I heard about a mom who took her son to McDonald’s and ordered him some fresh, steaming-hot fries. You can smell them, can’t you? Your mouth is starting to water, isn’t it? (Wink!) Well, as the story goes, she sat down opposite her boy and watched him eat, but it was too great a temptation. She reached across the table and grabbed a few fries, but he quickly grabbed them back and said, “They’re mine, not yours!”
She thought to herself, “I paid for them. Without me, he’d have nothing. I could just take them and say, ‘We’re done. No more fries. Period.’”
“I could just go buy my own fries.” She thought, “Problem solved.” But then she realized that none of those things represented the real issue. “I want him to learn to be unselfish, and to discover the joy of sharing things with others.” And all the parents said… “Amen!”
Guess what? God feels much the same about us as the fry-grabbing mom. He doesn’t need to give us anything, yet He blesses us lavishly… and all He really wants is for us to learn a little gratitude and generosity along the way.
Money is both a tool and a drug. It’s a tool in that it keeps the lights on, pays the bills, keeps us fed, provides a job, etc. But as a drug, it numbs us to the things that matter most: kindness, empathy, generosity, and sharing. How about you… tool or drug?
The widely-respected American psychiatrist Karl Menninge once said, “Giving is a very good criterion, in a way, of a person’s mental health. Generous people are rarely mentally ill people.” You know something? Gratitude is probably more important than we realize.
Gustave and Rita Hauser gave Harvard Law School 13,000,000 dollars. You know why? Gratitude. “This school brought us together,” they said. “We met in a class here and got married after our final exams.” Gratitude changes people… more than we know.