Friday, October 28, 2011

The Art of Appreciation

"Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. Matthew 7:6

When tiny shellfish die, they don't go to heaven.  Neither do they go to hell.  They just drift to the bottom of the sea.  The shell lies on the bottom of the sea with billions of other shells.  As time passes the little shells are pressed together by the weight of others above.  Finally the individuals lose their identity, and they become limestone.  If the limestone is pure and if it is subjected to tremendous pressure - it becomes marble - hard and white. 

Because of its whiteness, hardness, and fine quality, marble is much in demand for buildings and statues.  Buildings and statues are often beautiful.  Thus, some of the most beautiful things in the world have been made of marble.  Some of the most beautiful statues and monuments were to be found on the Acropolis of Athens.  Such buildings as the Erechtheum, the Parthenon, and the Temple of Athena Nike were built of this fine material.  

But some men did not appreciate beauty and quality.  During medieval and Turkish times, many marbles and marble works were crushed, ground up, and made into lime!  All the work of the little shellfish, all the work of time and pressure, all the work of architects and sculptors turned back into lime! Some people just do not appreciate things the way they should.

There are a lot of other valuable things in life we fail to appreciate properly.  The guidance and sacrifice of parents, the love of a friend, a loving spouse, the security of a good home and other intangibles are often taken for granted. Sadly, we sometimes are the ones who crush the marbles into lime or trample pearls under our feet.

“When something does not insist on being noticed, when we aren’t grabbed by the collar
or struck on the skull by a presence or an event, we take for granted
the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”
-Cynthia Ozick

It’s not just the things of men that are disrespected and abused instead of honored and cared for.  Neither do some men appreciate the things of God.  Like spoiled children we are prone to trample God’s grace or take for granted His tender mercies.  God’s forgiveness cost Him a great deal in the death of His Son, yet He was willing to pay the price to restore a relationship with us.  Yet, we are negligent in finding the time to listen to counsel from His Word or speak to Him in prayer.

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

So much of life blessing is that which is bestowed upon us.  We did not merit them, pay for them or earn them.  If we did, we did not grant the strength, energy or time to attain them.  God did.  A critical element to how we view ourselves, life and others is bound up in this one question; Do you take things for granted or take them with gratitude?

Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28-29

Our MOST GRACIOUS Heavenly Father,
Grant to us the proper attitude toward all that is ours.  May we recognize and appreciate the things which make our lives strong and complete.  Help us to see the great hand that guides us and pours out the blessings we enjoy.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

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