Have you ever met a spoiled kid who was the epitome of unthankfulness? You know, the kid who never says “thank you” for anything. He always wants and expects something, but never shows gratitude when he receives it. He has an air of entitlement. The more gifts he gets, the more entitled he feels. Does that bother you? Sure it does. It should, because you understand he hasn’t merited all those blessings. He hasn’t worked hard to purchase them. He didn’t get a job in order to pay for them. He didn’t do anything to “earn” those things, yet he acts like they are his by birthright. If that rubs you the wrong way, it should.
I believe that kid is a physical picture of a spiritual reality when we are unthankful toward God. We haven’t earned anything either! But often we walk around like we deserve every good gift that comes our way. And we get mad when we don’t get everything that we want. This is so backwards! God owns us and the world. It is His world and everything good that we have is an unmerited gift from Him!
The Psalmist (in 107) says, “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy.” And then he concludes by saying, “Whoever is wise will observe these things, And they will understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.”
Thankfulness is one of the most profitable pursuits that a Christian can take up:
- Thankfulness will increase your faith in God. The more you offer thanks to God for all His provisions, the more you will trust in God to make provision for you in the future. Thankfulness heightens your awareness of God’s activity in your life, and therefore produces greater faith in Him.
- Thankfulness will increase your love for God. The more you contemplate the goodness and mercy of God and the more you seriously consider the how specifically good God has been toward you personally, the more you will love Him. Your affections for God will rise. Show me someone who loves God deeply and I’ll show you someone who thanks God regularly.
- Thankfulness will increase your happiness in God. The more you thank God for all the blessings in your life, the happier you will be in Him. The opposite is true. The less you thank God for the blessings in your life, the more discontent you will be. Some of the unhappiest people that I’ve known are the individuals who had more possessions than most people on the earth. Why is that? Because they weren’t thankful. Thankfulness produces contentment; unthankfulness produces discontentment. The more you thank God, the more you understand how much God has given you. I don’t care who you are and what you’re station in life is, if you are a Christian who gives thanks you feel rich (spiritually, materially, physically). Because you are rich!
- Thankfulness will increase your holiness before God. Thankfulness creates a desire in your heart to be more pleasing to God. The deeper you think about the sin God has forgiven you of and thank Him for it, the more you will want to commit those sins no longer. Consider the man who is quick-tempered, but offers up sincere thanksgiving to God: “Father, Thank you for forgiving me of the anger I showed toward my family. Thank you that You are giving me a fresh start. Thank you that although I deserve to pay the ultimate penalty for my sin of anger, Christ has taken it for me. Thank you that Jesus took the wrath that I deserve because of my wrath.” Now, can you imagine that same guy immediately losing his temper with his family? It’s possible, but not likely.
This Thanksgiving season, let us be wise and understand the goodness and lovingkindness of the LORD toward us, and let us cultivate a spirit of thankfulness.