Thankful? For What? – Bad News About Good Times
Key Bible Verse: My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life. – Psalm 23:5-6
Bonus Reading: Psalm 23
Griping rises with income, concluded two economists who studied the U.S. and four other wealthy nations. “People who were otherwise statistically similar complained more about the ‘time squeeze’ as their incomes rose. The more money people have,” the economists concluded, “the more things they can do with their time; as time becomes more valuable, they increasingly resent that they can’t create more of it.”
Similarly, as choices multiply, notes The Paradox of Choice author Barry Schwartz, people feel overwhelmed by the burden of having to research the best option. After they buy, if they feel they made the wrong choice, then they’re miserable.
Gregg Easterbrook’s book The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse, documents how as people’s material lives have improved dramatically, their inner lives have declined. Depression, loneliness, and frustration are all much higher than 50 years ago. Easterbrook’s prescription? Stop focusing on ourselves. Instead concentrate on being grateful for our daily blessings, on the deeper truths of what really matters in life, and on how we can help our neighbors around the world.
—Ellen Vaughn in Radical Gratitude
My Response: Do I match the research profile of resenting a “time squeeze” and feeling overwhelmed by choices to be checked out?
Thought to Apply: It is a rare person who, when his cup frequently runs over, can thank God instead of complaining about the limited size of his mug! —Bob Russell
Adapted from Radical Gratitude (Zondervan, 2005)
Prayer for the Week: Give me a fresh awareness, Lord, of those gifts I’ve taken for granted.