Monday, August 3, 2009

Work and Gratitude

Have you ever noticed that when you have worked hard for something, saving your money and making the necessary sacrifices, that you tend to treasure it more?

Case in point: I drive a 1997 Lumina with almost 142,000 miles on it. It was paid for about five years ago. I like my car. It's hardly unique (Chevrolet made a bazillion of them and most are the same color as mine) and it doesn't turn heads—but it's mine. I like it. I change the oil; I don't race it; I don't let my children eat in it. For its age, it's in good shape...because I (and its previous owner) valued it and took care of it.

And although I was not reckless with my parents' cars during my school days—respect and fear banded together to prevent that—I did not "value" or "cherish" them in the same way that I do my own vehicle.

This analogy is certainly applied to education; parents who pay for their children to go to a private school or who make the efforts to homeschool them tend to put a greater value on that education, and to instill such value in the children. Public school education...not quite so much, on average.

Similarly, on those rare times when I see a doctor, I tend to "value" his advice and pump him for more. Why? Because I am usually shelling out my money for it...and I want my money's worth.

So what will happen if we have government-run health care provided to us? Will I be as inclined to care for my body, knowing that my doctor bills are paid for? Or will I go to the doctor all the more often at every sniffle, scratch, ache, and pain...clogging up the inevitable line at his office?

But for the purposes of this post, another question: Will I be as grateful for what I receive? Will I value it? Or will I become ungrateful and arrogant, feeling that it's deserved by me because...I'm me?

To work hard for something, and to grateful when it's received, ought to be hallmarks of any good citizen and any good Christian.

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