John Wesley (the founder of Methodism in the 18th century) once asked a man what he would do if he had to sleep outside that night. The man replied that he would be thankful that he had dry stones upon which to sleep. I so want to have that attitude and to keep it with me all my life. To be thankful to have dry stones for a bed instead of wet ones? Is that not a glass half full and expecting more kind of fellow? Paul told us to be content with what we have, and I can truthfully say that Karen, John, and I are there. We not only are content with what we have but are so very grateful that we have what we do. If we want things, it is for others that we want them. We can always feed more orphans, train more lay pastors, teach more widows to sew and give them the sewing machines to make a living with—if others send us the money to do it. We do what we can with what we have and operate two schools, feed almost a hundred orphans a day, teach the teachers and equip six other preschools, set up solar lights for those in rural areas, and still make and place biosand water filters. Not a single day passes that we do not help at least one other person besides all the children, teachers, and pastors we help. I am very thankful that I have a wheelchair and walker and ankle brace to help me get around as I slowly heal. So thankful for Karen who helps me exercise every day to keep me strong while I have to spend so much time in bed. Thankful for the doctor who comes to the house to take care of us and who says that I am not a patient but family. Thankful that our generator is rebuilt and running better than ever. We have so many blessings it is hard to keep track of all of them, but in spite of our aches and pains, we are happy and grateful.
In your world, it is harder to be happy with what you have because you are surrounded and besieged by advertising designed by experts to make you want more. Your society tells you how you don’t have what you need and then offers you credit cards, second mortgages, and other inducements to get into debt to have those things you don’t really need and didn’t really want. I was part of that society and I couldn’t resist its pull. To have things delivered the next day or in some places the same day is just too good to turn down. But take a minute, stop and think, and see what you really need that you don’t already have. You wouldn’t have to spend much time here with people living in huts with no power, no running water to see that they are happy and grateful for what they have. Maybe the key is to inventory what you really need and give away all that you don’t. I don’t know, maybe you are among the good ones and are happy with what you have. There are millions who are, but there are more who aren’t. Giving thanks to God every day for what you do have is a good way to keep things in context. That’s all I’m gonna say.