Thursday, November 29, 2007

spoiled brat? me?

It dawned on me this morning what a spoiled brat I am. You see, our family is in the incredibly privileged position of receiving a cheap holiday in Bright every year, as part of others' generous support of our ministry. Now, this is no small thing for me. Steve gets 4 weeks off, and this is the 1 week of those 4 which is my week off, a week which perfectly suits my requirements for relaxation.

For the kids, it's a chance to play games with their parents, ride their bikes, visit the adventure playground by the river, and toboggan in the snow. But I'm perfectly content to be alone with my family for a week, in a house with a couch where I can sit and read, occasionally glancing up to see the view. Around the corner, there's the most glorious walk, past sunset skies glowing on green fields, hazy blue hills and rows of golden poplars; through a little tangled wood like a fairy wonderland; and up the hill to a distant view of snow-topped mountains. My own special little corner of Bright.

We just received the news that - shock, horror! - on the week we plan to go away, the only house available in Bright is different to our usual house! A disaster of epic proportions! And of course, my main moan to Steve was "But this is my week off! I love that house! I hate change! The other house looks like it doesn't have any views! This is so unfair!" Petulant child, that's me.

While going for my walk and praying this morning, I realised what a spoiled brat I am. This is a great opportunity to serve Steve, to go away during a week which suits him (it's the week just after Summit, our mid-year conference, when he has reached the point of maximum exhaustion) even if the exact placement of the holiday doesn't suit me. In other words, a very small opportunity to be like my Saviour, who "did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45)

How much we have - a family, a big house we can (just!) afford, opportunities to take time off most weekends and 4 weeks every year, free access to modern medicine, a safe and secure society, the freedom to meet publically with other Christians, money to spend on stuff we don't need, and - get this - a virtually free holiday to Bright every year!! - and what do I complain about? "But it's not the house I like!"

Meanwhile, not so far from here, parents watch their children starve because they can't feed them; natural and man-made disasters bring widespread homelessness; people work for long hours in awful conditions every day of the year to feed their families; death from diseases like cholera, HIV and malaria is commonplace; children are kidnapped to serve in armies; and Christians live in constant fear of torture and death for their faith.

So what words did the Holy Spirit speak into my heart as I walked this morning? "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thess. 5:16-8) A timely reminder from God to stop being so petulant, and to be thankful for the enormous number of blessings he has given us: above all, the gift of eternal life through his Son.

I am working on my thankfulness today. Want to join me?


Emma P said...

Good on you Jean! Luv Em

Ruth McIntosh said...

What a great walk you had this morning! Seems that God has us on the same journey of reminding us to be thankful for all that He has done and given us. Love Mum