Ephesians 1:16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things to God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also you are called in one body; and be thankful.
Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Psalms 107:1 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endures for ever.
Psalms 118:24 This is the day which the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
We do live in a generation of entitlement. We often lament that our young people not only expect everything to be given to them, but they don’t value the things when they are given to them. The most tragic loss in a world where everything is taken for granted, is a loss of a sense of gratitude.
And a world without gratitude is a dark and isolated existence where we soon realize that a man does not have to die to go to hell.
When I realize how I was brought up, I am most grateful that it dug a foundation of appreciation for even ‘small’ things. My dad would take us out to eat every now and then or my grandmother would use Sunday coupons to get an Arby’s sandwich. And in a family where it didn’t happen much, we learned to be thankful for those good blessings.
I went through a very sad time in my first few years in Nashville where I talked to freshman boys who had already seen the world and they were not impressed with anything. And they saw me as someone who did not measure up to their travels and experience… and these guys were 15 years old! How do you break through to a young man who just got back from Rome, unimpressed, and couldn’t care less about an ancient book because he didn’t like to read anyway?
I never stopped teaching the hope of the gospel, the penalty of sin, the inability of the world to satisfy, and a heart yearning for God….. but his mind was on the Christmas ski trip to Vale and Spring Break in Cabo. You have to believe that these seeds would be there when that fantasy world collapsed because he had no work ethic to barely pass an easy Bible class, but why should he work?… his inheritance was his future bank.
I am more convinced than ever that an attitude of gratitude is the biggest key to walking daily with God. Gratitude comes from a humble heart of good eyes full of light and truth. It is one thing to say ‘thanks’- it is even better to feel it!
Guinness has a chapter in his book,The Call, entitled “Let All of Your Thinks be Thanks”- and he brings in ‘calling’ to this subject.
Calling is a reminder for followers of Christ that nothing in life should be taken for granted; everything in life must be received in gratitude.
He quotes Dostoevsky, “The best definition of man is the ungrateful biped.”
A lack of gratitude can be an acid that eventually erodes all of our dependency on God and trust in God’s goodness.
“People who start out in wonder at their own calling can slowly, through conceit, slip into speculation about God’s calling them and not calling others, and in the end making calling a thing of horror, and God, a monster.”
A lack of gratitude is the first step into religious oppression, the first step into legalism, the first step into heresy or apostasy, the first step into adultery or theft, the first step into destruction. In fact, read Genesis 3 and you see that a lack of gratitude was the seed of the fall of the whole human race.
Take some time in crafting your mission statement to ‘count your blessings’… your life, health, wife, where you live, clothes, technology, medicine, travel, transportation, humor, a flower, water, a warm embrace, a smiling child, singing…. you could count forever just thinking about what Jesus did.
And let us be like St. Francis who was described by G.K. Chesterton as a man who ‘walked the world like the Pardon of God”. Let our hearts be stirred every day the praise God for all He has given to us. Gratitude is an attitude!