By Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj
There is a story of God sending two angels to earth to listen to the prayers of humanity. One angel was asked to collect the prayers asking God for something. The other angel was asked to collect the prayers of thanksgiving and gratitude.
The two angels were given large baskets to collect and descended to earth to begin their task. The angel collecting prayers asking God for something became extremely busy. Many people prayed to God to help them earn more money, some prayed for improved health of their children, spouse, parents or relatives. The angel also collected prayers for the latest computer, exquisite jewelry, expensive clothing and new toys. In the meantime, the other angel traveled far and wide looking to fill the basket with prayers of thankfulness. Days passed, but no prayers of gratitude were heard. The angel collecting prayers of request had a loaded truck. But, the angel collecting prayers of thankfulness had only a few.
When God was presented with their findings, God sighed. “This is nothing new” said God. “You now have a taste of what it is like being God. People are always praying for something from Me, which is all right because at least they are thinking of Me. But few ever thank Me.”
When God checked the email, there were millions of email messages of complaints and requests. The mailbox was bombarded with endless complaints and prayers from billions of people requesting things all at the same time.
There were few who thanked God for the good they received.
This story illustrates the human condition. People request others to do something for them, but how many people take an equal amount of time to thank them? Similarly, we pray to God for the things we want. How many of us take the time to thank God?
We focus more on what God has not given than what God has given us. If we were to fill out a thank you note to God for all the good we received, we would discover that we have received much. Let us count many things for which we owe our gratitude to God.
First, we are extremely fortunate that our soul was born into a human body. We are fortunate that we have been born into the only species who can know ourselves and know God.
We may feel that God only exists when everything goes our way, and believe that there is only God if we get whatever we want.
We may have had a job for 25 years, but the one time we are laid off we say there is no God. We may have had a loving family for years but when one member passes away we blame God. We may have been healthy for many years but the one major illness we have, we say, “What is happening to me? There must not be any God.”
Few are grateful to God for the good they receive so that when something goes wrong they tell God, “It’s okay God, I still love You, and I know you are there. What happened to me must have been something that was best for me, under Your will.”
How many people take such a grateful attitude to God?
Let us thank God for each day that we are able to do our work, enjoy our family and friends, for our health and be grateful our ailments are not worse. We should be grateful for all the gifts we receive, not only physical, intellectual and emotional but also for the spiritual gifts of God. We can reflect on how we can show our gratitude by developing noble qualities and resolve to improve ourselves to become better human beings. We can also spend time connecting with the Divine within through prayer and meditation, and in performing selfless service to others. In this way, we can express our gratitude to God, not only in words but also through our deeds.