I read an article in the Saturday Star newspaper that deeply moved me.
The title of the article was The world’s most failed states. For eight years, a non profit research and educational organization has annually ranked the world’s 178 countries by their risk of failing as a country. “The measure takes into account twelve factors, such as human rights violations, poverty, uneven economic development and mounting demographic pressures.”
They showed a map of the world with the dark red signifying ALERT, the lighter red colors are WARNING, the gold is STABLE and green is SUSTAINABLE. I apologize for the poor picture but I think you can see where I’m going with this.
Look at Canada – green as green can be. We are ranked ninth best, with Finland being the top-ranked country in the world and the biggest difference between Canada and Finland was a much weaker score for uneven economic development. I’m not sure what “uneven economic development” actually means but I do know this for sure – we are super rich in this part of the world. We have so much…yet North Americans complain about everything.
Chris and I call each other on our occasional “first world problem”complaining. Our son introduced to the term a few months ago and it really stuck with us. There are humorous websites that mock the comments that people mindlessly say, (ie, “My nanny and my gardener don’t get along very well. What should I do?” or “It took three days for my package to arrive from Amazon.com using two day shipping.” or “I have three kids but only two iPads.”) but in reality, it is pathetic. According to this map, most of this world is in a state of ALERT or WARNING and Chris and I catch each other grumbling that our tankless water heater inconveniently turns off after two minutes.
We are like spoiled children – with endless opportunities and toys before us, yet complaining that we’re bored. A good parent would respond to such a discontent child with a much needed prayer, acknowledgement of a generous God and a down to earth challenge to “Change your attitude or have a Time Out.”
For so many North Americans, a lot just isn’t enough. We want instant, we want fair, we want more. That’s what we deserve, right? Wrong. I was once reminded by a Christian speaker that “what each of us deserves is hell” and it shames me to think that at times, Chris and I can get sucked into this abyss of sinful entitlement. We have nothing to complain about and everything to be thankful for. There are times that we too, need a Time Out…an attitude adjustment…a good look at our heart’s desires.
This map is going on the refrigerator so that I look at it while I reach for all kinds of food from within this functioning appliance in our beautiful home on the lake.
I need a tangible reminder that entitlement is ugly.
Murmuring is no better than mutiny in the heart; it is a rising up against God. When the sea is rough and unquiet, it casts forth nothing but foam. When the heart is discontented, it casts forth the foam of anger, impatience, and sometimes little better than blasphemy. Murmuring is nothing else but scum which boils off from a discontented heart. Thomas Watson