Mark Kelly

Stories of faith and life

Mattress

About a year ago now, my wife and I decided to spend a not inconsiderable amount of money on a new mattress. It’s not that there was anything majorly wrong with our old mattress, we can’t have had it for more than 3 years. I’m sure that for some people they would have happily carried on using it for a few more still. Looking online I’m informed that a mattress can live a wonderful life for about 8 to 10 years before it has to go to the big bed showroom in the sky!

For us, however, this mattress had never quite felt right since the time we’d purchased it along with a new bed frame. Sure, we could fall asleep on it without much issue, but we always had this little feeling that if we’d chosen differently, our sleep would be much deeper, less tossing and turning. Generally, we’d feel better in the morning.

Despite all I’ve just written, being a Yorkshireman with some stereotypical attributes, I was determined that whatever issues we faced with that old mattress, we were going to use it until we’d squeezed every last spring out of it. I don’t recall how much we originally paid for it, it wasn’t cheap, it wasn’t overly expensive either. But the money had been spent, so we were going to accept our sleepy fate. Except … when I got caught up with the new wave of mattress makers, promising us sleep like we’d never slept before!

I’m not quite sure where I began to see the adverts for mattresses. It was probably on social media, and if you ever click those ad-links, all of a sudden, the internet presumes you love those slabs of sleepy heaven and will keep showing you more and more. The difference with these new breeds of mattress makers is that they are very good at showing you the technical trickery behind their wares. If you know me at all, you’ll know that I love tech, and I’m easily persuaded to try the next big thing if it’s got all the fancy bells and whistles.

So these mattress vendors didn’t just show me how strangers were enjoying their sleep, they showed me why. With all the layers and the sorcerer’s foam, I was pretty quickly sold into the idea of taking our naps to the next level.

So I did it, one day I just went for it, and I clicked buy on the most expensive mattress we’ve ever purchased. It helped that it had a sale on – a Yorkshireman remember? You might be wondering which one did I buy? Well, I don’t want to give away too much free advertising, but suffice to say it was one of those with the girl’s names.

One year one from that click, what do I think? I think it’s one of the best things I have ever bought. The company I purchased it from gives customers 100 nights to try it out and return it free of charge, no quibble, if it’s not for them. Those 100 nights went sailing by, in about 4 months of blissful sleep.

Buying quality evidently does pay. But so does investing in something that will help with your quality of life. All the somnologists agree that consecutive good nights sleep reduces stress, maintains good mental health and emotional well being. It even helps the immune system stay in good order. The list goes on, check it out for yourself. (Oh, and somnologists are sleep doctors, yeah, I had to look that up.)

All this got me thinking, what else is good for us that we don’t pay enough attention to, or make time to work through?

I’ll give you just one that came to mind, probably because I’m writing about mattresses and sleep, and it’s this: Finding somewhere to inhabit, even it’s just for a few minutes, ideally a few hours, where we can find silence and peace.

This might mean disconnecting yourself from your smartphone for a short while, or, if you’re able, going for a long walk, somewhere away from busy roads. For parents, and being one I’m speaking from experience, this might seem tricky. But give it your best shot, take that long bath, disappear to your room (and lay on that new mattress that’s named after the lead character of The Lion King), even for a few precious minutes. It’s crucial you do. Just like we might take our sleep state for granted, we can take peace for granted. We assume we’ll have it just as soon as we deal with this or that, only to find it never comes because we never take the time to manufacture it.

The Christian Bible has many verses that encourage us to slow down, take a deep breath, and open ourselves up to God, and as we do, we are rewarded with peace. We can take that peace into our interactions and amazingly find that it multiplies. Jesus Himself declared, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” We are to make peace as we fulfil the desires of Jesus, not try and keep the peace at all costs.

Where might you find moments of peace? How might you make this peace? What other areas are you aware need changing, but you just keep kicking the can down the road? You’re simply hoping it’ll get better, rather than taking some affirmative action and doing what you can make the difference?

Take some time to consider what might need to change, it won’t be time wasted, I promise. And maybe you could consider this challenge as you close your eyes on that nice new memory pillow to go with that lovely new mattress … oh, I bought a couple of those too!

Pedestrian Crossing

Anyone find it hard to follow the rules?

