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AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE

 

 

By Betty Freauf

November 21, 2006

NewsWithViews.com

Thanksgiving is only a few days away as I begin to draft this article and the pastor’s sermon in church on the 19th was “An Attitude of Gratitude” so I hope he doesn’t mind if I borrow it from him. From Luke 17:11-19 he spoke about how Jesus healed ten lepers and only one came back to thank him and stated that some people are simply ungrateful in nature. Being “thankful” is not a high priority with them. He said some poor people give thanks for their daily bread while many rich not only forget to give thanks for what they have but they want more.

He always opens his sermons with a good story. Today he told us about a group, I believe he said in England, called “Fellowship of Depressives Anonymous” (FDA). It is a “self-help” group for personalities who like to share their miseries. It seems one man did so much sharing that he got well so they kicked him out of the club but that made him depressed so he got back into the group who never seems to be thankful for what they have.

In my local newspaper on the same day Craig Wilson, feature writer at USA TODAY told about the items he finds as he and his dog are out for a walk and about the many times he’s returned cell phones, billfolds and other items and how he doesn’t get a “thank you.” In fact, the title of his article was “Thank you” is out of style.” Wouldn’t it be nice if “thank you” caught on as quickly as “Have a good day” did?

Pastor J. Vernon McGee died in 1988 but I recently ran into a sermon he gave on Christmas Day 1960 and he remarked America has a headache with an abundance of surplus while in Third World countries there is poverty and says the world today is just as needy and wretched as it was more than 2000 years ago when Jesus appeared on the scene. He said we can talk about our Harvard graduates all we want but all America has produced is a bunch of beatniks. Then he quotes what a modern writer said about our literature: Modern literature is a mirror on the ceiling of a brothel. Along with the decay of morals that accompany an increase in wealth and luxury, we must then begin dealing with more crime that is a result of that decay. I do not have to list the crimes one by one. All you have to do is read your newspaper or watch the TV news.

America has technologically been a world leader and some of our advances have been generally good for mankind but I’m reminded of such things as the Manhattan project compartmentalized so no one would know they were building a bomb. With the latest gimmick we find young people camped out in front of stores waiting for the Nantendo Wii and Play Station 3 (whatever they are!!??)

I’m appreciative of the minor prophets in the Bible and unfortunately, we don’t get too many sermons from their books but the prophet Amos shared God’s grief over a backslidden people lounging in ease and prosperity, putting out of mind the impending literal HOUR of judgment while lying on beds of materialism, listening to outrageous music and sipping wine. (Amos 6:1-6) Prosperity has always been a factor in a shipwrecked faith. When we become fat and prosperous our hearts often grow cold and indifferent toward the Lord as we worship the god of materialism.

Another article in my local newspaper was entitled Cruise Ships Just Keep Getting Bigger and Bigger (like our national debt) and an accompanying article Liners focus on being kid-friendly. These ships have amenities galore and do not lack for passengers. One is scheduled to debut in 2009 and will accommodate more than 5,400 passengers and more than 1,000 crew members. That’s more than thousands of little towns in America have for population.

Today’s young people seem to be following in the footsteps of their 60’s something parents and retailers take great delight in catering to these spoiled children of two-working parents. While some do remain behind to work at something worthwhile during spring break, many students choose pricey packages with yachts and luxury villas. Some parents allow their inexperienced 18-year olds to go to Aruba and they never come back home.

Marital instability and non-marriage has become dominant characteristics of our era and one cause very well may be the growing cultural materialism that values money, power and possession over commitment to the family. Couples tend to go into financial servitude to pursue material things. Married couples neglect precious time with the children chasing two (or more) jobs and the American dollar dream. Husbands become spiritually and emotionally absent from their wives and families to engage in corporate dollar chasing. Many fritter away their paychecks in pursuit of lottery prizes. A recent article in our paper said that women in Oregon are now more likely to require counseling over their addiction to gambling. Everyone wants to grab for the golden ring on the merry-go-round. Do I dare suggest that greed may very well be the downfall of America?

And look at the big contracts the athletes receive today just because they can play some game well. One basketball player with a $180 million contract has diamond ear rings worth $80,000 each. And then there are the exorbitant salaries of corporate CEOs.

Women have been encouraged to shop until they drop for the past few decades and magazines have helped turn them into shop-a-holics Editors and television producers encourage us to buy and go into debt.

The senior citizens work for decades and look forward to retirement. Some end up with yachts, $100,000 motor homes, luxurious beach houses and money to travel while more and more citizens either due to mismanagement of their money when younger, medical bills or perhaps insufficient education to land a good job end up in a bread line at the Salvation Army.

And who at the top sets an example for the rest of us? The federal government has very loose money policies and no accountability. They encourage consumption and deter savings.

For centuries the church preached and denounced covetousness, calling it a sin to go after material things and then along came the “prosperity movement” – the greatest deception in the modern church wherein they use God’s word to put a badge of approval on covetousness.

Will the day come when as Amos 3:15 states: I will destroy the beautiful homes of the wealthy, the winter mansions, the summer houses and demolish their ivory palaces too? And if this current illegal immigration problem and national debt isn’t alleviated, we can all join the FDA.

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While there is still time, we should be more thankful and grateful with what the good Lord has supplied for us. My roof doesn’t leak, the furnace is running, I haven’t missed a meal in my 50+ years of marriage and our children have given us no major headaches. I am blessed and for that I can truthfully say all thanks to the Lord. [Read]

© 2006 Betty Freauf - All Rights Reserved

E-Mails are used strictly for NWVs alerts, not for sale


Betty is a former Oregon Republican party activist having served as state party secretary, county chairman, 5th congressional vice chairman and then elected chairman, and a precinct worker for many years but Betty gave up on the two-party system in 2004 and joined the Constitutional Party.

Betty is a researcher specializing in education, a freelance journalist and a regular contributor to www.NewsWithViews.com
 
E-Mail:
bettyboot@wvi.com


 

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For centuries the church preached and denounced covetousness, calling it a sin to go after material things and then along came the “prosperity movement” – the greatest deception in the modern church wherein they use God’s word to put a badge of approval on covetousness.