By: James Thompson
A couple of weeks back, I rode in the Tour de Cure –a bike ride that raises money for diabetes research. A disease that hits home for my family. This particular ride started at Katy Mills Mall and rode through the back roads of Katy, Fulshear, Simonton, and Brookshire. The day of the ride was good for riding. It was overcast with a slight breeze – which was great considering the forecast called for rain.
So, there I was pedaling through parking lots and subdivisions until I found myself surrounded my acres and acres of farmland green with grass/crops on both sides. It was quite enjoyable. It was nice being out in “nature” and just enjoying the ride.
Yet, it was surprising how fast my thoughts of enjoying nature turned into “must be nice to have house that big,” “must be nice to have a pool,” or “must be nice to have a big truck like that.”
Pretty soon, I was numb. Not only were the parts of me most closely touching my bike numb, but I was numb to God’s creation/nature and focusing instead on man’s creation (and my selfish desires). It is funny how I totally dismissed the trappings of all my “must be nices.”
The house comes with an equally large mortgage; the pool comes with the upkeep; and with the truck comes the need for maintenance and gas that I would probably struggle to keep up with.
I catch myself falling to this trap constantly. Even at the beginning of the ride, I entertained such thoughts like, “I’d like a three-wheeled bike,” or “I’d like to have a jersey like that one.” The guy on the bike had to ride that style because he was disabled (i.e. had a prosthetic leg). And, the jersey was for a team dedicated to those riders with diabetes…luckily, I do not qualify.
The Bible instructs us that being envious is not good. Proverbs 14:30 sets forth that
“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
I read a quote that basically equates envy to the art of counting someone else’s blessing instead of your own. Ouch!
So, after realizing that I had been envious of things I saw as I passed by (at my mind-blowing, sonic boom-inducing speed –not really…have you seen me?), I made a conscious effort to look at things differently. So, as I rode back to Katy, I observed lots of activity at the businesses/plants on old highway 90. I rode past a truck collecting food donations for charity. And, I saw a number of trailer homes mixed not far from the larger estates.
What I should have been doing, is counting my blessings:
- My health and ability to ride a bike (without impairments).
- My ability to ride on Saturday afternoon (instead of working like those in the plants).
- My knowledge that Whataburger awaits for me after the race (and not having to rely on the food truck).
And, most important, I should have been thanking God for the knowledge that the sun shines on, and the breeze blows by, the people in the huge house on acreage just as it does on those who live in a manufactured home with no yard.
God’s true blessings, and the ability to experience them, are for everyone.
It is funny how often I am reminded to count my blessings when I am reminding my children to count theirs. God uses my own voice to speak to me.
And, in that way, I am blessed.