Back in 1988, a Polish railway worker named Jan Grzebski was hit by a train.
He lived. But only barely.
For the next 19 years (until the year 2007), Grzebski was in a coma.
He awoke in 2007 to a whole new world.
19 years earlier, Poland was a communist state.
Grzebski noted that back then meat was rationed and there were huge lines at nearly every gas station. And, “there was only tea and vinegar in the shops”
But 19 years later-he awoke to a free nation where – he said – there were “people on the streets with cell phones and there are so many goods in the shops it makes my head spin.”
But something puzzled him. "What amazes me is all these people who walk around with their mobile phones and yet they never stop moaning."