The visit was short - fewer than 48 hours. We picked up our daughter, Riley, from the airport and headed for home. Even though she'd only been in college for three weeks, and we had communicated almost every day, there was still so much to catch up on. Classes, roommates, and adventures. Never a dull moment. But it's true, there's no place like home.
While college life is definitely exciting, it also has its share of challenges. Some of the simple things she didn't give a second thought to while she lived at home, have suddenly become much more special. Sleeping in her own bed and using her own bathroom, now rank high on her list as true luxuries. Eating home-cooked meals definitely rivals the cafeteria experience.
In the short weeks since we dropped our girl off at college, things have changed. Riley is maturing. She values things she once took for granted. She realizes the sacrifices we've made to send her to a Christian college. We found a note that Riley slipped under our door on Saturday morning. "Thank you both so much for letting me go to PCC. It has been amazing so far. And I just wanted you to know how thankful I am for letting me go there..." I'll always treasure the words she penned in that note to my husband and me.
What a good reminder for me when I get caught up in the busyness of life. Am I careful to express gratitude for the things God has so richly blessed me with? A loving family. A comfortable home. Dependable transportation. Plenty of food. Or do I display an attitude of entitlement - acting as if I deserve God's blessings?
Remember the story of the prodigal son? His sense of entitlement carried him off to a far away land, where he quickly spent the inheritance granted to him by his father. Times got tough and a famine plagued the land. The friends who had been attracted to his wealth disappeared when his money was gone. No one offered to help him.
In order to survive, this young man had to take a job feeding pigs. "And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee. And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants" (Luke 15:17-19; KJV).
How often do I act just like this prodigal? Foolishly thinking I deserve my Heavenly Father's blessings and complaining when I feel I'm entitled to more. What wisdom can be learned when I humble myself and take my rightful place as a servant, giving thanks to the almighty King for all He's done for me. Tuning my heart to be thankful. The Psalmist said, "It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night..." (Psalm 92:1-2).
Today is the perfect day to begin practicing praise. Take the Psalmist's advice, "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24)!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, forgive me for the many times I take Your blessings for granted, and live with a spirit of entitlement. Help me to submit myself to You, taking my rightful position as Your servant. Thank You for Your love and mercy. I choose to praise You, today! Amen.