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A life of gratitude is a life well-celebrated

Last week, I was reminded of how faithful God is and how faithless we truly are. I was rushing to work one morning because I overslept and was, subsequently, late. I didn’t get the chance to eat breakfast or stop by the nearest Starbucks for a turkey, egg and cheese muffin. On top of that, I was worrying about some debt that I needed to settle — since my budget was not adding up – and my struggling wardrobe. I couldn’t remember the last time I shopped for some new clothes.

When I arrived to the office, I made a beeline for my desk. I turned on my computer, logged on and began to sort through my e-mail. At some point, I looked up and noticed that one of the editors had walked in. She had a million (or so it seemed) bags in her hands. She placed them on a nearby table and began to unload.

I observed the contents from the bag closely and noticed that there were boxes of donuts, bagels, fruit containers, two tubs of cream cheese, cookies and plastic utensils. Somebody asked her what the occasion was and she simply replied, “A celebration of life.” She called us all over to help ourselves.

My stomach growled as if it were offering a nod of approval. I silently thanked God and rushed over. I grabbed a bagel and some fruit, and thanked this generous colleague of mine. She nodded and said, “I couldn’t have let the day pass without doing something wonderful. Three years ago, on this exact day, I completed my last chemotherapy. I have been cancer-free since.” I was at a loss for words as I looked into her misty eyes. She continued, “God has been generous to me so it’s only right that I be generous to you guys.” “That is really kind of you,” I responded.

Back at my desk, I mused about the beginning of my day. I had been fretting about unimportant things when God has said, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25). How easily do I forget! How easily we forget!

In the Book of Matthew (chapter 14) is a riveting account of Jesus feeding a crowd of 5,000 people. They were hungry, but Jesus saw an opportunity to use their physical need as an illustration of a deeper longing in their souls. He multiplied five loaves of bread and two fishes to cater to the multitude. But first, He gave thanks.

Everyone ate till they were full and there were even left overs! Not only was this seemingly impossible feat a miracle; it was also a testament of what God can do when our resources — time, money, talents, efforts — are limited. The disciples saw the task as a challenge and could not fathom the outcome, but Jesus showed them that anything was possible through Him. He also showed them, unbeknownst to them, that He was indeed the “bread of life,” sufficient enough to fulfill our inner hunger:

“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again.” John 6:35

Hence, life is more than food and clothes. It is valuable, yet fragile. We can be here today and gone tomorrow after one bad accident or diagnosis. But thank God for His grace. Thank God that was not how the story ended for my ever appreciating co-worker. And thank God she was mindful of and grateful for that. Not because she brought food for me to eat, but because I was reminded, yet again, of God’s providence.

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