Posted by Louise on Feb 17, 2010
Here we are, bang in the middle of an economic recession, when many of us are experiencing scarcity of work and income. This prompted my choice of inspirational Bible verses. What does the ancient Israelite culture have to do with our attitude to thankfulness today? Why should we be thankful today when we face financial hardship, unsatisfying work, and we lack the means to improve our lot?
Today’s inspirational Bible verses are taken from ‘Numbers’ chapter 11, verses 4 – 6. These Bible verses deal with the Israelites complaining, missing the daily luxuries they experienced in Egypt, and displaying a thorough lack of gratitude.
” (4) Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel also began to complain. “Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed. (5) We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. (6) But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!”***
What do these Bible verses really mean?
We know the foreign rabble refers to a large group of Egyptians who accompanied the people of Israel out of Egypt. En route to the Promised Land the travelers were insecure as they moved through the wilderness, uprooted and separated from the life they knew in Egypt.
This sense of change and rootlessness caused the crowd to see their time as slaves through rosy glasses. Forgotten were the whips and brutality of their Egyptian masters, their time as slaves. Instead the travelers remembered the fine food, meat, fish and succulent vegetables, that they had eaten during their time as slaves.
What does this ancient group of disenchanted travelers have to do with how we experience life today?
Like us living in an unstable economic climate today, the band of travelers were facing the unknown and finding it challenging to adapt to change and uncertainty. Rather than focus on the new life God was creating for them (a new life in the Promised Land where they could be free, a nation settled in their own land), dissatisfaction reared its ugly head. Grumbling and complaining replaced thankfulness and trust. Selective memories of good food were in the forefront of their minds while they omitted to remember the dreadful experiences of servitude while still in Egypt.
The contemporary lesson appears to be that it is all too easy for us to oversee the magnitude of things we have to be grateful for in times of hardship. When we focus on what we don’t have, dissatisfaction with our lot sets in. Dissatisfaction then colors our perception of life. We complain and feel a strong sense of lack, while this is only part of our current situation. For every lack, there is a multitude of things to be genuinely thankful for.
How can we apply the dissatisfaction and resistance to change the ancient travelers experienced to our lives today?
The human mind is capable of great duplicity, and we are masters of selective vision at any time. We can focus on the rosy aspects of the past, omitting the painful times. Equally we can mislead ourselves and paint our current situation as being far, far worse than it really is by concentrating on the negative aspects and airbrushing our blessings out of mind.
These inspirational Bible verses give us pause to think about what occupies most of our attention right now. Dissatisfaction occurs when we shift our attention from what we have to what we don’t have. Are we thankful for what we have or are we magnifying the sensations of frustration at what we don’t have at the moment?
Today’s understanding of the necessity for Thankfulness:
Christianity and several of the world religions appreciated the benefits experiencing deep thankfulness. The inspirational Bible verses quoted above are but one example of how Christians are exhorted to live a life of thankfulness, putting our focus on the bountiful experience of daily life.
The advent of positive psychology, which developed rapidly over the past decade, has produced convincing evidence that grateful people are happier, more content with life, less stressed and depressed, sleep better, and have a greater sense of control over their lives, less prone to substance abuse, adopt better coping strategies and numerous other unexpected side-benefits. (For more fascinating insights, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratitude.)
New-Age philosophies embrace an ‘attitude of gratitude’ as a stepping stone to well-being and a prerequisite to manifesting abundance. Keeping a Gratitude Journal and recognising the positive is seen as a critical part of the manifestation process.
I hope you have enjoyed discovering how inspirational Bible verses can have a very real application in our lives today. I wish you many reasons for thankfulness and may you experience the life-enhancing gift of gratitude. If these verses inspired you in some way, don’t hesitate to share your gratitude experience.
*** Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996,2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.