There are some things that seemed to catch Jesus attention, and to which he draws our attention. You perhaps know the story where ten lepers come to Jesus seeking healing. As they continue their journey they find that they have all been healed! Only one comes back with thanksgiving. Jesus notes that and draws attention to it by noting also the absence of the other 9. “Were not ten healed? Where are the other nine?” 1 out of 10 is a disappointing mark…
There are other stories that show what Jesus notices either with expressed approval or disapproval, other activities or actions or attitudes recorded that Jesus particularly notes, but I want to stick with this one today: Thankfulness.
You have maybe picked up in my blogging that I like poetry. I never liked it at school perhaps because beauty can be overanalysed. Sometimes it is to be enjoyed rather than understood. I have come to like it and even write a bit of it myself from time to time. I referred not long ago to a poet I like called Kenneth Steven and encouraged you, if you are so inclined and like poetry – and I recognise not everyone does – to buy a collection of his poems called “Coracle.” In a poem from that collection, “A Green Woodpecker” he describes a walk into a wood to look for the said Woodpecker. The poem is actually hardly, if at all, about the Woodpecker, but is rather about all the other beauties and wonders he saw as he searched. He went looking for one thing and “found all this instead.”
Sometimes we can get so focussed on the one thing that we feel we are needing to see God do for us, or help for one area of living that we are asking for, that we become blind to the “all this” blessing around us. Our heavenly Father knows our needs according to Jesus, the Revealer of the Father. Don’t get so focussed on looking for a Woodpecker that you miss rivers, moon, crackling leaves and twigs, deer and swans, standing still and looking up into the sights and sounds of the sky above. I hope you know what I mean as I write this, even if you don’t like poetic thought! It is as old as Adam and Eve, this focussing on “one tree,” and forgetting that freely we are being offered the good fruit of many trees in the garden.
Look for God’s goodness today and try and get rid of anxious obsessions about that one thing.
Before I sign off, here is a practice with which someone started a meeting I attended lately. I found it amazingly profound, though generally I get annoyed at icebreaker things, and do them with a bad spirit and “surprise, surprise” to no obvious benefit! However, I was moved and did benefit from this exercise, despite beginning with a bad spirit. Maybe this old dog is learning new tricks, maybe I have become more tolerant and mellow with age and appreciate simpler things… anyway here it is:
As you sit where you are now;
See 5 things you have not noticed yet since you sat down
Touch 4 things around you, you have not touched today
Listen for 3 sounds you have not noticed
Smell 2 smells you have not registered yet
Taste 1 taste and name it
May God help us this day to see, touch, to listen to, to smell and to taste His goodness and be thankful. Satan loves to mesmerise us with that “one thing” to destroy our peace, like a snake mesmerising its prey. May the stare of the snake be broken for you … may you become alert … may Jesus note your thankfulness today.