Ed. Note: This piece contains some excerpts from EVERYDAY DESERVES A CHANCE by Max Lucado
Excerpts from the diary of a dog:
8:00 a.m. Oh boy, dog food—my favorite.
9:30 a.m. Oh boy, a car ride—my favorite.
9:40 a.m. Oh boy, a walk—my favorite.
10:30 a.m. Oh boy, another car ride—my favorite.
11:30 a.m. Oh boy, more dog food—my favorite.
12:00 p.m. Oh boy, the kids—my favorite.
1:00 p.m. Oh boy, the yard—my favorite.
4:00 p.m. Oh boy, the kids again—my favorite.
5:00 p.m. Oh boy, dog food again—my favorite.
5:30 p.m. Oh boy, Mom—my favorite.
6:00 p.m. Oh boy, playing ball—my favorite.
8:30 p.m. Oh boy, sleeping in my master’s bed—my favorite.
Excerpts from the diary of a cat:
Day 283 of my captivity.
My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.
They dine lavishly on fresh meat while I’m forced to eat dry cereal.
I’m sustained by the hope of escape and the mild satisfaction I derive from ruining a few pieces of furniture.
Tomorrow I may eat another houseplant.
I attempted to kill my captors this morning by weaving through their walking feet. Nearly succeeded. (I must try this strategy at the top of the stairs one of these days).
Seeking to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair. (I must try this on their bed very soon).
What another unfulfilling day. Anyways, it is only a matter of time.
The day of a dog. The day of a cat. One content, the other conniving. One at peace, the other at war. One grateful, the other grumpy. Same house. Same circumstances. Same master. Yet two entirely different attitudes.
Which diary reads more like yours?
I was late for work, again. I boarded a bus from Egbeda to “Oshodi-Under-Bridge”. From there, I would join another bus to Ketu, where I work.
Few minutes into the trip, on the express way, the big yellow bus stopped.
“Your fuel has finished?” That was the voice of the woman beside me. In a couple of minutes later, more voices were condemning the driver who was, at the time, trying all his possible best to fix the bus with the assistance of his bus conductor.
They tried and tried and tried. . .
The voices were raised and raised and raised. . .
The only peaceful person in the picture? Me!
Was I not late like most of these people? Very!
Was it my fault that the bus stopped? Of course, not!
Can I also blame the driver? Why shouldn’t I!
But I didn’t. In fact, the woman beside me, who spare-headed the ever-increasing voices of condemnation, called a guy hawking bottled drinks on the express road. She wanted to buy Lucozade boost, but the hawker didn’t have enough change, so I bought d drink for her. My calmness all along had been stunning, but that gesture was even more stunning! She was grateful . . . and silent for the rest of the episode.
After 20 minutes of condemnation despite the driver’s hard labour, he concluded that the vehicle won’t start.
Go to the driver. Appreciate his struggle. Give him a thousand naira and tell him to add that to the money he will spend in fixing the bus. Then go ahead and join another bus!
Who pays a driver for delaying him? That was the Holy Spirit. I obeyed. Again, the driver was grateful . . . and silent for the rest of the episode!
I joined another bus. In five minutes of staying in it, a jeep lost control and bashed the bus at the side. Yet, the driver of the jeep (who was obviously at fault) wanted to harass the driver of the bus I boarded and cast the blame on him. Thank God for passengers that can use their mouths. . .
Amidst very unfriendly voices here and there, I landed safely, and my calmness was hardly ruffled.
Were your private thoughts made public, how often would the phrase “Oh boy, my favorite” appear?
“Oh boy, new day—my favorite.”
“Oh boy, breakfast—my favorite.”
“Oh boy, traffic jam—my favorite.”
“Oh boy, faulty bus—my favorite.”
“Oh boy, light automobile accident—my favorite.”
Well, not even a dog would relish a car accident . . . lol But wouldn’t we like to relish more of our day? We can. How? Begin with God’s grace. As we accept his forgiveness, our day of gripes and groans becomes A DAY OF GRATITUDE.
Yes, gratitude. Gratitude is the firstborn child of grace, the appropriate response of the blessed. So appropriate, in fact, that its absence surprises Jesus.
Count your blessings. Catalog his kindnesses. Assemble your reasons for gratitude and recite them. “Always be joyful. Pray continually, and give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 ncv).
Learn a lesson from Sidney Connell. When her brand-new bicycle was stolen, she called her dad with the bad news. He expected his daughter to be upset. But Sidney wasn’t crying. She was honored. “Dad,” she boasted, “out of all the bikes they could have taken, they took mine.”
Gratitude is always an option. Matthew Henry made it his. When the famous scholar was accosted by thieves and robbed of his purse, he wrote this in his diary: “Let me be thankful first, because I was never robbed before; second, because, although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, although they took my all, it was not much; and, fourthly, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”
Make gratitude your default emotion, and you’ll find yourself giving thanks for the problems of life. Management consultant Robert Updegraff wrote:
You ought to be glad for the troubles on your job because they provide about half your income. If it were not for the things that go wrong, the difficult people with whom you deal, and the problems of your working day, someone could be found to handle your job for half of what you are being paid. So start looking for more troubles. Learn to handle them cheerfully and with good judgment, as opportunities rather than irritations, and you will find yourself getting ahead at a surprising rate. For there are plenty of big jobs waiting for people who are not afraid of troubles.
Need spice in your day? Thank God for every problem that comes down the pike. At a Women of Faith Conference years ago, the floor had 150 fewer seats than needed. The arena staff tried to solve the problem by using narrow chairs. As a result, every woman had a place to sit, but everyone was crowded. Complaints contaminated like feedlot fragrance. Mary Graham asked Joni Eareckson Tada, the speaker for the evening, if she could calm the crowd. Joni was perfectly qualified to do so. A childhood diving accident has left her wheelchair-bound. The attendants rolled her onto the platform, and Joni addressed the unhappy crowd. “I understand some of you don’t like the chair in which you are sitting. Neither do I. But I have about a thousand handicapped friends who would gladly trade places with you in an instant.”
The grumbling ceased.
Yours can too. Major in the grace of God. Measure the gifts of God. Who knows what you might record in your journal:
“Mondays, oh boy—my favorite.”
“Exam days, oh boy—my favorite.”
“Year-end-review day, oh boy—my favorite.”
Impossible, you say? How do you know? How do you know until you give every day a chance?
 Adapted from Rick Atchley, “When We All Get to Heaven” (sermon, Richland Hills Church of Christ, North Richland Hills, TX, May 25, 2005). Original source unknown.
 Archibald Naismith, 2400 Outlines, Notes, Quotes, and Anecdotes for Sermons (1967; repr., Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1991), #1063.
 Alan Loy McGinnis, The Balanced Life: Achieving Success in Work and Love (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1997), 56–57.