A few of my favorite things include a great book to curl up with, a cozy blanket, a warm cup of coffee and CHOCOLATE 🙂 You can only imagine how excited I was when our family embarked on the Hershey’s Chocolate Tour while on vacation a few weeks ago. Imagine our surprise when we learned that there are 15 steps involved from screening the cocoa beans all the way to packaging the chocolate candy! Afterwards my oldest daughter shared how much she has always enjoyed eating chocolate, but had no idea how elaborate the process was in making a candy bar.
Her observation got me thinking. How often we enjoy the fruit of someone’s labor without realizing all of the work involved! It seems so effortless that it’s easy to take for granted.
For example, I think about myself growing up in an upper middle class home with a godly heritage, a loving family, and countless opportunities at my fingertips to pursue. I want to say I appreciated it all and was super grateful to my parents while living under their roof. However, the reality is that I didn’t arrive at that conclusion until I had my own family. Suddenly, I realized the sacrifices that were made, the courage and strength which were required, the countless tears in prayer .. all of which made me fully comprehend the labor of love involved in raising a family.
I even reflect on our decision to build our home from the ground up once we moved to Texas. The time involved, the countless details that were so easy to miss, the numerous contractors required to work on the separate parts … what a lengthy, stressful process! But ask me if I ever thought about all of that while growing up in my own home. No way Jose! Carefree, I enjoyed the cool temperature of the central air conditioning, that plumbing was always working, and that I could bask in the sunlight from each of our windows.
Likewise, it’s easy for you and I to take God’s love, His salvation, His amazing grace, and His Word for granted. I don’t believe we intend to, but not having to go through the painful process ourselves can cause us not to appreciate what a wonderful gift each one is for us. God’s love is so deep and wide that He sacrificed His only Son, His salvation means Jesus died so we could live eternally, His grace means that we are not excluded from His presence when we ask for forgiveness of our sins, and His Word is the light, our guide for righteous living which required many people to write, compile for us, and print so we can read it freely.
Ephesians 2:11 exhorts us: “But don’t take any of this for granted.” Instead, “Give thanks with a grateful heart, Give thanks to the Holy One,” (lyrics by Don Moen) remembering that “Every good and perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17).
Let’s just say that the next time I sink my teeth into a piece of chocolate, I’ll be thanking God for all those people and machines who were a part of the process of helping me enjoy one of my favorite things 🙂