Pablo Picasso once said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

It seems to me like they’d be anarchy and no civilisation to speak of if we all didn’t agree to follow at least some rules. And if all we did was decide to break them when we didn’t like them, then we wouldn’t really bother to try and enforce them, cue anarchy once again.

I think that most of us can agree that it’s good to live in a society where the majority of us decide to follow the rules. Except we all see rule-breaking happening every day. It’s just we get used to it and deem it to be rule-breaking of such a low order, that it becomes insignificant and pointless to point out. In fact, we’re all probably tempted to break the rules many times a day. For example: When you’re stood at a pedestrian crossing, and you’re waiting for the green man to show up. You glance left and right, there are no cars coming from either direction so you decide to risk it while the red man is on display. Believe it or not, it’s not actually illegal to cross when you feel like it. Still, we’ve all decided to follow the rule of the green man as this is generally good for our health. But a lot of us break this rule or see it being broken regularly – and I hold my hand up here in confession!

While we’re talking about roads, there are many other rules that we see broken seemingly without a care in the world: Cyclists running red lights (and sometimes nearly knocking over that person who’s following the green man rule). Cars moving lanes without indicating (another not strictly illegal rule, but following this rule might prevent accidents). And the old chestnut, vehicles hogging the middle lane on a motorway – which is illegal and folks have been stopped and fined since this law was introduced!

I’m sure many, many other rules are broken regularly without anyone really doing anything about it. The question is, should we be bothered about it? If these things are not really harming anyone then can we just continue to live as is? Do we find these indiscretions as a little annoying, but not things that urgently need addressing? At what point does minor rule-breaking begin to turn into something more serious that needs attention?

I think that we should go careful when considering which rules are worthy of our obedience. What example do we set to others, particularly if we have little children, when we say, or show, it’s okay to break this rule, but not that? I’m not suggesting we can never have a little fun, but I don’t think this is the same as breaking the rules that have been set down to make us safer or to help our society run smoother.

The best we can do in all situations is to follow the excellent example of Jesus Christ. And yes, I’m even suggesting we ask the question of “What would Jesus do?”, despite the fact this may now seem a little clichéd to many.

The Bible challenges us to maintain a good and honourable standard through many verses written and through the words of Jesus. In the Book of Matthew, the writer encourages us to “Let our light shine brightly before others, so that the commendable things you do will shine as light upon them, and then they will give their praise to your Father in heaven.” In another verse from the Book of Proverbs, it says, ‘Dedicate your children to God and point them in the way that they should go, and the values they’ve learned from you will be with them for life.” (Emphasis is mine.)

Being a dad of three, I particularly like that second example as well as being incredibly challenged by it!

I’d like to encourage us all to think about what we are doing in any potentially rule-breaking situations we find ourselves in. Are we setting a good example to others by being obedient in the little things, and through our actions showing what we truly value and what we hold dear? What kind of culture do you want to live in? What kind of culture do you want to help create?

When you’re facing that red man, and no traffic is coming your way, why not take a moment to pause and to think about the questions I’ve just posed rather than simply walking across the road.

Tools

Have you ever tried changing the fuse in a plug by first trying to unscrew the central screw with a knife? I’m not talking a steak or bread knife, just a dull kitchen drawer knife.

I bet most of us have. I’ve tried unscrewing any number of things using the tip of a knife. I have only ever really found it to work best trying to change plug fuses.

I bet you’re asking, “Mark, why don’t you just use a screwdriver?” And that, my friends, is an excellent question. And the answer, to a degree, is laziness. My toolbox is generally stored in our utility room, and over a very short amount of time, it gets stuff stored on top of it. It becomes a pain to dig out and, well, the knife drawer is easier to reach!

On the occasion where I’ve needed to do a bit more DIY, I’ve have taken the time to dig out the toolbox, and boom, I’m ready! Using my electric screwdriver (of course I’ve got one of those), which is quite powerful. I proceed to unscrew something that’s been holding up whatever it’s been holding for years. In cases like this, you need to push a little harder to get it turning. However, in this instance, I use the wrong screw bit, it’s a little bigger than it needs to be for the screw. The screw’s old, and before I know it, I’ve somehow managed to wear away the pattern in the screw head, and my screwdriver is just turning, and turning … and turning.

In both of these cases, it’s plain to see, I’ve used the wrong tool for the job and made it somewhat harder for myself. The screw that’s worn away, in particular, has gone from a 15-second job to one that needs a drill, a drill bit, and smaller screw to go into the bigger screw … you get the idea! I should have just worked things out properly in the first place.

