First World Problems… I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances… for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.            I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Today I find myself running around like a chicken with my head cut off! I am working hard on communication and work for Abogar, getting an oil change, getting to the post office (Yes, they do still exist even with all our technology!), a lunch date, prepping messages for this upcoming week of camp where I will be speaking… just to mention a few of the things I am doing! As I hustle and bustle about, I am oddly struck with a realization that most of my complaints and challenges before God really truly are just first world problems.

A very slow car is in front of me, so I am a little late to my lunch date. My computer glitches for 30 seconds when I start it (every time) and I have to be patient. My iPhone battery dies so quickly every day, and I have to find an outlet to plug it in and recharge it. The oil change costs $15 more than I had planned in my mind/budget to pay. These ‘problems’ or ‘challenges’ all are an indicator that I live rather affluently in comparison to the majority of the world, and yet I find myself with the human prideful tendency of complaining and murmuring before God.

God gently taps me on the shoulder, and says, “Jesse, instead of complaining, praise me for allowing you the privilege of ‘suffering’ first world problems.” He brings to my mind the memories of a multitude of children throughout Latin America (not to mention the entire world) who have no families, live in the streets, scrounge for food and old used clothing and possessions to make it to the next day. He reminds me of the three Guatemalan boys (Gregorio, Martin, and Juan Carlos) who daily work long hard hours shoe-shining in the city of Antigua… no time to be children and play, no way to get a good education, no presence of parents or family supporting and helping them. My first world problems really pale in comparison to the pain, problems, and challenges faced by most people in the world today.

Rejoice always! Today I rejoice that my life is made for and meant for a higher purpose and higher calling than what I could ever set out for on my own. Pray continually. Today I pray for the children of the world that are so abused, neglected, despised, and unvalued. I pray for humility and genuine care and concern for others. I am giving thanks in all circumstances, as I know the favor and blessing of God on my life, even amidst my little challenges and problems… my first world problems!

How about you today? How are you doing? Are you rejoicing? Life may have thrown you a curveball or personal battle, but remember… you have life! Hold on to it and rejoice in that gift God has given, no matter how hard or bad circumstances may be. Are you praying? God wants to hear you and be heard by you. Give Him time each day, hour, minute of your life. Develop a habit, discipline, and practice of prayerful living. Are you thankful? While its easy for us to see the hard, bad, and challenging things in life, God’s heart and desire is that we would develop a practice and lifestyle of gratitude… not determined by our life circumstances and situations, but rather by the truth of who He is and the greatness of what this life is meant to be! Our first world problems are realities to us, but may the rejoicing, praising, and thanking God take precedence over them always. Help us Lord Jesus!

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