Chicken Caldo

How a bowl of soup can remind me to be thankful

Did you know that Americans are spoiled? Sure, we’re in an economic crisis at the moment, but even so there are dozens of opportunities for Americans to find food or shelter. People in other countries often don’t have that luxury.

I know I mentioned my trip to Guatemala yesterday, but I’m recycling pictures. And this one just seems to fit the concept behind today’s verse.

When I was in Guatemala I got the chance to eat what the Q’eqchi call caldo. Basically it’s some kind of meat (turkey, chicken, fish, etc) thrown in a pot with some vegetables and cooked all day. YUM.

Turkey Caldo

Turkey Caldo - Peten, Guatemala

I’m serious. It was actually the best turkey soup I’ve ever had. I could stand for some right now, really.

What amazed me was how the people of the village were insistent that we eat their food. And it wasn’t just this village. It was every village we visited.

Granted, it’s part of their culture, but they didn’t have to act so happy about it. Especially when they might not have had enough food to feed themselves.

What I have learned, though, is that when you’re thankful for something, you tend to be much more likely to share it. Being thankful for something, whether it’s food or clothing or whatever, indicates that you realize you didn’t earn it.

Today’s verse is 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

This is a lot harder to do than you think at first glance. Be thankful in all circumstances.

Be thankful if you live in Guatemala where the mosquitos are big enough to carry off small children. Be thankful if you live in Kansas where the wind is strong enough to blow away small children.

Be thankful if you eat three meals a day. Be thankful if you eat one meal a day. Be thankful if you have a job, even if you don’t like the hours. Be thankful if you have clothes to wear, whether they’re the latest fashions or something you found at Goodwill.

Be thankful if you’re in a good situation.

Be thankful if you’re in a bad situation.

Whatever situation or circumstance you’re in, be thankful.

Many Christians struggle with finding God’s will for their life, and I’ve said it before: I don’t think we can know God’s will for our life. I think God’s will for our lives would blow our tiny little human brains. However, I think we can know God’s will for today.

And part of God’s will for today is to be thankful.

I’ll never forget how happy it made the family who made this soup for us that I asked for more broth. They were thrilled.

I want to have that kind of spirit, that gives and gives and is happy when people ask things of me. I want to be that thankful for the gifts in my life that I am willing to share them unconditionally.

And the first step to doing that is understanding that everything I have, God has given me. Yes, I’ve worked hard, but God gave me the strength and the talent to work. He gets all the credit for any good thing in my life, and if I get to the point where I think I deserve the things I have, my life will begin to revolve around them.

But if I can remember that it’s God who gave everything in my life to me? Then, my perspective will change. And if we can get our perspectives to change, that’s the biggest step in overcoming selfishness.