Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Gratitude Experiment




Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.


For the last several years, I have been conducting an experiment in human behavior, unbeknownst to all the world but me.

Upon meeting a friend, co-worker, or acquaintance on a nice day, I will say, “Hey, nice day, huh?”

By my purely unscientific methods, fully eighty percent of people hearing that comment will respond with, “Yeah, but it’s supposed to rain tomorrow.”--or something else in the negative.

Why are we like that? Even people with a fairly positive attitude will immediately point out the negative aspect of any positive comment.

I fully realize that this is Minnesota and if you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes and it will change. But it goes way beyond the weather.

“Man, it’s great to be on vacation.”
“Yeah, but we have to go back to work in a week.”
“I’m glad to have a job to go back to.”
“Yeah, but it is soooo boring at work.”

Sometimes I think we’ve been infected with the Eeyore virus.
“Don’t blame me if it rains.”

It’s tempting to blame the media on this one, what with our daily dose of killings, war, car crashes, and on and on and on. It really makes it seem as if there is more evil in the world than good.

But that’s not true. There is more good than evil. It’s just that bad news sells. Which is why you never see the headline “Family Prays Together Each Night” or “Man Says Kind Word to Stranger.”

The fact is, we have soooo much to be grateful for.

At the risk of sounding like an old man who walked three miles through hip deep snow (uphill both ways) to get to school, consider the following:

In 1900, the infant mortality rate was 14%. That’s one in seven children who didn’t live to see their first birthday. In the 1950’s, it was about 3%, or one in 35. Today, infant mortality is less than seven-tenths of a percent, or one in 142.

In 1900, average life expectancy of men in the United States was 45. Women lived to an average age of 49. Today, those figures are 76 for men and 81 for women.

Somewhere between 20 million and 100 million people died of the flu in 1918. Today, that number is so low it’s difficult to know for sure. (The Center for Disease Control estimates somewhere between 3,000 and 49,000 deaths per year.)

Even though indoor plumbing has been around for over a thousand years, it was only for the very rich and even then it wasn’t truly perfected until the 1920’s because we had not figured a way to keep sewer gas from backing up into homes. Leprosy and scores of other diseases which are virtually unheard of today were caused by sanitation issues.

Approximately two million children die each year in developing countries as a result of improper waste disposal.

Most urban homes didn’t have electricity until the 1930’s and many farm homes didn’t have electricity until the 1950’s or 1960’s.

People in the United States didn’t even understand the role of germs in disease and infection (and the importance of washing their hands) until after the Civil War.

Even today, over three million people still die each year from disease which could be prevented by washing one’s hands with soap and water.

So, dear Christian, when was the last time you praised God for a bar of soap?
Or the S-trap under your sink which keeps sewer gas out of your house?
Or clean water uncontaminated by your own outhouse?
Or for the wholesome food in your electric refrigerator and freezer?
Or for your very life and the lives of your children?

Truly, we are greatly blessed.
Praise be to God!

Today's post written by Dan Jones

Today’s Praise

James 1:17 

 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

4 comments:

Beth Crosby said...

Great post, Dan! We do need to exercise an attitude of gratitude! Thank YOU for the reminder!

dan jones said...

Beth, thank you so much! Of course, our greatest gratitude goes to Jesus for what He did on the cross. All praise, glory, and honor to Him who saves!

Anonymous said...

! agree with Beth Crosby when she says that our greatest gratitude goes to Jesus Christ for what He did on the cross,and all praise ,glory,and honor go to Him who saves us from all of our sins. We also need to exercise an attitude of gratitude.

Dan Jones said...

Amen, Anonymous!