I reckon I’m not the only one to try and use a tool for a job for which it is highly inadequate. And when the father-in-law shows up with his massive tool bag of all sorts that’s been curated over decades and helps you finish the job in minutes, you can feel a little silly. (I’m not even joking about my father-in-law. He’s got an impressive collection of tools and pieces of equipment that would blow your DIY mind!)

In our lives, some things would be a lot easier if we simply found the correct tool for the job in hand. I’m not really talking about tools anymore.

How often have you taken the wrong idea or lousy attitude into a meeting at work, a position that really doesn’t help forward the discussion or bring resolution to a decision? Maybe you need to use the tool of understanding.

If you have to prepare for an exam or an assessment, have you used the tool of discipline to help you get to revise and organise yourself?

Where is the tool of peaceful thinking and patience when dealing with badly behaved children? Children who’ve had a tough day at school and they’re lashing out to those who they’re pretty sure won’t lash back, because you’re their safe place to vent.

Sometimes life feels like a battle, and we need some wisdom to help us get adequately equipped to deal with whatever skirmish we’re experiencing. The Bible helps us deal with this by encouraging us to wear a belt of truth – a tool belt, if you like, from which other tools hang – like patience, wisdom, and self-control. It mentions wearing holiness as armour that can protect our heart, in other words, how we think and the attitude we take in dealing with others. This helps keep us in a good place, one of love and acceptance. When we’re alert to how we’re responding in any less-than-ideal scenario, we can bring peace to that environment, by using the tools of understanding and kindness.

In the practicalities of life, as in real DIY, let me encourage you to use the correct tool for the job and save yourself some time and a lot of hassle. But also bring those tools I’ve just mentioned to your attitude and response to people and circumstances.

Where in your life can you identify where you’ve been trying to change that metaphorical plug with a drawer knife? Or where you’ve worn away the imaginary screw head and made things so much harder than they needed to be?

There’s always time to put the wrong tool down and pick the right one up. It’s never too late.

Decisions can be really hard. And the odd thing about decision making is that sometimes the longer it takes to make a decision, the harder it can actually be to make the decision!

It’s true.

Try sitting down in front of Netflix, or Amazon Video or the other gazillion streaming services that have come online in recent years, and choosing what you might watch. You think you have a good idea when you open up the service what you might be looking forward to watching, but the longer you scroll, the more time you take, the more you become convinced that the next move down the list will present you with that programme you really, really want to watch. On so it goes on.

Or is this just me?

If you’re British, we seem to be stuck with a peculiar problem of making a decision when we are with a group of people. Maybe you’re at dinner together, and you’re presented with several dessert options, but there’s only one left of a particularly tasty dessert and two, or maybe three of the party, including yourself, want it. Out of some sense of charity, we can spend quite a while insisting that the other person takes it, and they reciprocate with a no, you take it. All the while, that inner voice inside you is screaming for you just to grab it!

Say you’re shopping on the high street, and you find the perfect pair of jeans, but something inside you encourages you not to buy. You find yourself thinking that the next shop might have an identical pair at a fraction of the price, or sometimes not even a fraction, just a few pounds – but it’s oh, so worth it, right? You spend the afternoon, walking from shop to shop and end up not buying anything at all. All you’ve got to show for your endeavours are sore feet and a sense of frustration.

So there are lots times, when making a decision can be a bit of a chore, but these do tend to be, like those scenarios I’ve just mentioned, not quite life or death situations. When faced with a decision that needs to be made in the moment, with very little time to think about it, we quite often make it. It doesn’t always mean it’s the correct decision, but at least we’ve made a decision, and we go with it. In the aftermath of such a pressured, decision-making moment, we often reflect, and we consider the choice we made. In our minds, we even retrospectively make different choices, and we try to figure out where those other options would have taken us.

When I was a teenager, I went through a period of where, as I’ve just described, I would take every decision I was presented with and try and take each path of possible action to its conclusion. I found this period of my life incredibly debilitating and frustrating. Decision making came at a snail’s pace, and people around me probably didn’t appreciate the wait.

