I woke up this morning and stretched my arms, saw the wrinkles, and thought, “Oh, yuk! These ugly wrinkles are getting worse by the day!” Then I thought, “Why am I complaining about my wrinkled skin. At least I have skin.” The wrinkles don’t matter. It matters that I have skin. And I’m thankful that it’s not plagued by leprosy or burned away or scarred all over.
Does it matter that my knees hurt? At least I have knees and legs to support them. I often think of my mother, who had her leg amputated above the knee. My dad was telling me about her good example in not complaining. I can still hear her say, “What good would that do?” Indeed, complaining doesn’t help. It just makes us and those around us more miserable.
It doesn’t matter that my diet is limited for a time. At least I have food, and a good variety, at that. Many people in this world eat rice, and only rice, every day of their lives.
It doesn’t matter that my walking is slower than it used to be. And my walks are shorter. What matters is that I can walk at all.
It doesn’t matter that my hair is thinning. It used to be very thick and almost to my waist. Now I’m learning to be satisfied that I have hair and can manage to wear it in a variety of ways.
I might wish that my church were more friendly, and that ten people greeted me on my way in and out of the service on Sunday morning. I like being noticed. But I am thankful that one person speaks to me. And I can get people to talk to me by approaching them with a kind greeting. What matters is that I help them by being warm and friendly.
My point is that what matters may be the most simple, basic things in life. And being thankful for those basic things is important. An attitude of gratitude is always helpful, isn’t it? Ephesians 5:20-21 says: “Make the best use of your time, despite all the difficulties of these days…Thank God at all times for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (J. B. Phillips).
Some are not as fortunate as I. What if I had leprosy, or my legs were amputated, or I was wheelchair bound, or I only had rice to eat, or I was bald, or people didn’t understand my need for friendliness? Would I, could I, still be thankful? Am I really focusing on what matters most? Is knowing Jesus, and knowing my heavenly destination enough?