Taking Things for Granted

CactusWithout gratitude or appreciation, ungrateful

Never take anything for granted. Benjamin Disraeli

Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. Aldous Huxley

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. G.K. Chesterton 

  There is no doubt that we have a tendency to take too many things for granted. We get comfortable with things being as they are and soon lose sight of how tentative much of life really is. So often, the things we do take for granted are not appreciated until we lose them or they get taken away, then they are sorely missed.

    There is a long list of things that most of us tend to take for granted: our families, health, jobs, environment, the economy, freedom and personal liberties. The right to vote is very much taken for granted, the actual percentage of those who participate in federal elections seldom exceeds fifty percent. The more we take our freedom and liberty for granted, the more we become apathetic. There are those that say we are slowly losing our freedoms because we do not appreciate what they are. We do not take the time to count our blessings.   

     It is easy to say and more difficult to do, but we should not take anything for granted. In fact, the more precious something is, the more we should respect it and show great gratitude for it. We tend to do the opposite. We take the precious for granted and place our time and attention on the trivial and unimportant. How many of us take our health for granted? How many are out of shape, eat poorly, sleep poorly and do not have as much energy and vitality as we should? On the other side of the coin, how many spend too much time watching TV or putting too much time and attention into other things that are less important? How many marriages or other relationships have suffered or were lost due to being taken for granted? We seem bent on learning the hard way.

     One cure for taking things for granted is becoming more responsible and accountable. We should have a better sense of priority. Being very mindful of what is really important may help us avoid taking it as lightly. This might include such things as being informed and voting; committed to eating healthy and exercising; and not taking spouses and family for granted. Things that are important need our time and attention and need to be fostered and maintained. The things we prioritize are the things we are less likely to take for granted.

Challenge: You should be aware of what you consider to be most important. These things deserve your time and effort. If you do not invest, maintain and focus on them, they are subject to being lost or taken away. Instead of falling prey to taking them for granted, be mindfully thankful and grateful. Know what is important; put time and effort into them. Do not let them get stale. Never allow yourself to slip and lose sight of what is important.

Wisdom: A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves. Henry Ward Beecher   

Spiritual: (NIV)

Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life. Proverbs 22:4

Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf. Proverbs 11:28

The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. Psalm 147:11

Our nature is to take things for granted. We do not realize how much we appreciated something or someone until we lose them. This is really brought home when we lose a loved one or a friend. After their loss we are humbled and find all kinds of reasons to be grateful. Our worst fault is in taking God for granted. We find it easier to complain and whine about what we do not have than to take the time and really appreciate what we do have. 

Prayer: Help me to spend more time counting my blessings and naming them one by one.

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