There came a day where I’d just had enough and made the decision – somewhat ironically – to go ‘cold turkey’ in my thinking. I purposefully made myself not think and ‘just do’ when presented with choices. This is who I am today, someone who can evaluate and make decisions quite quickly. I’m not suggesting things always turn out for the best, but I’d rather be moving, and sometimes needing to backtrack a little, rather than stall and stagnate.

I know that some of you might be screaming at me right now, shouting, “No, Mark, that’s not how you do it. You take your time, you think carefully, you consider the alternatives, and most importantly you pray.” And you know what, I get this – as a Christian, I especially understand the praying bit. In any decision, I would always want to involve God in it.

But as I look around, I see a culture of extremes. One that is stuck far too often in introspection – there’s undoubtedly no prayer to God – only thinking on how decisions might affect oneself. On the flip slide of that, there’s a desperate desire to try and please everyone. And so ultimately, nothing of any real consequence, ever really happens at all.

So, my challenge to you is to be confident in your decision-making process, but make sure it’s a process. This means it’s going from point A to point B, there is momentum and movement. Maybe, there’s a decision you need to make today, that you’ve been putting off from working through for years and you’ve gone back and forth with how it might work out. Do something about it in the next 24 hours, see what happens and enjoy the adventure. If you’re a Christian, give the decision you’re facing to God and stop giving it to everyone around you, seeking their advice. Some of this will probably be wise, but your first and last stop should always be God.

In the Book of Proverbs, from the Bible, chapter 3 from verse 5 says for you to “5 Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on Him to guide you, and He will lead you in every decision you make. 6 Become intimate with Him in whatever you do, and He will lead you wherever you go.”

We bought a dog last year. Our very first family dog, in fact. She is a beautiful Border Collie with a gorgeous black and white coat, and we have named her Charley. When we went to have a look at her, she had about seven other siblings with her, and two things attracted me, in particular, to her. The first, and most apparent, is she has two different coloured eyes. One brown as you would expect, the other is blue (a bit like you’d find more traditionally in Huskies). Apparently, it’s not really blue, it just looks that way. Something about inheriting a Merle gene from one of her parents and therefore a lack of brown pigmentation. Whatever the reason, she is very striking to look at, and I thought it wonderfully quirky.

The second reason was intelligence, or at least what I interpreted as the potential for being intelligent. Border Collie’s, as a breed, are regarded as the most intelligent of all dogs and so with a little patience and a lot of love they can learn some amazing tricks. As I looked down at this gaggle of pups (I don’t think that’s the plural for puppies, but we’ll go with it!), I observed her, and her brother’s and sister’s, behaviour. She certainly wasn’t a shrinking violet, unlike a few of her siblings who were just meekly sitting in a corner, looking like they were wondering what was about to happen next – Charley was the thing that was happening next. Yapping and running, nibbling and sniffing, she just came across as a doggy individual who wanted to know her environment and control her environment! I knew straight away, she was going to be the dog for us, and even though I also thought that the behaviour she was exhibiting might mean she would be quite strong-willed, I thought myself up for the challenge, if it brought with it a dog that would listen and learn.

This brings us up to now, and yes, she has turned out to be as trainable as I thought, with lots of tricks in her repertoire. Charley is about about 19 months old now, and there are still things we need to work out. Like how to get her to walk to heal when she is on the lead, and not run off to try and play with other dogs she doesn’t know when off the lead. Some folks say this behaviour will actually get better with age. We’ll see, there are signs of her calming down, so they may very well be correct.

The fact is, she is an intelligent dog and loves to speak back. The chorus of howls she expects from the family when we all return home to her is something to be experienced! She’s also a big lover of bread and cheese. Apart from her own food (and walks, and footballs), these are her very favourite things, and she’ll often sit waiting at our feet, and sometimes on our feet, while we make sandwiches.

There was an occasion, just a couple of days ago in fact, when I thought I’d give her a rare treat and let her have some of my crusty bread. I ripped the roll into two. As I was about to give her half, a crumb fell to the floor and bounced a little way. She pretty much knew she was going to get the bigger bit as I’d told her as much, but despite her high intelligence and her awareness of the situation, she couldn’t help but chase after the crumb, even as I began to reach down with the larger piece. It was like every instinct in her felt that instant gratification for the smaller part was better than waiting for the potential of a greater reward.

You might see where I’m going with this.

