The story is told that New Yorkers, during a strike by sanitation workers, would wrap up their garbage like Christmas presents and leave those packages in unlocked cars hoping their trash would be stolen. I don’t know how true that is, but it highlights the problems we have if people in one of the most thankless tasks on earth don’t do their job. In our city the trucks come by once a week to collect our trash. Instead of being thankful and grateful for the job these people do, most of us complain about the time they come or how the trash cans are left afterwards. It’s easy to take some jobs, and the people that do them for granted.
After a while, it seemed like Jesus was taken for granted. People who hadn’t received healing would seek Him out so that they could be healed too. Amazing as it might seem, some who were healed of terrible diseases didn’t even thank Him. In one case Jesus healed ten lepers. As they followed Jesus’ instructions, it soon became evident that they had been healed. Nine of them kept on going – perhaps thinking that it was their due. Perhaps they even wondered why Jesus had taken so long. Maybe they felt like if they varied from the instructions, they would lose their healing. One, a Samaritan, came back and praised God. “Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?’” (Luke 17:17-18)
There are so many things we take for granted in this world. Some involve other people, like the sanitation workers mentioned earlier. We could make a list of jobs where people are expected to treat us like royalty and often go unthanked. In the old TV show M*A*S*H Hawkeye, I believe, looks at the food prepared by the cook with disgust and says, “Yours is a thankless job, Igor, so you’ll forgive me if I don’t thank you.” While we laugh at that, realize that Hawkeye at least recognized the thankless nature of the job. Someone once talked about church staff positions. The pastor “had a wonderful sermon, thank you pastor!” The music minister “led us to the heights of glory. Thank you music minister.” The education minister gets “where’s my coffee pot? Someone took it out of our room!” There are so many people and the jobs they do that we should be thankful for each day, but we just take that work for granted.
We take God for granted too. I woke up this morning on the outside of the bed. I had fresh air to breath, and I was able to breath. I have a roof over my head. We had food to cook for breakfast. Based on past history and what’s in our refrigerator now, we’ll have food for the other meals. We’ll be able to buy groceries. I’m typing this on a computer; a computer made by people who were given the minds to design them by God. Need I go on? Perhaps it would be wrong to say that we are unthankful as we think about all that God has done; it would be more accurate to say that we’ve grown so accustomed to all these things that we take them, and our God who provided them, for granted. Make today a day of thankfulness. Appreciate the work that others do, and let them know you appreciate it. Think about the routine things that affect you each day and remember to thank God for them. Maybe it will give you a whole new outlook on life.
Dear Lord God, I take so much for granted in this world. Remind me today of the miraculous ways You take care of me and every person in this world. You do these things so well, that the miraculous often seems mundane. Help me to see the miraculous in the everyday things of this world again.