Saturday, March 24, 2012

Riding On The Hay Wagon

Do not say, "Why were the old days better than these?"

For it is not wise to ask such questions. Ecclesiastes 7:10 NIV

I grinned from ear to ear as Grandpa carefully pulled the hay wagon behind his tractor. Frequently, he glanced back over his shoulder to be sure that we remained seated. What fun! My friends and I had walked out to the field to call the men in for lunch. They were between loads and told us they would give us a short wagon ride, if we promised to sit still. At last, we were moving ever so slowly. Our suntanned legs dangled off the side of the wagon, as we hugged the prickly bales of hay next to us. Rocking from side to side over our bumpy terrain, we giggled and laughed, as thrilled as if we were riding one of the midway rides at the County Fair.

But a while later, angry red welts appeared where the hay had irritated our skin, and the welts began to itch. Grandma made a paste of baking soda and spread it on our blotches, providing us with some relief from our agony. Funny, how after the first thrill of an adventure is passed, we begin to notice all the unpleasant things about our experience. Life is like that; we begin a new job, or enter a new relationship, with joy and anticipation. Then a short while into the experience, we notice all the “not so pleasant” things that irritate us. We look high and low for the baking soda of life, wanting to ease our discomfort. Sometimes, we even turn to other gods in search of satisfaction.

Heavenly Insights

Shortly after the Israelites started on their journey to the PromiseLand, daily irritations became evident. They began thinking maybe they should have stayed in Egypt; after all, they did have food and comfortable shelter there. Truth, they had worked hard, but they were cared for. Here, in the wilderness, they were constantly running up against physical irritations, and their thinking became distorted. They remembered only the “fleshly comforts” of life in Egypt, and totally forgot the physical, mental and spiritual bondage that they had been under.

Then their spiritual leader, Moses, went upon Mt. Sinai to talk with God and according to the Israelites, was gone far too long, they begged Aaron, his brother, “to make us gods to go before us” (Exodus 32:1). Aaron went right along with them, took their gold jewelry and made them a golden calf.

Why did they make such a poor choice? Why did Aaron, also a leader, join with them? Because they hadn’t made it a daily habit to express thanksgiving to God for all that He had done. If they had practiced “thanksgiving”,they would not have forgotten that He, and He alone, was their All Sufficient God. Thanksgiving would have caused their faith to grow, and they would have been sure that God would supply their every need.

Years later, Paul, while talking with the Philippians made a statement about contentment in adverse circumstances: “I know what is it to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13 NIV) In addition to being thankful, we are to look to God to get us through whatever may befall us. If we express our thankfulness daily, then it will serve as a reminder to us to look to God for all our needs. We won’t have to seek satisfaction through the gods of this world.

Grandpa’s Tools

·         Express thanksgiving to God daily for all that He has done.

·         Look to God for strength in difficult situations.

·         Thanksgiving produces contentment in God’s people.

·         Thanksgiving makes our faith grow until we can trust in all circumstances.

Passing on the Godly Heirloom of


Grandparents can help their grandchildren develop a thankful attitude by modeling. Do not neglect saying mealtime grace. Openly express gratitude in daily conversation, often pointing out specific examples. Don’t be preachy, just be appreciative. Remember to thank them when they have gone out of their way to do something for you. Then try these:

Seven Ways to Express Thanksgiving & Gratitude

1.      Supply grandchildren with thank you notes and stamps. You model using them by sending thank you notes to them when appropriate.

2.      Provide them with a “thanksgiving” notebook for everyday, listing all the things they are thankful for. Remind them to read their list when feeling neglected or blue.

3.      Encourage them to start a gratitude journal where each day they list three things that they are grateful for.

4.      If you are a NBG (Near By Grandparent), join them in a community project to help the less fortunate. (Presenting a program at a nursing home, raking leaves for the elderly, and collecting can goods for the needy. Teach them to have an eye for those who need help.

5.      If you are a LDG (Long Distance Grandparent), you can still work with them on a project to help others, you just have to be more selective. Send the funds and have your adult children help them purchase items for Operation Christmas Child (Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse shoe box project). Encourage them to write to a senior citizen.

6.      Teach them to be thankful to and for their parents by reminding them of special days in their parent’s lives and by helping them remember their parents in special ways.

7.      NBG plant some seeds with your grandchild in faith and watch the plants grow. LDG mail a packet of seeds for your grandchild to plant. Share how you expect the seeds to grow, and that eventually you will have flowers or vegetables. Point out that is how faith in God works—we remember what God has done for us in the past, and we believe He will continue to care for us. We learn to trust Him even before we see the flowers or the fruit on the vine.