In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
—1 Thessalonians 5:18
A trip to a school in the Kenya slums reminded me to always be grateful.
The slums in Kenya, Africa are indescribable. The stench in the slums hits your face like a rushing wind. Since there are no public sewers, people simply toss their waste outside or, as I witnessed, relieve themselves wherever they so desire. Walking through the slums was no fun. Our mission team walked through mud and filth, hopping back and forth over trenches filled with flowing waste water. Finally we arrived at the school where we would minister to hundreds of children and their adult teachers.
As they sang a song, I decided to take pictures of the children dressed in tattered clothing. That’s when I noticed the shoes. Some were too small, some too big and some were breaking fashion laws. Some had holes in the soles and some were missing fasteners. All were muddied, torn, and in poor condition. However, the children and adults were sincerely singing praises to God
I was reminded of old song that the African slaves in America would sing:
I got shoes
You got shoes
All God’s chil’ren got shoes
Slaves didn’t have decent shoes. This song was sung at a time when the children of slaves did not have shoes to wear, but walked barefoot. The slaves knew in spite of their present condition, they were blessed to have a Father who provides for them. The slaves sang the affirmation that all God’s children would have shoes and they looked forward to that time when the Lord would change their circumstances. They were singing the song in faith, claiming what they knew God could do.
The adults and children we encountered in the slums remind me of the slaves. In my natural eye, I saw what they did not have. However, through my spiritual eye I understood why they were singing. They were praising our God who is able to do exceeding, abundantly, above all we could ever ask or think.
The inward attitude of gratefulness of the slaves and the Kenyans was manifested outwardly in spite of their condition and their circumstances. What hinders you from being grateful at all time?