Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Matthew 6:26-34

This week as staff, we have looked at the topic of ‘appreciation’. Current research is telling us time and time again, that happy people are people who often stop to specifically appreciate what is good and pleasant in their lives and to give thanks for these things.

I read these articles and often think “that is fine for those people who aren’t as busy as I am or don’t have the responsibilities that I do. After all, I’ve got a College to run, a wife to love and support, two sausage dogs to put food on the table for and many other things I’m bound to do. When have I got time to stop and be grateful?”

Our modern world traps us into a lifestyle that does not support our personal and communal wellbeing. In Genesis we are told that after God worked for six days creating the world, he rested. The Bible also records many instances of Jesus pulling away from the crowds and his followers to spend time resting, praying and sleeping.

This week our Year 12 students commenced exams and I’m sure they are feeling stressed. I suspect they have little time or focus for stopping and appreciating what is around them.

I am a worrier by nature and the passage above reminds me that it is important not to get caught up in my own worries and concerns. God has things in hand. Tomorrow will come regardless of what happens today. And as we are reminded, worrying will not add a single hour to our lives. In fact, I suspect worry actually takes hours off of our lives.

At this time of year as we race towards Christmas, I pray that we all may have time to stop and appreciate what is around us. Let us remember that many responsibilities and duties come from life giving activities.

While I am responsible for running of a College, I have the privilege of guiding the education of young people. While I have the work that comes from being in a healthy marriage, I have the joy of a wonderful wife to spend my days with. While I have to feed, bathe and pick up after my sausage dogs, they remind me of the joy of life.

May we all find just a few moments to appreciate and give thanks for what is good around us.

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