Amazingly intelligent people can also seem not to have the patience or wisdom to wait for the greater reward, or preferred outcome, even if the promise has already been made. Some of us seem to prefer the hit of instant gratification and even seek this out in lots of different ways: money and sex, just to name the first few that come to mind. We don’t save, we use credit and sink further into debt, we prefer to sleep around rather than commit to a longer-term relationship, one that could provide comfort and support.

We can be tempted by the immediate and in doing so possibly sacrifice our future.

A story in the New Testament tells us of a time when Jesus was tempted in the desert by satan. Three times He’s promised all sorts of quick rewards if He would only bow down to satan and in doing so give over His future and, in fact, the future of all mankind, to a kingdom of darkness and hopelessness.

The good news for us is that He refused each temptation, He knew the plan and purposes of His Father and committed Himself to a victorious future.

Are you finding yourself tempted by what’s easy rather than learning to wait and possibly needing to work a little harder at getting? I’ve mentioned two earlier, but where else in your life do you think you might need to change how you approach it? Relationships at work maybe, where the quick, thoughtless put down of a colleague makes you seem the funnier guy, the one with all the wit. You might make ‘friends’ quickly, but you’ll find yourself trapped in a character you’ve had to create, one that needs to take things further each time, to keep up with your reputation and being with the ‘in’ crowd. Sarcasm and cynicism become your currency which you spend for cheap laughs and empty support.

Wow, all this from a dog preferring a crumb?

Yep, I’ve been patient, sitting on this moment knowing there was a word to bring and an encouragement to give. Why don’t you try and be the person who is prepared to wait, the person prepared to work at what is really meaningful and see what greater rewards might come your way?

To calibrate means to:
“To check, adjust, or determine by comparison with a standard.”


I’ve been teaching and preaching in church for over 10 years now. I remember the very first time I was asked to preach in front of a crowd. I was on a short placement at a church in Yorkshire, while attending a Bible college in the Midlands, around 2004.


I’d been a Christian for about 3 years, and even though I’d had a number management jobs, and within those companies, I’d also been asked to be a trainer, someone who, on a one to one, or one to many, would teach people how to do their jobs. But preaching in a local church? On a Sunday? Well, this was next level stuff!


What if I misread a passage from the Bible? What if I took a particular bit of Scripture too much out of context and changed it’s meaning completely? What if my, admittedly limited theology at that time, was also different from the church I was preaching at? When would the tomatoes be thrown? Pitchforks raised? Would I be run out of town accused of all sorts of heresy? It turned out I only needed to speak for about 10 minutes, which was a relief because at that time, the church I attended when back home in Leeds, the sermons could go on for well over an hour. Initially, this is what I thought I might be asked to achieve.


I played it safe in the end and gave a short message on ‘having a servant heart’. I thought I couldn’t go far wrong asking people to be kind to one another – we’re Christians after all, this should be our thing! I was so nervous, so nervous in fact that I suffered a dry mouth on stage and literally began to fluff my words. And this from someone who loves acting and who has been on stage many, many times. But that wasn’t acting, this was the word of God, not a script. These were real people, not imaginary characters. So what I had to say, no matter how safe, had eternal ramifications. After several gulps of water, and the longest 10 minutes of my life, it was finally over, and I learned afterwards, I did an okay job.


Okay
, however, is not something that sits well with me. I want to do a great job! In everything, I want to go over and above what is expected and take things to the next level. And so began a decade long journey of comparison and checking myself against the standard of so many fantastic preachers. My style changed from month to month as I adopted the ways of the latest preacher I’d discovered on the internet or read the trendiest book on how to communicate well. I tried so hard to be other people, and no one was off-limits. I’d be shouty and challenging one month, softly spoken and encouraging the next. One month I’d be into telling stories and weaving a web of mystery, and another it would be a 3-point sermon as I dissected a verse or two.


The bottom line is, I hadn’t discovered me, hadn’t figured out who I was in God. And so my standard, on how to preach at least, changed depending on who was the most impressive communicator. If we’re really honest with ourselves, we can take this kind of thinking into lots of other areas of our lives.

  • Who looked like they were doing a better parenting job than me, let’s copy that.
  • Who is the most encouraging person, seemingly always happy and a fantastic person to everyone they meet, let’s be like that.
  • How does that person manage a successful business in such a relaxed manner, but the staff love them? Let’s find the magic ingredient, at least what we think is the magic ingredient, and be like them.


