Three times over the past month, I have had the privilege to sit on the couch with my niece and nephew, snuggle up and watch the very entertaining cat cartoon sketches “Simon’s Cat.” Now I personally don’t find these videos that funny anymore, only because I have watched them so many times, but the little ones loved them! The last time I hung out with them I had my computer open and when they saw the illumined apple on the back, both of them climbed up and sat, one on my left, the other on my right. “Cat videos?” I said with an eager smile, and in return I received the large nod of a 3-year-old. To YouTube I went and we sat for at least 45 minutes. During that time with them I thought,“Golly… this is a rare moment; where’s my cellphone so I can snap a picture?” That picture would have then made its way to Instagram and then Twitter. I couldn’t find my cell phone since I often lose it when at family dinners so we just sat and enjoyed the cartoon cat.

As I was leaving that evening to return to campus, I felt…good. Well I always feel good after family dinner, but I felt “gooder.” Here’s why: I had valuable, God-given alone time with them and nobody else knew about it. I was grateful.

I am still grateful. Are you grateful? This isn’t another blog giving you the “8 reasons to put down your phone.” But friend, are you grateful? You already know the times we’re living in. We Instagram, Tweet, and Facebook everything (well, at least most of us do)—and so do our “friends.” This raises two issues.

ARE YOU GRATEFUL?

You may post about your child, your niece or nephew, or you and your spouse/significant other; or maybe you just got engaged and you want to let the world know (which I’ve done…sorry); or maybe you post a lot of pictures of your gadgets or your pets.

Whatever they are, keep in mind who’s watching. You know the “friends” who aren’t married or dating but want to be, or the married couple who wants children but don’t have any, or the person who doesn’t have a nice car so they lust after yours. People see and they care, even if they don’t “like,” ”favorite,” or “retweet.”

There’s nothing wrong with using social media to communicate with a wide range of people quickly and effectively, but check your heart.  Are you bragging, “Look what I have” or are you spilling your guts to the world? Ask those who you know well enough to be honest with you because they can see your posting activity a lot better than you can.

Then ask yourself “Am I grateful?” If the answer is “yes,” then cherish what you have and the moments you share. If the answer is “no,” then maybe you need to take a break from the social webs. As an act of worship to Jesus, enjoy those times and things he has blessed you with, and don’t cheat the value of those times by having a divided attention.

ARE YOU SURE YOURE GRATEFUL?

Now I’m speaking to the person who sees what others post and wish they had what they have. Stop it. You’re coveting. That’s a sin. Stop sinning and repent. Now you might not say, “I wish I had that,” but what occupies most of your thoughts? Does “it” make you happy, sad, or angry? Have you compromised something essential to get closer to “it”? What is “it”? Check your heart — Are you grateful?

There’s nothing wrong with a desire for something, but it can become sinful if the desire is too strong.  A grateful heart can rejoice in the happiness of others, even if what’s being celebrated is truly the thing the same heart desires. Don’t believe me?

This year I’ll be in four different weddings and will attend at least twice that many (I’m in that life stage where all of my friends are getting married). If you know me or have met me at a wedding, you know I’d say I was genuinely happy for the couples, which is true. I thank Jesus for the gift and blessing of a spouse. You would have never known that six months ago I was engaged to be married, and that June 21st was supposed to be my wedding date.

All around you, people are talking about how cute their child is and how nice their new house or car is, or talking about their graduation, or their significant other. I know. But are YOU grateful? Jealously, discontentment, and bitterness will grow in your heart if you’re not careful.

GRATEFUL FOR WHAT?

Friends, do you know who you are? Do you know that you are loved? Do you know that there’s a plan for your life? Do you know that you are important? If you know, love, and believe in Jesus, your relationship with God has been reestablished. The God of the universe, Maker of heaven and earth knows us, and he has given everything into our hands. Jesus. That’s what it’s all about. We should be grateful for Jesus. Because God humbled himself to be as we are, lived a perfect sinless life, died in our place for our sins and then rose from the grave for our justification.

We can be grateful that we’re no longer under the wrath of God, or slaves to sin and death. And through Jesus, we not only have salvation, but we have each other. Therefore, we can be grateful for every blessing that comes to the body of Christ.