Original post at http://jameyprickett.com/2014/12/13/jesus-is-enough-guest-post-donnah-wilson/
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)
Let’s talk about an attitude of gratitude.
We can and should be grateful for every thing in our lives that is good because James tells us that “every good and perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17). So we are grateful because God provides.
But what about the “bad things” that come along. James addresses this as well. He said we are to “consider it pure joy whenever we face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2) Why? Because God uses these trials to develop perseverance which then helps us to become “mature and complete”.
So God calls us to have an attitude of gratitude about the good things in our lives and about all the trials and tribulations and troubles in our lives.
That pretty much covers everything. Do you ever had any trouble with that last part? Trouble having an attitude of gratitude for trials and tribulations?
People I have encountered around the world who demonstrate an unconditional attitude of gratitude include Pastor Jacob. He has been the pastor of a small church in a very remote village in Kenya for the last seven years. He has a severe disability in his legs and his version of walking is much more difficult than our version of walking. He sets his crutches then he swings his legs through. Sets his crutches and swings his legs through.
Pastor Jacob walks 10 km, that’s over 6 miles, through a river to get from his home to the church he serves.
I see in Pastor Jacob and his congregation, a gratitude that goes beyond joys and beyond trials and tribulations. I see an attitude that says “Jesus is enough”. No matter how little we have.
Mercy is another person who exudes an attitude of gratitude. In obedience to God’s call, Mercy built and runs an orphanage in a slum in Nairobi. 300 children have a clean place to live within the despicable surroundings of that slum because of her obedience.
Most people who are the directors of an orphanage will go home at night or at least have a room of their own. She has neither. She has a bed. She sleeps in the baby room with five of the babies.
Mercy has given up everything, possessions and all, for the joys of serving the Lord. In Mercy, I see an attitude that says “Jesus is enough”.
The question I ask myself on a regular basis these days is, “would I be thankful if I didn’t have any of the quote “good gifts””. If I had absolutely nothing. If it was all taken away. If I couldn’t even move my arms and legs. If I had no control of my own body, would I still have an attitude of gratitude? Would “Jesus be enough”?
My mom has been a great inspiration to me in this regard. She has been paralyzed on her left side for 12 years. When out of the house, she gets around in what she calls her “go buggy”, her hover round. She looks quite capable & independent as she gets around. But if you saw behind-the-scenes you might wonder how she has such a positive attitude.
She requires someone to dress her, to bath her, to move her, to provide her every physical need. Once she is laid in bed, she is just there. She can’t rollover, she can’t get up, she just lays on her back until I get her up.
Would we have a great attitude of gratitude if we were in that situation? In the 2 years she has lived with me, I have never once heard her complain about her inability to care for herself. She doesn’t get in a bad mood! She continually shows me what an attitude of gratitude looks like. It looks like “Jesus is enough”.
We need to ask ourselves, what are we thankful for. Are we thankful for the things that God has given us, yes we should be.
But God wants us to turn our focus from stuff and from ourselves to a focus on Him. He wants us to turn our focus away from what happens to our physical bodies and turn it to a relationship with Him. If we can do that, then “Jesus is enough”.
Then, if all is stripped away, if we have nothing; if we don’t have a house, a job, a car, a family, if we don’t even have control of our own body, we can still be joyful in the Lord. We are still thankful because “Jesus is enough”
I have seen gratitude in people who have virtually nothing. And it’s not only in Kenya, it’s around the world. People who live in a grass hut. People who don’t have any food in their homes. People who have no hope of working to provide for their family. And yet they truly rejoice in the Lord.
God calls us to relationship, not stuff. His goal is for us to have relationship with Him. His goal for us is to only want Him, to only need Him. Then, “Jesus is enough” even when things go “bad” (even if they are first world problems).
When traffic is snarled, we don’t get angry because all we need is Jesus.
When our best friend stabs us in the back, we don’t turn to hatred because “Jesus is enough”.
When our spouse gets sick with cancer, we are not devastated because all we need is Jesus.
When God’s will for us is going down the hard road that we don’t particularly like, “Jesus is enough”.
If we are relying on the fluff, Jesus is not enough! If we take too much joy in the fluff, Jesus is not enough.
In church talk, it would probably be called the “sufficiency of Christ”.
But I’m a simple person so I say “Jesus is enough”.
I have posted this phrase around my house and in my car to remind me hourly that “Jesus is enough”. Jesus is all I need.
Gracious God, We give you thanks that Jesus is enough. Amen.