1st World Problems

India Train
Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters

The ice maker has not been working at my house for quite a while now.  First, the ice dispenser broke, so the ice no longer fell conveniently into my glass.  What a hassle! I had to OPEN the freezer door and grab ice with my hand!  Well, horrors of horrors; what followed next was the ice maker died a slow death.

No more ice dispensing and… no ice making! What are we going to do??  Well, the Merwin’s have been inconvenienced all the way to the extent of having to fill up ice trays with water and then having to empty them in a bowl. What a difficult life we live!

Flat tires, broken garage door openers, leaky faucets, a dishwasher that doesn’t clean the dishes perfectly, computer issues, the washing machine quit running, the car battery dies, the lawn mower is on its last leg.  It’s everywhere…. things break!

And when they do…. get ready…. complaining and whining soon follow!

But, this post is not about things breaking, it’s about how you and I respond to things breaking. The Apostle Paul is wrapping up his thoughts to the Thessalonians when he dropped a bomb on them. Sadly, this type of bomb is usually missed, is often ignored, or is easily disregarded. Paul can’t mean what I think he means…. can he? Let’s read I Thessalonians 5:18.  He says….

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

(1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV)

Give thanks….. in all circumstances?!?

How simple is this text….?   How difficult is this text?!?

Last week I posted about things we say. While this post stands on its own,  none the less, it shares some common elements found in that post. If you haven’t read it, you can read it here:   !#&@?#%!

Non thankfulness comes easy for me. I guess you could say it is natural, it is what I do best. When any of the above things happen, I default to complaining. It doesn’t take much for me to complain…  inconveniences small or large, complaining flows like that leaky faucet.

No ice falling out of the freezer door can draw an enormous amount of complaints from me. Air conditioning failure during a Florida summer…. you don’t want to know! Have you been there? Of course you have! It is at these times that my wife and I like to remind each other that we only experience 1st World Problems!

Yes, the car battery suddenly went dead for us a month ago. NO! I don’t have time for this! We hopped in the car and dead, nothing, not even a click. What an inconvenience! Since, we were in a hurry, we had to hop in the other car sitting in our driveway and drive it to Orlando. Then we had to deal with car #1 later that evening! I could be heard muttering: “Why don’t things work like they’re supposed to? Why is everything around me breaking?”

Friends, ice makers, dead batteries, air conditioners, and leaky faucets are all 1st world problems. Last year, I traveled to India to teach at a school designed for training future pastors. Those students had no car, (much less two cars!) they have never seen an ice maker, the school had no ac, and they have never known the experience of a broken lawn mower (that won’t mow their manicured, fertilized, sprinkled lawn!).  They know nothing of losing money in their 401k! Safe to say, their concerns are quite a bit different than ours. While in India, among the many sights, we saw people scavenging for food at the city dump. We went to a home (which is not a home by our standards) and the homeowner had been given a washing machine. We attempted to show him how to run it, but when my friend Aron tried to plug it in, there was not an appropriate electrical outlet in the house to do so. We saw people crammed on the trains, and a family of five riding on a motorcycle together. It leaves you thinking, “Have I ever once had a legitimate reason to complain and to not be thankful?”

So, the next time you and I are tempted to complain, remind yourself that your broken ice maker is a 1st World Problem. God, help me to be thankful in all circumstances!



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4 thoughts on “1st World Problems”

  1. All too true! However last week I was thankful for the progress I witnessed in how I responded to a horrible news situation. Allison texted Terry and I that Deanna had been t-boned on Garden street in her new to her (1 week) 2005 Honda CRV . My thoughts about the once pristine find vanished as I praised God for Deanna’s safety! And for the welfare of the elderly woman who T-boned her. Praise God he does’nt leave us at the starting line to fend for ourselves and is constantly at work to make us more and more like Christ. No matter what horrific situation, trial, storms, disappointments , times of praise he walks every step of the way with us, never leaving nor forsaking us! praise God he is a loving Father that desires to fellowship with daily wether we are up or down He said he will never leave us nor forsake us, even when we act like the unwanted red headed step child! I praise God as Alan Jackson sings…” Iam a work in progress!” Ed

  2. Isn’t “deserve” the most dangerous word?
    How often we think “I don’t deserve this …dead ice maker / battery…etc.!” Or “I deserve better than this!” But in reality what we do deserve is torture & death.
    Only in Christ, what we deserve is received by Christ and what He deserves for living perfectly obedient and sinless is placed on us! Us, the undeserving!

    This post encouraged my heart to recall that breathing, seeing, tasting are generous gifts that I usually take for granted.
    Really I could never run out of *sometimes broken* things to be thankful for.

    1. So true. When I don’t get what I THINK I deserve…. complaining soon follows. But, when I realize I am NOT getting what I do deserve…. gratitude and worship soon follows. Thanks for commenting Austin

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