Victoria Osteen - Appreciating Every Area Of Our Life
I just want to talk to us today about appreciating every area of our life. You know, when we appreciate something, we bring awareness to it. We bring value to it. And we are less likely to take it for granted. In Deuteronomy 10 through 12, God was taking the children of Israel to a city they had not built. He said, "I'm giving you homes filled with great treasure". He said, "I'm giving you vineyards you didn't plow, but I'm giving them to you so that you can work them. I'm giving you homes with great treasure in them so that you can live in them", and he went on and on to tell all the wonderful gifts that he was giving them.
But then he warned them. He said, "I have to warn you, I'm giving you all of these things, but don't take them for granted". He said, "Don't take them for granted, and don't forget who gave them to you. Don't take them for granted and not honor me". See, the same thing is happening today. God has given us things, a great country to live in. He's given us homes. He's given us family, friends, jobs, and he is saying, "Don't forget who gave it to you, and honor me in it". You see, I believe, when we appreciate God, when we appreciate the things that God has given us, we're honoring him. You see, appreciation is a language, and it honors God.
How many of us have seen videos or visited impoverished countries and realized how blessed we really are? We have running water. We have great grocery stores, restaurants. Whatever we need, it's basically at our fingertips: and we see these impoverished countries and people, and our heart goes out to them, and we feel so compassionate, and we feel so blessed, right? Then, we get to our jobs. We get to our homes. We face life, challenges, decisions. Things go wrong, and we forget about those things. We forget how grateful we should be. We get comfortable, uninterested.
We take things for granted. It's easy to do, and we all do it. But can I tell you that we've got to learn the language of appreciation? Have you ever heard yourself say, "I have to go to work. Oh, I have to go pick up my kids. I have to make dinner. Ugh, I have to clean up after my husband". See, the language of appreciation says this. It says, "I get to go to work because I have a job. I'm so blessed to have my children. I'm going to go pick them up now. I have a house. I get to clean it". See, that's the language of appreciation.
I was talking to a man the other day, and he was telling me, he actually showed me a list of jobs that he had had ever since he was a teenager, and he began at 13 years old. He was a paper boy. He went on to 15, and he started mowing lawns: 17, he was shoveling snow. Then he went on to be a plumber. Then he went on to be a pipe fitter. Then he went on to be a contractor. Then he went on to, and he was going on and on. I thought, "Dear Lord, how many jobs has this man had"? But the purpose of showing me this list was this. He said, "I went back through my life, and I looked at every job that I've ever had". And he said, "I thought about it". And he said, "What did that job show me? What did that job give me"?
And he assigned a word to each one of those jobs, words like "Commitment", "Perseverance", "Integrity", "Responsibility". He said, "Victoria, you know, some of those jobs, at the time, I couldn't see how they even made sense". He said, "They were difficult. They were hard". He says, "But, when I made this list", he said, "What it did is it showed me how grateful I could be for each and every one of these jobs and how it developed my character and my resolve for the next job". You know what he was doing? He was adding value to his life. He was mining the gold.
See, sometimes we get stuck in those places, and we make excuses why we didn't get to the next place, saying, "We had to do this. Our parents didn't bring us up right. Well, if I'd have had an opportunity to go to college. Well, if I didn't have to work this job". You see, this man told me, "I read this list often", he said, "Because it helps me be very aware and conscious of where I am right now and the blessings in my life". See, this man is a top executive, now, at a million-dollar company. He said, "I read it often. I never want to take this for granted".
You see, we should all dig the gold out of our life. Yeah, we're going to face challenges. We're going to face challenges. Things aren't always going to be easy: but, when we begin to look for the lessons, when we begin to look for what can build in us, you know, that's when we're going to find the value. That's when we're going to find the purpose. You see, when you're appreciative and you look for the value in something, what you're doing is you're adding to your life. Sometimes we run around thinking there's a missing link. "If I could only find that thing". And, when you have an attitude like that, you are lacking: and when you're lacking, it's hard to find purpose.
That's why, wherever you are today, no matter how difficult it is, ask God to show you, "Where's the value in this, God? How can I appreciate this because it's something you've given me"? You see, the happy people are the people that can be appreciative of what they have right now on the way to where they're going. Have you ever heard that song, "You don't know what you got till it's gone"? I think it's a country western song. It sounds like it. You know, it's unfortunate that some people have to lose something before they recognize the value in it. You see, we shouldn't have to lose something to begin to appreciate it.
I was talking to a man the other day, and he was telling me how he had struggled with this long battle of cancer, and his recovery had been very difficult. He said, "But let me tell you, Victoria, I see the world in a completely different way. How I viewed my life before cancer is totally different than how I view my life now". He said, "The important things to me are my friends and my family". He said this, and I thought it was so good. He said, "You know, when you've had cancer", he said, "You realize that a bucket list is overrated". He said, "Experiencing and appreciating what you have every day is what's important".
You see, we don't want to have to almost lose something to appreciate what we have. We cannot get so comfortable and so accustomed to the blessings in our life. Someone gave me a sculpture, and I liked it. It was really pretty. I put it up in my home. And that sculpture was right where I wanted to put my Christmas tree, so I took the sculpture down, and I stored it in a back closet in my home. I put all my Christmas decorations up. Okay, don't judge me, but I put my Christmas decorations up a week before thanksgiving, but I take them down right after Christmas. I was digging in a closet just not long ago, and I noticed a sheet in the back of that closet, and I thought, "What is that"? And I pulled off the sheet, and it was that statue.
Now, that statue had been in there about two years. And I thought, "Oh, my gosh. I forgot all about this statue". You know, sometimes you get so much stuff, maybe some pretty things. You forget about what you have. So, I kind of just forgot all about the statue, so, I tossed the sheet back over it, because I was in a hurry, and I left. Well, a few days later, I was with some friends of mine, and we were on a project, and we were staging a table. And so, we had the table looking really good, and somebody said, "You know, we need something special on this table. We need something to set this table off". And so, we were looking for all these things. "What can we just top this table off with"?
And, in my mind, I thought about that statue in my closet with the sheet on it. I thought, "Hm, that might just look good". So, I had someone bring it where I was. And so, we put the statue on it, and all the girls were like, "Whoa. That is beautiful. That is the most perfect thing ever. That is so gorgeous". And I stood back, and I thought, "That is pretty, isn't it"? It's amazing how I valued the beauty in that statue because everyone else did. So, on my way home, I was thinking to myself, "I've got to find something like that because I want my statue back".
So, I got home, and I got on the internet, and I started looking, looking. "What can I get that's like that? What can I get that's like that"? And, to my surprise, I realized that that statue was a limited edition. The artist only made a few, and you couldn't get it anymore. And then I found a gallery that was looking for that specific statue. They wanted to buy it. I was like, "Oh, my gosh. This is something so valuable. I want my statue back. I want my statue back". That's all I could think about was getting my statue back. You see, sometimes we don't appreciate things until someone else sees the value in them.
You see, what you're taking for granted today, someone else may be praying for. Some things can't be replaced. They're one of a kind. Your mother, your father, your children, your spouse. Don't neglect it. Don't get so used to it that you forget the precious gift that it really is. You see, I believe the happiest people are the people who appreciate what they have right now and place value on it because, when you place value on it, it places value on you and your life. Listen. God's taking us to great places, but he never wants us to take for granted everything that he's given us right now. Amen?