Have you ever heard the lyrics to the song titled “Don’t Know What You Got Till It’s Gone”? It’s unfortunate that sometimes we have to lose something, or almost lose something, before we recognize the value in it and appreciate it. I was reminded of that by a man whose recovery from an illness had been very long and difficult. He said, “Victoria, I see my life in a completely different light than before I got sick. Today, my precious things are family and friends. I’ve realized that appreciating what you have every day is what’s important.”
It’s easy to start taking for granted things that can’t be replaced. We live in a great country with houses that have running water, electricity, and every convenience. We have places to work and worship and stores of all kinds–whatever we need is basically at our fingertips. Most importantly, there’s our spouse, our children, our mother and father, siblings, and friends. But then we start to forget the precious gift they really are and we neglect them. We face challenges at our jobs and in our homes, things go wrong, and we start to complain about having to go to work, having to make dinner and clean the house, having to help a friend. We forget to be grateful and lose the language of appreciation.
In Deuteronomy 10-12, God was taking the children of Israel into the Promised Land and describing all the gifts He was freely giving them. “I’m giving you houses filled with great treasure, vineyards you didn’t plant, and fields you didn’t plow.” But then He warned them, “Don’t take them for granted. Don’t forget who gave it to you. Honor Me in it.” We all should be remembering the gifts and abundance in our life through appreciation. Don’t start complaining about present hardships. Yes, we’re facing challenges. Things aren’t easy. But when we look for the lessons in what we’re experiencing, when we begin to look for what can build our character, when we see the treasure in the people we love, that’s when we’re going to find the value and the purpose.
When we appreciate God, and we appreciate the things God has given us, we give Him thanks and honor Him. Appreciation is a language we need to learn, and gratitude honors God. That’s why, wherever you are today, no matter how difficult it is, ask God to show you, “Where’s the value in this, God? This is something You’ve brought to me, so how can I appreciate it?” Happy people are the ones who are appreciative of what they have right now on the way to where they’re going.