A Thanksgiving Thought: I’m alot Like Marley…

I’m a lot like Marley.  That’s Jacob Marley, not Bob Marley; Bob Marley was admittedly a bit creepy, but he’s not nearly as creepy as Jacob Marley!   In case you forget who Jacob Marley was, he was Ebenezer Scrooge’s business partner in life, and he was Scrooge’s spectral visitor in death.  He appeared to Scrooge to warn him that he would be visited by three spirits on Christmas Eve, each of which showed Scrooge the error of his way and the experience resulted in Scrooge’s “conversion” by the end of the Dickens’ classic story.

Scrooge is interesting, but Marley is more so for me.  Although he appears briefly at the beginning of the story, his conversation with Scrooge is by far one of the most powerful exchanges in literature.  When Marley appears, he is seen by Scrooge shackled by chains, and Scrooge asks him why he is bound:

I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost.  I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you?

Marley was a man who literally worked himself to death in life; his business was his whole life; he was oblivious to any other aspect of life.  Things like friends, family and religion meant nothing to old Marley.  That sinful, self-centered attitude became a chain that would fetter Marley through all eternity; he forged that chain during a lifetime of lost living.

Of course, A Christmas Carol is just a work of fiction; it never really happened.  But the spirit of old Marley lives on in people like you and me.  This Thanksgiving season, many people will go to church and express their thankfulness for their children, their spouses, and all the good things they have in life.  And yet, the things we are most thankful for are the things we neglect the most and take for granted too often.  We ignore our spouses so we can indulge ourselves with our hobbies or careers.  Our children are often burdens who are easier to buy gifts for than spend real time with.  And God, if we think of Him at all during the week, is relegated to an “as needed” position in our lives.   For some of us, our spiritual chains are already longer and heavier than Marley’s.

But as Scrooge learned, it’s never too late to change.  This Thanksgiving, let’s all make a point of taking a “spiritual inventory” of our lives.  Chances are our priorities are all out of whack.  Let’s all start thinking about what we can do for the “other person” first, instead of what they should be doing for us.  Let’s put our spouses back on the pedestal where they once sat and give them the love and honor they deserve.  And most of all, let’s thank the One from whom all the good things in our lives came from.  God deserves our attention more than anybody else does!

(c)  2009 WitzEnd
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