First World Problems


I’m sure you’ve never complained, but we all know people who have. Here are a few of my favourite complaints.

  • I spend more time looking for a movie to watch than watching one.
  • The batteries in my remote are dying and I have to push the buttons down real hard.
  • I have more clothes in my closet than hangers.

Life is tough, isn’t it?

I was speaking to a group of nurses and during a Q&A time, someone asked, “What are your pet peeves?” What would you say? I mentioned a few: People who talk during a movie or too loudly into their phone. People who drive too slow in the fast lane, and too fast in the slow lane. People who hike their pants too high or not high enough. Telemarketers. Tailgaters. Close talkers. People who overuse the words “You know,” and “Awesome!” And, oh yes, People who complain.

Then I got a little more serious. “Life is too short,” I said, “to focus on my insignificant little first world problems. I am surrounded by nurses who were caring for people battling cancer and Alzheimer’s. I had breakfast this morning. A wife who loves me and still finds me handsome. So she has gone completely blind.” They liked that.

You know, people in the first world say, “I’m hungry but I better not eat because I just brushed my teeth.” People in the third world say, “I’m hungry and there’s nothing to eat. And you have a toothbrush? You’re rich.” We say, “My sandwich is so full it’s hard to eat.” I’ve been in countries where it’s hard to eat because there’s little food.

I don’t say this to offer you a complimentary guilt trip, just to remind us both that we should be enormously thankful and generous. Joy shows up when, amid all life’s difficulties, we default to gratitude, give thanks to God for all he’s given us, and do what we can for others. The old preacher Harry Ironside called thanksgiving “the enemy of discontent.” Psalm 136 says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” How about we thank a nurse today. Then smile at the guy who cuts us off in traffic. And if you’re wealthy enough to have more clothes than hangars, give the leftovers away.

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