I like to fix things. I like to solve problems. I don’t know if it is because of my gender (male), my heritage (German/Swedish), my education (engineering) or something else, but I spend a lot of time thinking about issues. How can I fix the problems I face at work, at home, with my kids, with my spouse? And I have been rewarded for my ability to solve problems. I have discovered that the world needs problem solvers!
But I have also discovered there can be an occupational hazard for problem solvers like me (and you?) – I spend most of my waking time thinking about problems and possible solutions. The more I think about problems, the more I see problems. Over time, if I am not careful, my vision starts to become dominated by problems. Year after year, the problems seem to multiply and get bigger. By the time I reached middle age, my life seemed overwhelmed with problems. With so many problems, the future looked bleak.
In contrast, throughout the Bible, we are asked to “give thanks”. Jesus, who faced his share of problems, taught his disciples to solve problems AND have grateful hearts. When confronted with hungry people, Jesus “took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people” (Matthew 15:36). He asked them to give thanks to the Father, regardless of circumstances. He asks us to have faith and to love God, ourselves and our neighbors.
Our minds are powerful things and they can create our kingdom here on earth. If our minds are focused solely on problems, it can be difficult to be a follower of Jesus. If we turn our hearts to praise and thanks, the world seems to change. Every day, there are hundreds of opportunities to praise God for what we have been given. Allowing our minds to be filled with gratitude is one of the first steps to following Jesus. – Bill Ernstrom, Director of Operations