There are plenty more examples of people who are seen to all the world, better people – however you define that. Harder working, awesome parents, great friends, super pastors. If only we could be like all those better people, we would be universally loved and liked and be forever joyful. I tried for so long to be someone who I’m not, in various aspects of my life, preaching being one of them. Until one day, I had a fresh revelation: Jesus is the only standard by which I should compare myself. To try and be like other people, who are just as human as me, with all of humanities quirks and failings, only leads to disappointment and struggle. I needed to be me, the one that is being transformed by the Holy Spirit. A person not swayed by other peoples ideals and opinions, but one who is being re-formed into the image of Christ. For those of us who call ourselves Christian, I think this is a good starting point for us all. Every day we must recalibrate and align ourselves with God’s standard – which is His word and will for our lives. Because it’s so easy to fall back into the trap of comparison and envy.


Instead, we should daily fix our eyes on Jesus and let Him, by His Spirit, change us from the inside out.

Motorbike

In 2009, myself and my family made a ferry crossing over the channel and from there drove to the south of France. It was the first time that I had driven on the opposite side of the road to what I’m used to in the UK and only the second time that I had driven in a foreign country. The first being Ireland on our honeymoon, when we hired a car from Cork airport and drove southwest to County Kerry, a stunningly beautiful place by the way. Still, I wasn’t nervous about driving as they drive on the same side as the UK, the left, and all the road signs were in English! Driving on the European mainland was a different experience altogether.

I recall driving off the ferry at the port of Le Harve, feeling quite anxious. I was so nervous about all sorts of things, one of them was the roundabouts! I’d gone so far as to buy a small transparent sticker for the inside of my windshield which had bendy arrows pointing which way you should go round a roundabout. I thought I might make a big mistake and default to turning left, that would have been a disaster… but I digress.

I drove off the ferry, and we eventually found the main highway which had two lanes on either side, and I managed to drive on the correct one. I didn’t, however, drive in the correct lane. What my mind thought was the ‘slow’ lane (the left), was, of course, the ‘fast’ lane used for overtaking. After a few miles of folks beeping at me and making the odd rude gesture, I finally figured out what I’d done and made a move to the right. The rest of the drive went quite smoothly from there on in.

I say all that just to put something into context that I’d never seen before on UK roads. As I got used to overtaking and spending some time in the ‘fast’ lane, occasionally I would see in my rearview mirror a motorbike approaching, clearly going faster than I was. So I would indicate to go right so that they might pass without ‘undertaking’ me.

But then an odd thing would happen, they would pass by then gently stick their right leg out before zooming off. After this happened a few times it finally clicked what they were doing – they were saying “thank you”. Of course, they didn’t want to let go of the handlebars and raise a hand to say thanks like car drivers do in the UK, so they used their leg! They didn’t have to do this and say thanks. I was probably driving a bit slower than most folks were used to, and so it was quite right that I should move aside.

How many times do we say ‘thank you’ when we probably don’t need to? We would get away with it without any bother. But when we do say thanks, it makes everybody feel just that little bit better about the world.

When you’re crossing at a zebra crossing do you say “thank you” to the driver that has stopped to let you go, or do you think that as it’s your right to cross and you’re both following the rules of the road, you don’t have to?

When someone lets you in line in slow-moving traffic are you one of those people who puts the blinkers on as a way of saying “thank you” to the person behind? When this happens to you, does it make you feel happy, glad to have done your bit for your fellow human, and fleetingly everything is okay with the world?

I think that when we develop a habit of saying “thank you”, and adopt a lifestyle of thankfulness, it helps us truly appreciate what we have and what we have been given. When we put this into the context of our spiritual lives, it is good to cultivate thankfulness by giving thanks regularly to God.

As Christians, we believe that God created everything, and, at least in the beginning, God said it was all good. And although creation doesn’t look like God intended, I think that a thankful heart expressing that thankfulness regularly does something to the circumstances and the atmosphere around us. It gives us a glimpse of what life should be like; one that is worshipful and grateful for every breath and every new day.

There is a verse in the first letter to Timothy in the New Testament that says everything God created is good, and we should not reject any of it, but receive it with thanks.

When you’re next crossing that road, being let into line on the road, receiving change from a shop cashier, getting off that bus, or when a waiter brings you food and so on and so on, say “thank you” and cultivate a lifestyle of thankfulness. Just see what happens to you and those around you when you do.