In 1895, John D Rockefeller was the wealthiest man in the world. His net worth adjusted for inflation would be over 350 billion dollars today. At the same time, the average person in the Western World was living off less than $1 a day in today's money. You were rich if you had clean water to drink. Nobody had central air/heat, refrigeration, automotive transportation, fast food, Prime shipping, Iphones, Internet and TV. Almost, nobody had medicine, pressurized water, access to a grocery store, or public transportation. By all measure, we are living in the "Golden Age" of humanity. While more than 90% of the world in 1895 lived on less than a dollar a day, today it is 9%! We have cleaner air and water, more natural resources, lower mortality rates, fewer people living in dictatorial regimes, less war, more opportunity and an abundance of personal freedoms.
We are balling bigger than Rockefeller. I can guarantee you that most people today would not trade the world we live in with the amenities available to them for the life lived by John D. Air conditioning alone does it for me! On top of all the wonderful live enhancing technological revolutions we have so much free time we are able to play sports. We have the freedom to fill a significant portion of our time participating in or watching athletic competition. For this we should all be grateful.
We should be thankful because God calls us to show gratitude. “God is not unrighteous so as to forget your work and the love you showed for his name” Hebrews 6:10. Yes, our Creator considers it unrighteous, or unjust, to show a lack of gratitude. Being thankful also improves our relationships with others. When we express sincere gratitude—whether for a gift, a kind word, or practical help—we make the giver feel valued and appreciated. “Practice giving,” said Jesus Christ, “and people will give to you. They will pour into your laps a fine measure, pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing.” (Luke 6:38)
We stress to our athletes to be thankful for the opportunity to play the game. Football is one of the only sports where most will never get the opportunity to play after they are 18 years old. Beyond the wins and the losses football players should be thankful for the opportunities to compete. The game has a very short shelf life and those who play should thank God every day for the opportunity.
Be thankful and praise God for all he has given you. “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies [God].”—Psalm 50:23. Your children are babies for a few years, your job may only last months, your opportunity to sew into the life of a non-believer only minutes. Be thankful for every opportunity and especially thankful you are living in a time where you are balling better than those who came before you.