“Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” John 13:17 NIV

“There are things, that if you know and do them, life will be richer and happier.”

My thoughts today consider “if.”

On such a small word hinges so much about your life. There are things that bring heartache and regret, if you do them. You need to learn not to do them. There are things that bring joy and satisfaction, if you do them. A wise person learns what those are, and does them. The tiny word – if – makes such big differences.

You will recognize when you see a possibility available to you and say, “If only I will . .” and be pleased with the result. And along the way you will learn from regrets, some big, some small – moments when after some experience you realize, “If only I had . .” Usually too late, you will recognize something that you could have done, or done better, that would have had better result. Don’t waste those regrets; learn from them.

Aren’t you glad that Jesus doesn’t leave you to guess how life works best? He told his disciples, “Now that you know this truth, how happy you will be if you put it into practice.” John 13:17 TEV. God wants you to know how life works best for you. He wants you to enjoy life to the fullest, finding success with satisfaction. Let me suggest a few things to you. If you do them, on the authority of God’s Word, I can assure you your life will be happier and richer.

Leave lots of room for family and friends. Don’t make the mistake of leaving the people most important to you the leftovers of your thoughts, time, and attention. I think I always knew the importance of friends. I learned that by watching my Dad with his, many of them life-long. When I was younger, I enjoyed them when they were around, but I was busy with family and career as were they. I have noticed that with each year I have grown older, I have learned to truly value and appreciate in practical ways the invaluable and irreplaceable gift of family and friends. When you are young, possessions and position seem important; later, you realize people are. Don’t wait till later. Build friendships across a lifetime. You will have more to have shared.

Learn to express thankfulness. Don’t expect others to read your mind, or merely assume that you are thankful to them or for them. Let them know. Say it, and show its genuineness by your actions. Like love, thankfulness to be authentic must be practical and observable. There are two lessons to learn: there are a few things that should not be left unsaid, and many things that probably could be. The challenge is not having what you would appreciate, but appreciating what you have. Life doesn’t keep things from you; it but busyness can tempt you to take people and blessings for granted. Thankfulness comes from counting your blessings each day. Read Psalm 68:19/103:2 NKJV.

Learn contentment. It is a matter of what you have, not what you don’t. A gardener tried everything to rid his yard of dandelions, finally writing the Department of Agriculture asking what he could do. Their advice? Try getting used to them!” Sometimes that is the best advice. Enjoy what is wonderful, and get used to what isn’t. The first will always outweigh the latter, if you take time to notice. See 1 Timothy 6:6 NIV/Hebrews 13:5 NKJV/Philippians 4:6-13 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you never have the regret of thinking, “If only I had . .”

I suggest www.davidpbrown.co.uk/poetry/rudyard-kipling.html to read Rudyard Kipling’s incredible poem, “If.”