Robinson Crusoe-type thanks

imageI’ve been reading Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (notice the similarity in last names — that just occurred to me). The majority of the book is about Robinson’s adventures after being marooned on an uninhabited island, a sort of exile for him. However, a clear theme in the book is his release of the greed that led him to the shipwreck and his thankfulness for God’s provision in his new life on the island.

Let’s make this personal. Have you been shipwrecked? Was your life sailing in one direction and then overturned by an unexpected storm, leaving you in deep water and gasping for air? Have you experienced the loss of all you considered essential?

Maybe you are Robinson Crusoe. Let’s take a page from his story and see what he learned about thankfulness through his trial. Maybe it will help you through your own. It took him a few years on the island and a tremendous amount of work to adapt to his new life (time and work are not excluded because you are under God’s grace), but here are his conclusions (from chapter 10):

  • “I learned to look more upon the bright side of my condition and less upon the dark side”
  • I learned “to consider what I enjoyed rather than what I wanted”
  • “All our discontents about what we want appear to me to spring from the lack of thankfulness for what we have.”

Robinson found that the cure for his misery in his shipwrecked condition was thankfulness for what he had been provided in his shipwrecked condition! Perhaps your circumstances are not what you had hoped. Maybe they are much worse than you could have imagined. However, I encourage you today to find something for which you can give thanks.

At the start of his new (unwanted) life, Robinson was able to collect some essential items from the ship that had been driven near shore by the storm before it sunk completely. These simple items, such as gun powder and hatchets, radically changed his island existence. He only needed to take the time to recognize them and offer his thanks to God for his perspective to be changed.

Begin right now. Make a list of items that improve your life, however insignificant they seem, and thank God for them. Do this each morning for one week. Watch your discontent be washed away. There is always a calm sea after the storm.

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About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
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One Response to Robinson Crusoe-type thanks

  1. Pingback: Fear/love | theholyschmitz

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