by David Sisler

It’s an old story, but I remember when the opening of the first McDonald’s in Moscow made the front pages. Thousands of people stood in line for over an hour to try “gamburgers,” “chizburgers,” “filay-o-feesh” sandwiches, and “Beeg Maks.”

They may have served billions in America, but the 15,000 to 20,000 served in the first five hours of operation in Russia probably qualified for the Guinness Book of World Records.

Three Armenian students flew 1200 miles from Yerevan to Moscow just for the McDonald’s grand opening. Can you imagine flying 1200 miles and then standing in line for over an hour for a fast-food hamburger? Most of us don’t like to spend an hour with a meal in a four-star restaurant, let alone wait an hour for a burger.

I guess we just take such things for granted. It’s old hat to us. It’s so available and we’ve done it so many times that it’s not special anymore.

A lot of things become like that.

Husbands and wives are guilty of taking each other for granted. Maybe that’s why one in two marriages end in divorce.

Twenty years ago I bought a small yellow plaque and hung it over the kitchen sink. It was a gift for my wife. It was a reminder to me, don’t let your marriage become routine, don’t take her for granted. I did once. Never again.

The plaque features a small boy shyly handing a flower to his girl friend. Under the picture are the words, “Have I told you lately that I love?”

Charles Martz was a passenger on United Airline’s Flight 232 which crashed while landing in Sioux City on July 19, 1989. Speaking to reporters Charles said, “We knew the plane was in trouble. I said mental good-byes. I remembered, I didn’t kiss my wife this morning.”

It is so easy for spouses, friends, coworkers to take each other for granted.

One day, somewhere along the border between Samaria and Galilee, Jesus healed ten lepers. Luke records: “One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him – and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?’”

That is a story of ingratitude. Ninety percent of those who received blessings from the Lord’s hand were never heard from again. It is typical of human behavior, too typical. Nine men were more ready to pray than to praise, more ready with appeal than with applause.

We are often ungrateful. Think of the blessings of each day. With great excitement the Psalmist wrote, “Blessed be God who daily loads us with benefits” (Psalm 68:19). The word “loads” is from a root word which means “to impose a burden.” God is not stingy with His blessings to us, He extravagantly loads us with them!

The 23rd Psalm declares, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” Do we realize that if God were to withdraw His goodness and mercy for one day, one hour, or even one second, we could not live?

Do you remember “The Apostle’s Creed?”

“I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord; who...suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried. The third day He arose again from the dead.”

We accept the truth of those words, but are we astonished by them? Are we thrilled? Has it overwhelmed us? Have our eyes been blinded with tears of gratitude?

Big Mac, Filet-O-Fish, wives, husbands, friends, Jesus. We take a lot of things for granted. Especially Jesus.


Copyright 2002 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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