What I Learned in Kenya - Gratitude


Gratitude is not about what you have or don’t have. It’s about the condition of your heart.

I really had absolutely no idea what to expect as we drove out into the middle of the savannah. Seriously—the middle of nowhere. Grass and bushes abounding and if you looked closely a few huts here and there.

We divided into five groups to do home visits. My group ended up at the home of Margaret. Margaret loves Jesus. Margaret radiates Jesus. He oozes out of her. She invited us into her home—the home she built out of mud, sticks and yes, animal waste. A home with no electricity, no water, no floor. The home she built and she is thankful for.

She invited ten strangers into her home. Her small, dark home. A home she is proud of. And she made us tea. She got a fire going, used water she walked miles to get, used precious goat milk that she stored in a suitcase, tea and sugar. She served us, ten strangers, with a smile on her face. Hospitality at its finest.

As we were getting ready to leave I thanked Margaret for inviting us into her home. I told her she had a beautiful home. To which she replied, “I give God all the glory! I am thankful for all He has blessed me with.” And she meant every single word.

It’s easy for me to thank God for all He has given me when I live in a brick home. A home that has a bathroom and a hot shower at my disposal. A home where I can control the temperature if I get too hot or too cold. Yet, I don’t. I complain that the closet door jams every single time I try to open or close it. I complain that the refrigerator is located in the worst possible place. I complain that we don’t have enough room to have people over for dinner—so we don’t. Because my house is too small. My house isn’t decorated well enough. My house isn’t this. My house isn’t that.

I was slapped in the face pretty good that day by Margaret (and Jesus). Gratitude is not about what I have or don’t have. It’s about the condition of my heart. And, honestly, the condition of my heart kind of sucks. I don’t need to change what I have —I don’t feel like God is asking me to sell all my stuff and go live in a shack. He is commanding me though, to check my heart. To understand the magnitude of all He has given me (and not just material possessions) and to be grateful—abundantly, genuinely, flat-out grateful.

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