Going to the Shanty Towns Changed Me

poverty-shantytownOne of the things I vividly remember from my childhood is being in church and singing: “Count your blessings, name them one by one”. As I got older I stopped singing that song, and began singing one that had the same tune but was actually very different: “Count your problems, name them one by one”. I can tell you that there was never any lack of things to count: the car not starting, losing my bank cards, and the central heating breaking down to name just a few.

I think it was going to the shanty towns in Africa that changed me. I met people with no running water, no proper sewage system and little food; people who would have given anything to live in a house with a heating system that broke down once in a while.

The truth is that it’s easy to take things – and people – for granted. And sometimes it’s a little more than that. We develop a habit of seeing only the negatives and that robs us of gratitude.

God doesn’t like us to be ungrateful – it mattered to Jesus that only one leper came back to say thank you. So this morning, as I thought about something that had happened yesterday, at first it was the single negative incident that I remembered. But then I began to recall blessing after blessing…and my mindset changed.

I was singing the old song again.

“Give thanks in all circumstances: for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

by Rob Parsons – Chairman and Founder of Care for the Family