I looked at the small alarm clock sitting on the table next to the bed. 5:59 AM, a harsh reminder – time was already creeping away.
The sun was still hidden in the morning’s darkness but I needed to get moving, my day was filled with a long to-do list.
There was a dog to walk, errands to run, projects to complete, and an email inbox that had been sadly neglected. All important tasks, priorities that needed my attention.
I jumped out of bed, threw on something warm, and headed to my office. An hour spent reading messages, deleting, responding, and then I heard the repeated click-click-click of our dog making his way down the hall. His nails tapped to the cadence of each determined step.
The sun had lightened the morning sky and according to our dog’s appearance at the door, it was time for a walk.
CHECK – item #1 on the list in progress!
I attached the leash to his collar and we made our way out the door. We headed down the street to the intersection, a right turn at the corner, and a final turn to face the rolling hills that graced the horizon to the east.
The sun peeked eagerly over a bank of low-lying clouds casting an array of light – shafts of brilliance underlined by a hue of purple, orange, and yellow. The majesty of a sunrise was on full display.
We walked down the narrow trail that lined the river’s edge until we were stopped by the sound of a single trumpet. I searched the riverbank to find the origin of the sound and found a lone swan gliding across the water.
Geese lifted from their rock perch to meet in formation swooping low along the water’s surface. Trees unapologetically flaunted red, yellow, and bright orange leaves. This familiar path had taken on a new appearance –adorned in fall’s unique glow.
We’ve walked this path 100s of times, yet today everything felt different, more alive. I noticed, my to-do list had faded from consciousness, and in its place was a sense of peaceful calm. Joy had pushed out the rush and hurry. The chatter of a flock of quail replaced the repetition of mental demands. Quiet settled around me and replacing my endless longings came awareness.
Somewhere between exiting the garage and being overcome by the path’s beauty, I had shifted from preoccupied to thankful.
As we walked up the hill, I felt a mental nudge. A simple suggestion entered my mind – what if my obsession with completing the day’s agenda was less about organizing and accomplishing tasks and more about keeping my life tidy. I don’t like surprises. I like being in control. I enjoy being accomplished. So perhaps the list is a way to control, keeping my life neat and protecting me from uncomfortable chaos.
As soon as I had settled from the prompting’s reveal, a single punch took my breath.
What if living isn’t about keeping my life neat or protecting personal comfort. What if it’s about having a grateful heart, a refocused mind?
Melody Beattie, a recovered addict and writer shares,
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity… It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
As I shifted my attention away from my agenda, my plans and refocused on the beauty of God’s creation, God’s provision, everything changed. I was moved from self-absorbed to satisfied.
The river path ended.
We wandered through the neighborhood until we rested at the doorstep leading to the garage. I unleashed the dog, unlocked the door, and took a glance over my shoulder. The sun sat at mid-horizon, the clouds outlined the hills, and my anxious mind was calm. I took a deep breath and I knew this morning would be a precious reminder – stay grateful.
“In every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful (be grateful) and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Amplified Bible
Be Blessed His BeLOVED,
Please read Luke 7:36-50 and reflect on the questions that follow.
Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman
36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet,he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet,but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss,but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head,but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you;go in peace.”
New International Version
Take a few minutes to consider the following.
- What do you think motivated the woman to adorn Jesus with perfume?
- These verses do not tell us much about the woman only that she was sinful. Yet, after meeting Jesus her life was changed, she was forgiven. How has knowing Jesus transformed you? Are you more satisfied, grateful, and thankful?
- What is one thing you can do to show your gratitude?